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candida:  diagnosis and solutions


Candida Diagnosis

James Heilman, MD

“Although fueled by sugar and simple carbs, Dysbiosis is almost always caused by antibiotics.”  – Dr. Russell Schierling
Candida Albicans (a “yeast” infection or overgrowth) is the most common fungal infection on the planet.  And although most women can tell you plenty about Vaginal Yeast Infections, today’s emphasis will be on Systemic Yeast Infections — i.e. the yeast infections that get in your bloodstream and travel to various parts of the body, where they drop anchor and set up camp.

It’s important that you realize a certain amount of Candida is found as a natural part of your Gut Flora.  Unfortunately, there are certain things that can cause the Candida to reproduce, grow, and literally take over the body.  Although there are any number of things other things that along with sugar, fuel Candida (we’ll cover that list in a moment), like most forms of DYSBIOSIS, it is usually caused by taking ANTIBIOTICS (or other SIMILAR DRUGS).  This is also the reason that I think most doctors tend to blow this problem off, unless there is a visible thrush or vaginal yeast present.  They certainly don’t want to answer any of those pesky questions such as, “Doctor Smith, why do I have Candida?” 

My last post was on PARASITES.  I mentioned the fact that “parasitosis” (the condition of having parasites) produces many ill-defined or vague symptoms that can also be seen in any number of health problems.  Candida is no different, and is (interestingly enough) commonly concurrent in people who have parasites.
  Some of the most common signs, symptoms, or hints that you may have an issue with Candida include……

  • YOU’VE TAKEN ANTIBIOTICS:   I have repeatedly told my readers that Antibiotics will destroy you.  This is because 80% of your body’s total Immune System lives in your Gut and is made up largely of bacteria (HERE).  Antibiotics kill them all — the good along with the bad. Once you have tipped the balance in favor of the bad guys, Dysbiotic Infections (see the earlier links) take over and run rampant.  The more Antibiotics you’ve taken, the greater your potential for problems (but as the earlier link showed, it only takes one round to throw a proverbial wrench in the machine).  Just be aware that there are certain other factors at play.  One of the biggest is….


  • BLOOD SUGAR DYSREGULATION / SUGAR ADDICTION:  Any time you are consuming lots of sugar or high Glycemic Index carbohydrates, your chances of Systemic Candida go up — even in the absence of FULL-BLOWN DIABETES or even PRE-DIABETES. Dietary sugar / starch becomes the BLOOD SUGAR that is Candida’s meal-of-choice. Although there are many reasons for PATHOLOGICAL SUGAR / CARB CRAVINGS, Candida overgrowth is one of the biggies.  This is one of the reasons that you will find the average person struggling with Systemic Candida to be severely OVERWEIGHT and a stark-raving-kill-you-for-that-candy-bar sugar addict.  Oh, and for those of you who like to consume alcohol more than just “moderately,” you must think of it metabolically as the equivalent of sugar.


  • SYMPTOMS THAT RESEMBLE IBS:  Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) tends to reveal itself in the form of bloating, foul-smelling gas / bowel movements, and a combination of both diarrhea and CONSTIPATION.  These can all occur with Candida.  By the way, this is virtually identical to what is seen in people with parasites.  Be sure to remember that FODMAPS tend to fuel the entire mess, often leading to yet another issue commonly seen along with — SIBO.


  • YOU SMELL BAD:  As is the case with any sort of parasitosis or other forms of Dysbiosis, the funky junky creatures living, thriving, and reproducing inside of you create toxic waste products that smell like; well, _ _ _ _.   As you might be inclined to guess, the aroma of these compounds (Scatol and Cadaverol are two of the more interesting of the lot) is not exactly inviting.  These smells could be in the form of horrendous B.O. or really bad breath — or even smelly feet.  Kind of like smokers who just ooze smoke out of their pores, people with Candida tend to ooze a rancid-smelling sort of toxicity.


  • CHRONIC FATIGUE — MENTAL AND PHYSICAL:  Candida is one of those things that just plain drains the life and energy right out of you.  These people are not just physically wiped out, but mentally exhausted as well, frequently exhibiting the classic “brain fog” (inability to think, concentrate, remember, or focus) so commonly seen with the next bullet.   However, it is not uncommon to see DEPRESSION, ADD / ADHD, Anxiety, Mood Swings, Insomnia, and Irritability in these folks as well — all signs of SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE.  Oh, and HEADACHES are another symptom commonly seen with Candida — especially MIGRAINE HEADACHES.


  • CHRONIC PAIN / FIBROMYALGIA:  When I speak of Chronic Pain here, I am mostly speaking of FIBROMYALGIA.  Show me a person suffering with Fibromyalgia (mostly women) who does not have the severe sugar cravings we mentioned earlier, and I’ll show you 100 that do.  Sort of like Cancer (HERE) or other forms of infection (HERE); because sugar is what is feeding this beast, people crave it like they were on CRACK, METH, OR HEROIN.


  • OTHER FUNGAL INFECTIONS:  These are seen in the form of Oral Thrush (see pic at top of page), Vaginal Yeast Infections, Athlete’s Foot, Fingernail / Toenail Fungus, Ringworm and other fungal skin infections, etc, etc.


  • AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES:  There are a whole host of things that tend to set your body’s Immune System in motion the wrong way, leading it to start ATTACKING ITSELF.  One of the biggest of these is GLUTEN, while another involves WHIPLASH AND HEAD INJURIES  And while there are any numbers of others, Candida holds a prominent position here as well.  If you are interested in knowing what some of these Autoimmune Diseases are, HERE is a list.


  • FEMALE PROBLEMS:  Unfortunately, one of the ‘joys’ of being a woman is finding out that you are significantly more likely than men to get almost every health problem under the sun. Candida can be specifically related to almost all of them, including DECREASED LIBIDO. ANEMIA — much more common in the female population as well — is also widely seen in Candidiasis.  This might also be a good time to mention the fact that besides Antibiotics, Candida is also widely linked to oral birth control.


  • ALLERGIES / SENSITIVITIES / SKIN PROBLEMS:  These can be both food allergies / sensitivities, as well as seasonal allergies (HERE).  They might also manifest with Eczema, Psoriasis, rashes, hives, as well as rectal or vaginal itching.  If you have SKIN PROBLEMS, you have to at least be thinking Candida.


  • A GENERALLY WEAK IMMUNE SYSTEM:  Candida is another one of those problems that leads to generalized Immune System Dysfunction that can lead to either over-activity (you saw this with Autoimmune Diseases) or SUPPRESSION.  Besides the ALLERGIES mentioned above, it can lead to CHRONIC SINUSITUS, CONSTANT COLDS, ASTHMA, all sorts of chronic infections, sore throats, EAR INFECTIONS, etc, etc, etc.  And we haven’t even as much as mentioned the granddaddy of immune system dysfunction yet — “THE LEAKIES“.  As you can see, the big problem here is that when you go to your doctor with any of these things, what are you most likely to be given?  That’s right — more Antibiotics.  And the viscous cycle continues unabated.


  • OTHERS:  There are a number of others that I could have put here as well.  Be warned that some of the foods / drinks associated with supplying “good bacteria” to your Gut (namely SAUERKRAUT & KOMBUCHA) can actually cause (or at least contribute to) Candidiasis when used to excess. I written about a similar phenomenon HERE and HERE.

Once it is determined that you might have
Candida, the question becomes one of diagnosis.  The only test I would recommend is the Comprehensive Stool Test with their Candida Intensive Culture (CIC) tacked on (see YESTERDAY’S POST).  Not only is this the best test for determining whether or not you have Candida, it is also the best test for determining whether or not you have Parasites.  And since the symptoms of each are so similar, you will be killing two birds with one relatively inexpensive stone.

OK; you have
Candida.  What are you going to do about it?

  • EDUCATE YOURSELF:  I firmly believe that if you do not understand things like INFLAMMATION, GUT HEALTH, or why ANTIBIOTICS are one of the most seriously dangerous / destructive medications you can put in your body, you will be hard-pressed to kick Candida permanently. 

  • GET OFF THE SUGAR AND STARCH:  We know that SUGAR FEEDS CANCER.  In fact, we know that SUGAR feeds virtually all non-genetic disease processes (and some ‘genetic’ ones as well —HERE).  If you are trying to get free from the claws of Candida and are still not doing a PALEO DIET or somethging similarly sugar-starving (KETOGENIC would be good as well) I would ask you why not?   The truth is, you may have to get really hardcore with your diet and cut out all sugars (even those from things like FRUIT) in order to lick this thing.  Be aware, however, that Candida has the ability to live on sugar, but on ketone bodies as well.  Probably why most experts recommend at least some carbs in a Candida Diet.

  • CAREFUL WITH THE FERMENTED FOODS:  I have already mentioned alcohol and some of the naturally FERMENTED FOODS.  Although I certainly don’t want people to freak out here, be sure to tread lightly, as the fermentation process often uses yeast.  Candida is simply a naturally occurring part of your natural flora (yeast) that has run amok.

  • TAKE A BROAD-SPECTRUM PROBIOTIC:  Broad-spectrum antibiotics kill numerous types of bacteria.  Your Gut contains hundreds (maybe thousands) of different strains / varieties / species of beneficial bacteria.  Wouldn’t it make sense to take a broad-spectrum probiotic as well?  HERE is what I take personally and provide our patients. 


  • A SERIES OF COLONICS:  A person I knew who had struggled with MIGRAINE HEADACHES her whole life was told she had a serious Candida problem that was causing serious chemical sensitivities.  After trying any number of things with limited success, she had a series of COLONICS (colonics are like enemas, only they go the whole five feet of the colon). The person doing the colonics used a machine that saved the stuff caked to her intestinal wall so it could be viewed for diagnostic purposes.  She saw it herself and told me it was orange and fuzzy. Was this Candida?  Not quite sure, but it was definitely some sort of yeasty moldy.  What I am sure of is that this person had a dramatic change in her health after this.  Depending on how many antibiotics you’ve been on as well as other signs and symptoms, you may at least need to ponder an FMT as well.


  • TREAT IT LIKE THE PARASITE IT IS:  I have said it before, but parasites and Candida are linked closely enough that most of the things that effectively treat PARASITES are also good for dealing with Candida. 

  • OTHERS:  The truth is, there are all sorts of products (many of them proprietary) that you can purchase to help with Candida.  Some of these are probably great, many are junk.  Some of the things people find helpful in dealing with Candidiasis include Caprylic Acid (from coconuts), Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide, High Fiber, Colloidal Silver, Bentonite Clay, etc, etc, etc. As always, do your own research and realize that defeating Candida is going to require more than taking a bottle of Candida-be-Gone and wishing.

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