Candida is a type of fungus (or, more specifically–yeast) that can cause fungal infections like candidiasis, candidemia, and oral thrush. Dozens of species of Candida are known to affect humans and Candida albicans is the most common. When the immune system functions normally, Candida is kept in check and exists harmlessly in the skin or mucous membranes like those of the gut and vaginal area. It’s even among the organisms that newborns acquire during natural birth, nursing, or from food. However, a compromised immune system, and other factors such as poor diet, can lead to an imbalance where Candida overwhelms the body, a condition known as Candida overgrowth.
What Is Candida Overgrowth?
Everyone has some form of Candida in their body; it’s normal and not necessarily a health concern. The immune system typically keeps Candida in balance but a lifestyle, health conditions, or other factors can trigger Candida overgrowth where the yeast multiplies and negatively affects the body’s normal processes. A Candida overgrowth can result in a myriad of problems, including infection of the skin, throat, esophagus, blood, or genitals. A Candida overgrowth can disrupt the beneficial bacteria in the body. Candida cylindracea, for example, is important for digestion because of its enzymatic properties and pH levels. An overgrowth, however, can disrupt the entire gut microbiota. Candida overgrowth can even contribute to leaky gut syndrome, a condition where the protective barrier known as the intestinal mucosa becomes perforated with tiny holes that allow the contents of the digestive tract to leak into the bloodstream.
What Causes Candida Overgrowth?
There are a number of factors that can act as a catalyst for Candida overgrowth. Some of the most common include:
Antibiotics attack all bacteria—good and bad—and upset the body’s internal balance in a big way. This disruption can harm the microbiome, allowing Candida to spread and cause infections.
Chronic alcohol consumption can foster the overgrowth of certain species of Candida. This causes an imbalance in the body and can lead to health concerns.
Weak Immune System
The immune system helps keep Candida in check but a compromised immune system can open the door for Candida overgrowth. Many medical conditions and medications can affect the immune system.
Candida overgrowth is common in individuals with diabetes. High blood glucose (hyperglycemia) affects the immune system, reduces the antibacterial activity of urine, and impedes the digestive and urinary systems.
Health Conditions and Other Factors
Other factors that may put you at risk of candida overgrowth include:
- Organ transplantation
- Wearing dentures
- Suffering from kidney failure or being on hemodialysis
- Being a patient in the intensive care unit
10 Species of Candida You Should Know
There are many different species of Candida and each interacts with the body in its own way. Here are ten of the most common types of Candida and how they can affect your health.
1. Candida albicans
Known as an “opportunist” fungi, Candida albicans is responsible for the majority of fungal infections in humans. Although Candida albicans is usually harmless, unchecked it can disrupt normal physiological processes. Vaginal yeast infections and oral thrush are among its most common effects.
2. Candida glabrata
Candida glabrata exists in mucosal tissues. In recent years, mucosal and systemic infections caused by Candida glabrata have dramatically increased. It is now the second-leading cause of Candida infection behind Candida albicans.
3. Candida parapsilosis
Candida parapsilosis is best known for causing infection among newborns and patients under intensive care. Because one of the most common ways for Candida parapsilosis to spread is through hand contact with healthcare professionals, it is a major problem in hospitals.
4. Candida krusei
Candida krusei is a concern for patients who suffer from malignancies in the blood or who have received transplants. Candida krusei can lead to serious infections in the bloodstream. The transmission of this particular organism has become the subject of further study, as the frequency of Candida krusei infections varies with geographical and temporal trends.
5. Candida dubliniensis
Candida dubliniensis, which is structurally similar to Candida albicans, has been identified in the mouths of patients with HIV or AIDS. It has also been found in the genital tracts of HIV-negative immunocompromised individuals and women suffering from vaginitis.
6. Candida lusitaniae
Also considered an opportunistic yeast, Candida lusitaniae has been associated with infection in leukemia patients. Additionally, Candida lusitaniae is known for its resistance to the antifungal drug amphotericin. Resistance is uncommon among species of candida, making it one of the specimen’s defining traits.
7. Candida guilliermondii
Although uncommon and one of the lesser known species of Candida, Candida guilliermondii can strike immunocompromised persons. What we do know is that it is a rare and invasive specimen that has demonstrated a reduced susceptibility to antifungal agents.
8. Candida rugosa
Similar to Candida krusei, Candida rugosa is a fungal pathogen that has demonstrated unique geographic and temporal trends. In recent years, it has been identified as the cause of candidaemia in some patients. Like Candida krusei and Candida glabrata, Candida rugosa is resistant to some antifungal treatments.
Found in skin, nail, and blood samples, Candida zeylanoides has been reported as the source of fungemia—yeast in the blood. It may be treated with intravenous amphotericin therapy.
10. Candida tropicalis
Frequently encountered in tropical climates and known to cause candidemia, Candida tropicalis is one of the more common species of Candida known to affect humans. A major concern with the specimen’s global presence is its resistance to treatment with fluconazole.
How to Get Rid of Candida
If you recognize the symptoms of yeast infection or any other malady related to a Candida overgrowth, it’s important to act fast. Natural remedies such as tea tree oil, star anise, and eucalyptus have a natural ability to fight out-of-control fungus and support the body’s processes to restore balance.
10 Natural Remedies for Yeast Infections
The common yeast infection, also known as vaginitis, is a painful condition that many women experience at some point in their lives. Characterized by extremely uncomfortable itching, burning and pain, and discharge, vaginal yeast infections are usually caused by unhealthy forms of fungus that grow in the warm, damp environment of the female genitalia. Men may also experience this condition, but it is most common in women. The most prominent form of yeast infection fungus is Candida albicans. Below, are ten of the most common natural remedies for yeast infections. Hopefully, if you’re ever in need, these remedies will provide relief from uncomfortable itching and burning.
Some medications can disrupt the composition of your microbiota, opening you up to yeast overgrowth. To help maintain healthy and balanced microbial colonies, take a probiotic supplement to keep your system functioning at its best.
2. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Douche
Soothe a yeast infection by douching with apple cider vinegar. Mix 3 tablespoons of raw organic apple cider vinegar with 1 quart of water, add to douche apparatus and use. I recommend Bragg’s, but any raw apple cider vinegar with “the mother of vinegar” should work. For enhanced benefit, you can add colloidal silver to the mix. I recommend adding 2 ounces of Silver Fuzion® to each batch.
3. Organic Garlic
Another common remedy for yeast infections is to eat several fresh garlic cloves each day. While this will probably give you bad breath, it will also help clear up a yeast infection. This works because garlic has natural anti-fungal properties and can even balance out harmful bacteria.
4. Avoid Harsh Feminine Products
The vagina contains oils that help prevent yeast from forming. Feminine hygiene douches, sprays, and perfumed products reduce natural protective oils. Most soaps are harsh and also strip them away. Alcohol and other toxic chemicals in these products alter the delicate pH balance of the vagina and leave it more susceptible to infection. The best bet is to use organic hygiene products.
5. Organic Oregano Oil
Oregano oil is another effective remedy for yeast infections. It will help reduce yeast and candida proliferation. Place nine drops in a capsule and swallow 2-3 times daily after meals on a full stomach.
6. Organic Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a powerful natural fungal cleanser. Place a few drops of organic tea tree oil on a natural tampon and insert into your vagina for 4 hours. Do this in the morning and afternoon. Do not sleep with the tampon inserted. A couple of days should be sufficient to relieve the symptoms.
7. Organic Cranberries
You’ve probably heard of using cranberries for bladder infections, but did you know they can also help with yeast infections? Drink the juice, unsweetened, to boost healthy pH balance and halt fungal overgrowth.
8. Organic Plain Yogurt
Another common folk remedy related to restoring flora and pH balance, yogurt can be used topically and vaginally to reduce a yeast infection. Insert 1 to 2 tablespoons into the vagina, and externally to the affected area and leave for several hours before washing. Make sure the yogurt has no added sugars, fruit, or other ingredients. A tampon may be soaked in the yogurt and inserted for 2 hours, then removed.
9. Wear Loose Clothing
This remedy may sound silly, but it’s one of the easiest things you can do to help with yeast infections. It works because yeast fungus loves warm, moist environments. Wearing loose-fitting clothing and underwear keeps oxygen moving and prevents the growth of fungus. I recommend trying organic cotton clothing.
Everyone has naturally-occurring Candida yeast in their body, although a healthy microbiota prohibits the fungus from growing out of control. A stressful lifestyle can compromise the immune system and allow Candida to grow in excess. Take time to slow down and recuperate, particularly after stressful life events. I recommend massage, meditation, yoga, and frequent exercise.