Candida albicans is arguably the most common fungal pathogen in humans and is a significant health risk. Candida is responsible for a variety of infections ranging from mild, relatively easily treated superficial diseases (e.g. diaper rash, skin fungus infections), to more severe, chronic or recurring infections such as vaginal thrush, oral thrush and penile yeast infection (a condition also known as male yeast infection). Candida is also associated serious systemic infections affecting the entire body causing symptoms such as constipation, joint pain, headaches, abdominal bloating, brain fog, fatigue and irritable bowel diseases.
There are a number of predisposing factors that increase susceptibility to Candida including diabetes, high sugar diets, hormonal changes, prolonged use of broad spectrum antibiotics, immune deficiencies, cancer treatments and people who have been subjected to invasive procedures (e.g. catheters and prosthetic devices). Women have a higher incidence of genital fungus than men. In fact it is estimated that between 50 and 75% of women will suffer an incidence of vaginal thrush during their lifetimes.
Most superficial fungal conditions that affect external parts of the body can normally be cured with antifungal creams, but recurrent and chronic infections are also common. If you suspect a chronic Candida infection it makes sense to consult with a doctor, as this is a serious condition. An oral prescription antifungal drug may be necessary. Health professionals also encourage dietary changes and lifestyle adjustments to address the root cause of the disease.
Dietary changes involve following a Candida diet plan that cuts out refined sugars, carbohydrates and fermented products. In addition certain foods with antifungal or health giving qualities are recommended such as raw garlic, undecyclinic acid, caprylic acid as well as following a green tea diet plan. See Fungus Facts for more details.
If you are taking antibiotics, and they are not an absolute medical necessity, and on advice of your doctor, it may be worth stopping. It may help to take a course of probiotics (these have the opposite effect to antibiotics) to repopulate the healthy bacteria in the gut. A healthy intestinal flora is thought to help keep Candida in check and stop outbreaks.