Candidiasis or a fungal yeast overgrowth in the digestive tract can cause a slew of problems including:
- Chronic gas and bloating
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Oral thrush
- Frequent and recurring yeast infections, vaginitis, or UTIs
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Chronic sinus infections
- Rashes on skin and nails
- Joint pain
- Weight gain or loss despite steady diet and exercise
Candidiasis can be deceptive and stubborn to treat since it is often mistaken for other conditions such as leaky gut, colitis or SIBO. It is commonly caused by long periods of antibiotics use, a diet high in carbohydrates and sugar, birth control, diabetes, weakened immune system and high levels of stress.
Chinese medicine can help you restore the right balance in your body through improving your immune system, promoting digestion and increasing nutrient absorption. In Chinese medicine, the condition of candidiasis is often classified as the pathogenic factors of “dampness” and “heat”. In some cases it can be cold with damp as well. Overall the characteristics of dampness in the body include bloating, gassiness, a sensation of heaviness in the limbs (difficult to lift legs), foggy headedness, dull achy headache, and constipation or diarrhea. Dampness occurs in Chinese medicine when the Spleen is not properly transforming food. Acupuncture can help nourish the Spleen and drain the dampness to attack the root of the candidiasis. Acupuncture can also help alleviate some of the symptoms such as constipation, gas and bloating (1).
Herbal medicine is also fantastic for treating Candidiasis. Herbal formulas have been proven to help kill an overgrowth of candida albicans and restore the natural balance back to the gut. Hou Po or Magnolia Officinalis can reduce the fluidity of the cell membrane of Candida Albicans (or C. albicans), herbs in the berberidaceae family (Huang Qin, Huang Lian, Huang Bai) disrupts the cell wall of C. albicans and helps reduce inflammation in the body. As with any herbal formulas, it is important to see an accredited Chinese Medicine herbalist to get the right formula for your specific needs (3).
Diet and lifestyle changes are also important in combating stubborn Candidiasis. Eliminating sugar, carbohydrates, alcohol, and processed foods is your first line of defense because they feed the fungal overgrowth. Other changes to consider include minimizing consumption of fungus (i.e mushrooms and truffles). Working with preventative ways to improve your overall immunity can prevent future flare ups. Here are some simple ways to help build your immunity:
- Frequently washing your hands and avoid touching your face. Make it a rule to wash your hands every time you come in from outside. Pretty soon you won’t feel comfortable sitting down without washing.
- Using saline nasal washes if you’re prone to sinus infections
- Using holistic medicine modalities, such as acupuncture, to protective yourself during cold and flu season. We (at Naturna) give our patients herbal formulas to take at the first inkling of a cold or flu to drastically minimize symptoms and shorten the duration so that the bug takes less of a toll on your body.
- Incorporating self care and stress management activities (i.e regular exercise and meditation) during periods of weakened immunity are also helpful ways to avoid a gut takeover by C. albicans (2).
7 Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth (Plus How to Get Rid of It). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/candida-symptoms-treatment
Axe, J. (2018, March 21). Stop the Sugar Cravings and the Fuzzy Thinking! Retrieved from https://draxe.com/candida-symptoms/
Liu, Xin, Ma, Zhiming, Zhang, Yang, & Longfei. (2017, December 28). Antifungal Compounds against Candida Infections from Traditional Chinese Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2017/4614183/