Candida albicans. Have you heard of it? You may know it by its more common name: yeast infection.
Candida albicans is a fungus normally found in the intestinal tract, colon, and genito-urinary tract. It’s thought that up to 75 percent of women contract a yeast infection at some point in their life. Yet, for many women, it can be notoriously hard to cure as it can return and return. Furthermore, it’s not just women who are affected, as candida doesn’t just affect the vaginal environment.
What is candida?<1>
Candida is a type of fungus that naturally lives on and in our bodies. Every so often, though, it can multiply and become out of control. In the vagina, a candida infection leads to itchiness, redness and swelling, discomfort during sex, a burning sensation when urinating, a foul odor, and a cottage cheese-like discharge. Unpleasant to say the least!
Although vaginal yeast infections are probably the most well-known candida infections, they are not the only types, as previously mentioned. Candida is also responsible for thrush infections, such as those of the mouth. It feels like tiny inflamed bumps on the soft palate or inner cheeks or tongue. The tongue could also have a whitish aspect with loss of taste and/or an unpleasant taste in the mouth.
It’s also quite common for candida overgrowth to occur in the gut.<2>
What causes candida?
Candida infections can be due to changes in the gut or the vagina that upset its natural balance. Common culprits include diet too high in carbs and sugars, diabetes, pregnancy, a weakened immune system, and certain medications such as hormonal contraceptives. Recent or prolonged antibiotic use can also increase the risk of candida infection, by killing the good bacteria, leaving space for bad bacteria to populate.
What’s the big deal?
Apart from the symptoms listed above, untreated vaginal yeast infections can lead to raw or scarred areas due to scratching. These areas are prone to infections with other germs.<3> Rarely, candida can enter the bloodstream, where it becomes a severe, life-threatening infection.
New, fascinating research is also showing that those with candidiasis are also at an increased risk of developing serious health problems. At this point, researchers don’t understand exactly how this works, but they believe that candida can compromise the immune system.<4> Research also suggests that overgrowth of candida in the gut may lead to inflammatory bowel disease and other gastrointestinal tract diseases.<5>
Health problems associated with candida albicans can include leaky gut syndrome, a weakened immune system, brain fog, digestive upsets, food allergies, hormonal imbalances and many other health concerns. For more valuable information on some simple ways to boost your immune system, you can read one of our other popular blogs titled: 8 Ways to Boost your Immune System.
What can we do about it?<6>
To reduce your risk of candida infection, take antibiotics only when necessary and only as prescribed, make sure you take Probiotics to replenish the good bacteria from the stomach. Adopt a cleaner diet, avoid processed meats, starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn, beans, etc.), sugar and sugar alternatives including honey, white and brown sugar, corn syrup, sweet fruits and fruit juices, alcohol, dairy, black coffee and black tea. Introduce in your diet avocado, eggs, coconut, lemons and limes, fermented foods including sauerkraut and kefir, alternative sweeteners like stevia and xylitol, and organic poultry.
Wearing breathable cotton underwear may also help. It’s not necessary to use vaginal douches or sprays, or scented pads or tampons—these can upset the vagina’s natural balance and contribute to yeast overgrowth. Bubble baths are also thought to disrupt the vaginal ecosystem, as can hot baths or hot tubs. Finally, ensure that you change out of a wet bathing suit as soon as possible.
The conventional medical treatments for candida typically include over-the-counter antifungals in cream or suppository form.
Provita has a three-step natural regimen specifically targeted at conquering candida once and for all, including the strains in the gut.
Note: Always check with your health care practitioner before starting any new medication or supplement, especially if you are pregnant or have a condition such as diabetes.
- Colon Cleanser is formulated to promote optimal gut health. Provita’s regimen focuses on gut health, with the philosophy that gut health is crucial to overall health. If our intestinal tracts aren’t balanced and healthy, disease can take root. Colon Cleanser also contains konjac glucomannan, which has been shown in a scientific study to help recover the microbiota in female study participants with vaginal yeast infections after treatment. This is very important, since if the vaginal ecosystem doesn’t recover to its healthy state, it can be at risk for recurring infections.<7>
- Goldenseal, also known as Coptis chinensis, is a herb used in traditional Chinese medicine as an antibacterial and antiviral agent. It contains the potent active ingredient berberine,<8> which has been shown in several studies to help kill candida, including candida that has become resistant to a common conventional antifungal agent on its own.<9>
- The probiotics and prebiotics in our Acidophilus helps repopulate the gut with the good bacteria. More study needs to be done, but so far, results of probiotics such as acidophilus on vaginal candida are very promising.<10> Plus, as previously mentioned, it’s crucial to help bring the vagina back to a healthy, balanced state to help ward off future potential infections. Without support from an army of healthy bacteria, our delicate systems remain vulnerable to attack.
- Berberine TPGS. Berberine is the main alkaloid found in Goldenseal, Coptis and Bearberry. Besides being one of the best ingredients for lowering blood sugar, it is also a powerful anti-fungal.
What about UTIs?
It’s easy to get urinary tract infections (UTIs) and vaginal yeast infections confused. Although UTIs can be limited to the urinary tract and yeast infections can be limited to the vagina, it’s more complicated than that. New research shows that candida can lead to UTIs<11>.
Furthermore, the antibiotics that are used to flush out bacteria in the urinary tract reduce our healthy bacteria, allowing candida to spread freely in the genital area. That’s why those undergoing treatment for UTIs should anticipate the symptoms of yeast infection. At the earliest signs of urinary infection, consider taking UTI Pro. This may help prevent taking antibiotics, which could lead to yeast infections.