What does oral thrush and vaginitis have in common? Both are a result of an overgrowth a yeast called Candida albicans that normally resides on healthy skin and moist tissues of the body.
Candida infection of the skin is also seen quite frequently, especially with those that are overweight and have diabetes. Abnormal growth of yeast in the finger or toe nails, and athlete’s foot are other such infections of great renown.
Still additional forms of yeast (or fungus) infections include stomatitis, common in people who wear dentures, and systemic candidosis – when yeast cells invade the circulatory system. This sometimes occurs when devices such as intravenous catheters or prosthetic devices like heart valves are inserted into the body.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Out of Control
In very small numbers yeast is part of the normal flora of the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal, respiratory, and female genital tracts. Prolonged antibiotic use increases the risk of developing a yeast infection.
The yeast is able to grow without the usual bacterial flora competitors that the medication kills. In some ways it is an opportunistic infection, which occurs because of a weakened immune system.
Controlling widespread escalation is difficult because candida is able to construct a strong, slimy substance called biofilm around itself that protects the yeast and promotes growth. When someone has a yeast infection it is best to modify their lifestyle in a way that creates an unfriendly environment for the yeast to grow.
In the case of vaginal infections, some symptoms include itching and burning of the vagina and labia, painful intercourse or urination, and swelling and redness of the skin on the outside of the vagina. Similar symptoms occur with infected folds of the skin, under the breasts and in the groin area.
Common symptoms of oral infection include cracking and redness at the corners of your mouth, cotton feeling with white lesions inside the mouth, curd-like appearance on the tongue, and loss of taste.
Where possible the first step to rid the body of infection is to create an environment that is unsuitable for the organisms to proliferation. Keep the skin dry and avoid eating foods that nourish and support the growth of candida. The organisms will either starve to death or become weakened so they are easier to kill.
Anyone on antibiotics should eat yogurt with live active culture, or take other forms of probiotics to keep the natural levels of yeast from getting out of hand. Those with diabetes should be sure to keep blood sugars in good control since sugar is a favorite food of candida.
Maintaining a regimented diet may be necessary to combat candida and prevent growth.
Eat small, frequent meals and snacks.
Include high protein foods like eggs, meat, fish, soy or other meat substitute products.
Avoid high glycemic foods like white bread and rice, certain fruits like bananas, dates, figs, grapes and fruit juice, and certain starchy vegetables like potatoes. Most other fruits and vegetables are not a problem.
Include whole grain products such as millet and buckwheat as well as quinoa.
Avoid sugar-containing products, desserts and sweets.
Avoid fermented, yeast-containing and moldy foods. Peanuts and pistachios are likely to contain some mold. Also stay clear of aged cheeses and fermented products like tempeh and miso. Beverages such as cider, beer and wine encourage candida growth.
Some prescription and over-the-counter medications can be very effective for treating yeast infections, but there are some natural alternatives that would be worth a try.
– Ginger root is reputed to be an all-round healing food and can help support a healthy immune system.
– Oregano oil contains a phenol called carvacrol, which is the anti-candida agent of the plant.
– Clove oil is very effective when taken internally, but can also be use topically on infected areas like toe or fingernails.
– Caprylic acid, a medium chain saturated fatty acid found in coconut oil is reputed to inhibit yeast growth, both internally and topically.
– Pungent spices like Indian-style curries act as an anti-yeast weapon. Others include cinnamon, clove, coriander and cilantro. Hot and spicy is the way to go!
– Fresh garlic contains sulfur-containing compounds that are some of the best candida fighters available.
Back to Basics
The absolute best way to keep from being plagued with candida infections is to maintain a healthy body and strong immune system. In that way you will not need antibiotics and the body will be able to maintain a healthy balance of natural flora on body tissues.