It’s been almost a year since I wrote the last article on persistent candida and treatments. I meant to write this following article two months ago but sometimes you just never seem to find enough time so it never got done. So here goes, I am not sure that my candida is totally cured but it’s certainly not the bane of my existence as it was before. If a doctor examined me he would not find any sign of it, but there is an awareness I guess that its only just gone, not that it is so normal you take it for granted.
I outlined many things I tried and why, but didn’t cover many others. Overall I had vaginal thrush for a year and half and although many remedies gave some relief from the itch they could not be called a cure.
Contributing or concurrent symptoms are also important to note as candida appears to need a specific environment to morph into the unpleasant thrush from its more normal state in our body.
It’s impossible to definitively state my cause. I have had herpes (HSV 2) for over 20 years. I have been under debt stress for 10 years. 2 years prior to this I had an ablation at around the same time I’d be entering menopause. I had not had any antibiotics for maybe 15 years previously. I developed persistent candida. I was diagnosed with Hashimotos hypo thyroidism. My temperature was consistently between 35 and 36 degrees.
And I had thrush I couldn’t cure.
What did help to remove the itch and to reduce the severity?
1. The Candida Diet
The candida diet is not something to take lightly, it is a very restrictive diet and for most cases of candida it is unnecessary to start something that makes your life so hard. That said, many many people will feel so much better if they adopt some or all aspects of the candida diet. I ‘ll be honest and say i thought I’d try it for 3-6 months and see, but now I cannot see me going back to a normal diet.
I have days when I’ll grieve for a jam donut like a lost love, when a sandwich sounds like something on a five star restaurant’s menu and biscuits and milk are a happy childhood memory. We adapt. There is no question but that the restrictions change your life and people don’t understand. Only you can decide if it’s worth it. For me it’s worth it. I have fallen off the wagon sometimes, and the result is pain.
The Primal or Paleo diets are close to the Candida diet. It is simpler to say you can eat most protein and vegetables, than to list all the restrictions. However, the full diet will have you go grain free, low carb, no sugar, no dairy, no yeast, very small amounts of fruit with initial restrictions on high sugar ones, no peanuts, no mushrooms and there are probably other restrictions I don’t recall.
I am gluten free, semi dairy free (I eat a small amount of cheese as a treat perhaps once a fortnight, use ghee to cook with and have milk in my tea – but keep away from a big glass of milk or a punnet of yoghurt or a meal with a cheese sauce) totally sugar free, I drink only tea and soda water, I eat vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, and now use some gluten free flours to bake muffins or make pancakes.
Coconuts are the major part of my new substitutions, I use the milk for cereal and drinks and milk substitutions, and the flour for baking, and the oil for cooking with and added to my breakfast quinoa porridge. Buckwheat, besan, rice and coconut flours substitute for wheat. Stevia substitutes for sugar.
When I first started on the diet I would have an an increase in candida white pricklys and itch after eating a banana because of the sugar in it. After about 6 months on the diet I could finally tolerate a banana again. Now they have no effect at all on me.
Reducing the Candida Itch
Apple cider vinegar, hydrogen peroxide 3%, witch hazel – these were the best for swabbing with to reduce the itch. I really didn’t like creams at all and gave up using them because they gave me no relief.
Finally I discovered zinc creams and powders. These helped. Applying the zinc powder to the external skin after a shower and sometimes in the night as a quick fix to keep the skin area fully dry. The thick zinc oxide cream as a barrier cream for when the internal skin area is feeling sore or tender.
There is a product called Aci Jel which Dr M suggested. It may be hard to get, but it is a gel and has glacial acetic acid as its main ingredient. Yep, Vinegar is dilute acetic acid. By restoring vaginal acidity this gel discourages candida growth there. This is as messy as borax btw, so a small towel is advised. I found that 3 days treatment offered about a weeks relief and this was a turning point for me. After using it and resting it about 4 or 5 times, the severity decreased for longer periods of time.
Another article I read advised using Vitamin C. Take orally in high dose and also use as a pessary. Ditto to the towel. I still take 1,000 vtC a day.
What Cures Candida?
I think it is probably Borax…Maybe it is molybdenum, maybe its vitamin C…
I cured my candida by taking this product. I have written the other things I tried because they came before and by the time I took this, I had very little thrush irritation left to get rid of, as the diet and ph change had done some work towards curing it, so i don’t know if you need to do this too. Maybe you do. Maybe you need to do the diet as well. I don’t know for sure…
You may have to ask for this product by name in your local health food store or from a naturopath.
Metagenics Femme Essentials
Multivitamin and Mineral
Women’s Multi with Detoxification and Antioxident Support – Practitioner Only Range
My actual final candida cure came after I read an article about molybdenum taking out the candida trash. I went into the health food store asking the assistant if she had any or knew about it. At first she didn’t seem to know a product which contained it, but after we talked a while about systemic candida she ran out the back and reappeared with this multivitamin and mineral supplement from Metagenics.
It cost me around $45 for 60 tablets, and is marked practitioner only range, meaning you won’t just find it on the shelf, and you probably won’t be able to buy it online. There is a similar Metagenics product you can get online, but it probably won’t help for candida. The key ingredients to cure candida I believe are in the borax and molybdenum which are not in the generally available Metagenics product.
I always felt that borax was the answer to cure candida but I couldn’t find a way to take it correctly. I tried the way the earth clinic suggests but got such severe pain in my stomach I couldn’t take it constantly. The trick I guess is in the dose and this is the only product I’ve found that has it right.
I tolerated it very well with no ill effect. I took one a day, all the 60 tablets, until the bottle was finished and then I had to stop myself rushing to the store to get another bottle.
I was well, the candida was gone, I was cured – but it was hard to believe it was permanent after a year and a half. What if it comes back I thought? But you can’t take supplements forever and shouldn’t if you don’t need to. I still take Vitamin C. If I forget I feel a phantom itch! But I finished the metagenics tablets a month ago and I’m still totally candida free.
My temperature is stable around 36.5 and I’m on permanent thyroid replacement medication and daily zovirex. I am and think I will probably remain gluten free but am gradually relaxing other restrictions. Not sugar just yet though, maybe I’ll have a little honey next year.
A Favour Please?
I hope this will help other people suffering from persistent candida. If it does help to cure your candida please find a way to link to the article in some way. Linking to it in a forum or on a blog helps to bring the article to appear on Google search pages when people search for cures for candida. You can also comment below if it helped you so people can see it helped more people than just me.
Normal people rarely question WHY a remedy works. We have an ailment – a healer offers medicine – we take it and we get better. We don’t need to know why or how it works, because we’re cured. Hows and whys are for doctors, researchers and inventors. Unless we are not cured.
Necessity is the Mother of Invention. When the remedies fail to work then discovering how and why they are supposed to work so you can look for other remedies becomes more important. This is my patient “limited” understanding of why anti-fungal remedies are expected to work on candida.
Another preconception has hit the dust. Statistically speaking – some anti fungal remedies are better than others at curing specific fungi – but again – most of it is advertising. I would have preferred to go on believing that the chemistry is a science, but I’ve further opened the blinkers on my eyes.
It sounds like snake oil when herbalists say that one remedy can benefit many, many varied complaints, but it’s actually a natural remedy norm. The anomaly is the pharmaceutical product – that only one remedy (and only one brand of it) will do the job. If there is a hole in a bucket, many different materials can be used to fix that hole or any other hole that might need mending. The same is true of most medications.
The rule here is – first try what has worked before, then what worked for someone you know, then what the doctor orders and finally, work your way down the “probables” list, until you find what works for you.
The Azole Candida Treatment – What’s in the Creams
The first line of treatment I tried and which had never failed me before was Clotrimazole in a cream. Caneston was the brand choice although there was a chemist generic version also available. Bifonazole was the next try and actually appeared to have more effect than Clotrimazole, which made me wonder if I had a different form of candida. Unfortunately neither remedy “held”.
If you look up candida on wikipedia you will find that (my approximate) 80% of infections are Candida Albicans, but there are 5 more types of common candida and perhaps a hundred more, less common types.
Although there are types of candida and types of prescription antifungals, there is not a lot of public internet documents making connections between the two, so this info is not very useful for self-treatment. If you can get a swab done which tells you what type of candida you have, maybe your doc can pinpoint an azole or other anti-fungal that is known to work more effectively to cure it. But its a big maybe – because docs don’t get many cases of resistant candida.
If you are unlucky enough to have chronic or systemic candidiasis then you will need an infectious disease specialist who is privy to specific medical research. This is a case history of a child who suffered an ongoing severe candida infection due to a familial predisposition until finally it was almost reduced, or almost “cured”, by doctors using this Mucocutaneous Candidiasis Treatment.
Antifungals work by exploiting differences between mammalian and fungal cells to kill the fungal organism without dangerous effects on the host. Unlike bacteria, both fungi and humans are eukaryotes. Thus fungal and human cells are similar at the molecular level. This makes it more difficult to find or design drugs that target fungi without affecting human cells.
Azole antifungal drugs inhibit the enzyme lanosterol 14 ?-demethylase; the enzyme necessary to convert lanosterol to ergosterol. Depletion of ergosterol in fungal membrane disrupts the structure and many functions of fungal membrane leading to inhibition of fungal growth.
Azoles stop fungal growth by inhibiting an enzyme and preventing fungi from making an essential part of their cell wall. Echinocandins also work by disrupting the wall that surrounds fungal cells. The drugs called Polyenes work by attaching to the sterol component in the fungal membrane and causing the cells to become porous and die.
Unlike bacteria, both fungi and humans are eukaryotes meaning that fungal and human cells are similar at the molecular level. This makes it more difficult to find or design drugs that target fungi without affecting human cells.
The treatment of fungal infections depend on its type and location. Keeping it as simple as we can – we need to decide on oral (medicine) or topical (ointment) treatment – or both.
External fungal outbreaks (eg tinea, dandruff, jock itch) that affect the skin, hair, and nails can usually be treated topically with shampoo, oils, astringents, creams or ointment.
Vaginal or mouth thrush treatment may use tablets as well as topical treatment. Thrush in the mouth may resolve with gargles or lozenges. Vaginal thrush may resolve with topical cream and/or the insertion of medication in pessaries.
However oral and vaginal candida may be the external sign of an internal infection. If intestinal yeast infections (yeast in the tubes of the gut), or if yeast is in the oesophagus (the tube between the mouth and the stomach), then oral treatment (swallowing tablets of antifungal medicine) will probably be required. Candida is now becoming a more serious problem, as candida releases toxins that affect how we function and it can make holes in the gut through which it’s infection can spread further.
Systemic fungal infections generally only target people with weakened immune systems, to affect their blood and internal organs. These infections often require aggressive and ongoing treatment with strong antifungal medication and intravenous drugs. Doctors will also make prophylactic use of medication to stave off fungal infections in those whose immune systems cannot defend them.
Which brings us back to a cause, because persistent candida is not common in healthy individuals. This is because our natural bacteria and enzymes keep candida in its normal form, and do not allow it to morph and get out of hand.
Yoghurt and Digestive Enzymes As Candida Treatment
Antibiotics are a common cause of candida in the mouth or vagina. Prior to this infection, I have only had thrush after taking antibiotics. When I did get it I would also make sure I had some yoghurt to replace the “good flora” that was wiped out along with the bad during the course of antibiotics. I can’t say I ever made an effort to make sure it didn’t have sugar in it though. I looked at yakkult last week and couldn’t believe the amount of sugar in it. Can it really help that much while it’s secretly feeding the enemy?
As to enzymes, I have been reading about digestive enzymes and wondering if supplements of them might help – and perhaps they might – who knows? We use enzymes that dissolve stains in our clothes, and that works ok – so why not supplements?
The problem with enzymes is that they appear to need the body’s temperature and PH to be normal in order to work. The optimum pH for an enzyme depends on where it normally works. For example, intestinal enzymes have an optimum pH of about 7.5. Enzymes in the stomach have an optimum pH of about 2. And my temperature is not normal!
So although I can visualize little pacman enzymes rushing up to munch on and clear away the candida debris, I think my real digestive enzymes are on strike until I stabilize my temperature with some T3 for the thyroid. I’m beginning to wonder why I am gluten and dairy free – perhaps this persistent candida is just an enzyme issue.
Be careful consuming essential oils or using them topically. Most essential oils are not edible and should not be ingested. Cheaper essential oils for aromatherapy are impure and may be poisonous. Edible essential oils are more expensive and will be clearly labeled “therapeutic-grade” with said label stating nutrition values. Essential oils are also extremely strong and can burn skin, especially in the mouth or vaginal area. Dilute essential oils with a carrier oil using approximately 5 drops of essential oil to each ounce (30g) of say, olive oil.
Citronella oil – obtained from the leaves and stems of different species of Cymbopogon (Lemon grass) Lemon myrtle
Palmarosa oil Patchouli
Neem Seed Oil Olive Leaf Tea tree oil – ISO 4730 (“Oil of Melaleuca, Terpinen-4-ol type”)
Coconut oil – medium chain triglycerides in the oil have antifungal activities Allicin – created from crushing garlic Selenium – in dietary supplements or natural food sources, particularly Brazil nuts
Zinc – in dietary supplements or natural food sources, including pumpkin seeds and chick peas Iodine – Lugol’s solution
Rome wasn’t built in a day and patience is a virtue…
A new year started at the beginning of last week, which means I have been taking these supplements for Candida for about 5 months and I have not been eating wheat, dairy, yeast, soy, peanuts or sugar.
I have been adding Coconut Oil daily to my meals, and taking selenium and zinc as dietary supplements. I have also been taking 2 drops of lugals solution for the thyroid. These have been recommended for me to take, probably for both the hypothyroidism and the candida.
Leaving aside the improvement in the thyroid disorder – there is no perceptible change in the candida. The only change is – it is bearable or quiescent – because I am careful to not eat sugar which feeds the candida. If I do eat sugar, the candida flares up and the itch and discomfort are just as before.
My Candida Treatments So Far – Warning May Be TMI
I bought some oregano oil ($35 a dropper bottle) and following incomplete instructions from a forum, smeared some on a tampon and left it in overnight. I withdrew it the next day only to see blood for the first time in 5 years (thanks to menopause that is) – so I didn’t repeat that remedy too soon.
Now I know to dilute an essential oil – and so do you!
I made a similar stupid mistake with tea tree oil and both these oils are very strong smelling. Don’t try these stinky oils if you are planning to go out anywhere.
I read good reports on Neem oil and almost went looking for it until I read that it’s another strong smelling oil and not a sweet smelling one. I decided I’d give it a miss. So the only main essential oil other than the citrus) left on that list I havn’t tried is Olive Leaf.
Garlic as an oil (Allicin) I didn’t try, but I did slice a piece off a clove of garlic, wrap it in gauze and tie it tight with dental floss (so that after vaginal insertion you can pull it out again).I did this for just over a week every night and although I gained some relief from this, there are easier ways to gain relief if it fails to provide a cure. It is recommended you eat garlic though and eating it probably helps most people. My stomach rejects garlic quite forcibly, if I try to eat more than a piece of garlic bread, so garlic wasn’t the remedy for me.
I wouldn’t let patchouli anywhere near me in a hundred years unless I could see 10 people I know standing in front of me swearing it cured their candida! But the citrus oils, I wish I’d heard about them sooner. If I’m going to smell, I wouldn’t mind reeking of oranges and lemons. Well, it’s not too late yet , I’m not cured after all, there’s still time to try these sweet citrus scents!
Skin and Lung Absorption of Oils.
Maybe we think of topical treatment too specifically. Our skin absorbs things and so do our lungs. We can dilute essential oils for massage and add a spoonful to a hot bath or a few drops to an small candle powered oil burner. We can rub it on the soles of our feet and the remedy will be absorbed by the skin and carried to where it will do some good.
Many essential oils seem to have some antifungal properties. I don’t know how they are meant to work or even if they do, but they are said to…
P.S. & BTW The MAJOR essential oil for curing candida is coconut oil as it contains caprylic acid – take 1-3 tablespoons a day (start small and work up) .You don’t need to dilute coconut oil. That is one essential oil that you can rub on your skin, eat it as it is, cook it into baked goods, spread it on toast or fry with it – just as it is – and it’s really good for you as well. Google “coconut oil” if you doubt me!
What is left as Candida treatments?
There are several herbs such as Pau D’arco and other remedies and supplements that are said to help cure candida – such as herbs, vitamins, minerals, pre biotics, pro biotics, flavonoids and amino acids, enzymes and Uncle Tom Cobley and all.
Along with coconut oil, zinc, selenium and iodine, I take magnesium every day and multi vitamins, especially B6 and biotin in a B vitamin complex.
Astringent Candida treatments
Preventive measures for candida (like not sitting around in wet swimming suits or sweating in synthetics when you can wear absorbent cotton undies) remind us that candida likes warm moist skin folds. Like growing mint or violets in your garden, if you take away the wet niche, they will die from being too dry.
I wish I could say these cured me but I cannot. However the difference I felt between these and other things I have tried and the reading of a few rare articles lead me to believe that if I can stabilise my temp, they may eventually “hold”. Certainly their relief lasts much longer than anything else I’ve tried.
The skin around the vagina and the mucus membrane skin inside the vagina may have different forms of candida so I’ll differentiate them as jock itch and thrush. I think this is maybe why the Bifonazole had an effect on the jock itch but neither it nor the Clotrimazole had an effect on the thrush. Fluconazole had an effect on a thrush but it didn’t last more than a day, and didn’t affect the jock itch.
Borax for Candida
Borax is said to be a very good cure for candida. One article I read said that 98% of vaginal candida cases are cured with this remedy. I can’t fathom the difference between borax, boron and boric acid – so please read the discussions on Borax at earth clinic .
I filled empty capsules I bought from the chemist with borax (bought from the laundry aisle in the supermarket) and inserted a single capsule vaginally at night. Sleep with a hand towel between the legs as you will become very wet.
Borax is a salt. You will probably read that it is poisonous (it is not approved as a food stuff), but it’s said to be about as poisonous as normal table salt. Borax draws water just like table salt draws humidity from the air on wet days . So I assume it takes the moisture out of the vagina (you do feel puckered after a few days) thereby starving the yeast of moisture.
The other remedy that alters moisture, is bentonite clay. I still haven’t managed to get such a thing as a single ingredient. At first I had no idea what I was looking for and all the shops I asked in said they’d heard of it but didn’t have it and couldn’t get it. I could have ordered some on the internet, but the reference to it was a single sentence in a forum that said that he cured his jock itch with bentonite clay. It was vague and not substantiated anywhere else I’d read at that time.
After researching a bit more, I discovered bentonite is used in wine as a preservative to stop hot days causing floating debris in wine, and also used in construction to line building areas as…
The high-swelling variety, sodium bentonite, absorbs nearly five times its weight in water and at full saturation occupied a volume 15 times its dry bulk; on drying it returns to its original volume.
… and then … eventually… I read that bentonite clay was good for the skin.
So next time I went to a chemist I looked at the mud packs and face masks. Sure enough there it is in all its forms among, avocado oil and aloe vera juice and… it works, amazing. It goes on moist and then dries and sucks out all the moisture and keeps the skin dry until you wash it off. The jock itch feels better, not cured, but better. Nothing else has made it feel better.
I believe you can take the clay and it helps as well, but I’ll wait until it may be possible to get some that says you can eat it, cause who knows what they put in these face packs.
Last but not least – adjusting PH
The effect of food on the body has nothing to do with its PH, but its PH has heaps to do with the body’s health. I haven’t got a handle on this yet. I can never remember which parts are meant to be acid or alkaline, but I do know that meat and carbs makes you acid and green vegetables and red fruits and things that are sour make you alkaline. Most herbs and spices make you alkaline as well. Alkaline is good BTW. Acid is bad.
Anyway, PH is the topic for another article when I “get” it. My husband spent 2 days in hospital between Christmas and new year – in agony, with a kidney stone. The earth clinic remedy was lemon juice and bicarb of soda. I’ve been taking this (or apple cider vinegar and bicarb) for 5 months now – for candida. See Teds Alkalizing Formulas for more info.
The earth clinic also recommends this alkalizing for rheumatoid arthritis which my mother has, so it’s all good reading for me and I understand more each day.
OK thats all for this one. It’s taken me all day to write this!
I know its a bit late (but I’ve been stressed. Thank goodness for good friends that help you by driving you places (like hospitals) and keeping your spirits up.) Anyway, better late than never –
I had plans for this post. I thought it might be helpful to people to explain the remedies I’ve tried already to “kill” the yeast, or candida that I am having trouble eliminating. I have had this vaginal candida irritation for over a year now. I’ve tried lots of different things. They have all failed so far.
When I read some forums, many people have had candida for many more years, some claiming to have suffered from it for over 20 years. Yet I have also read a few medical websites, and had my own experience with a doctor that I saw about it, that suggests that many doctors are unaware that not all patients are cured with Canestan or Fluconazole.
I may still go over some of the remedies I have tried but I am no longer sure that it will help anyone. It will be on a different post and after I have had time to think about this article.
I have just finished reading How to successfully Overcome Candida by Bee Wilder and my head is trying to shift gears again. Concept shifting is becoming second nature however at the moment. Most of what I thought I knew about diet has proven to be incorrect.
Changing My Diet
I actually thought I ate quite healthily!
Four months ago I restricted fats and oils, happily treated myself to occasional cakes and chocolate bars and daily biscuits and cheese. I ate toast for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch, (brown bread) or had porridge with milk for breakfast and went to bed with a warm chocolaty milk drink.
Of course for dinner I had plenty of vegetables or salad and meat such as chicken, steak or pork, often with plenty of potatoes or pasta or rice. I also liked an occasional desert of fresh fruit or fruit from a can with icecream from the freezer. I often ate fish like tuna or salmon from cans, and had baked beans on toast and tomatoes from cans with bacon and eggs, and I loved the convenience of pre-made “chicken tonight” type sauces that I used to flavour my healthy stir fries. I drank mostly tea with no sugar and rarely ever had sweet fizzy drinks or fruit juice.
A Healthy Diet – Compared to What?
The truth is, compared to people who eat a lot of takeaway and drink 3-4 cans of soft drink a day, I did eat a healthy diet. It’s all in the perspective. Compared to other people, my diet choices stank!
Now I can feel easy about eating as much pork crackling as I like, and drinking as much coconut milk as I want and I don’t worry about saturated fats and heart disease. I won’t touch anything with sugar in it (unless I have conveniently turned a blind eye to the label or have misread it). Butter, and a tiny bit of lite milk in my tea, is all the dairy I allow myself. I no longer eat bread or anything made with wheat flour or any jar sauces containing yeast.
Even so the time I spent trying learn how to bake with alternate flours – nut (almond meal) and pea (besan) and seed (sesame, sunflower) and alternate grains (quinoa) that are gluten free – if not wasted, appears to be somewhat misguided. Bee Wilder, on the page I reference above, suggests we cut all carbs out of our diet or at the very least, keep them to the barest minimum.
The paleo diet (not that I liked the idea of everything raw) seemed logical, being that our ancestors probably ate a lot of raw food.
Wrong! We are carnivores not herbivores and unless we cook our vegetables thoroughly, we won’t be getting much nutrition from them. And eating raw fish won’t do you any good either.
But the kicker is her contention that if we get healthy, the yeast will return to its normal, non irritating self.
It is only because we are eating poisonous foods that the body is trying to neutralize and detox, that we have developed candida in its overgrowth form.
Throwing antifungals at our digestive system to “kill” the yeast, isn’t the answer.
Changing our diet and getting healthy is the answer.
Luckily, although there is a concept mind shift here, the actual diet mechanics are not very different. The main and major difference, diet wise, is to take nuts and other carbohydrates off the table. (If you are going to follow this candida diet version that is.) Real food is something that can be grown and raised naturally. If it requires a factory to process it – eg could you make crystaline sugar from sugar cane? – then its probably not good for you. Also, many nutrients are lost as we process food in order to preserve it, so we can convenience shop in a supermarket.
Candida Is Not an Infection
If it were an infection, it could be infectious, but Bee doesn’t feel it is and medical research docs agree.
There are some very strong and controversial statements on Bee Wilders page.
Concepts that challenge our normal concepts about what a virus is and about bacterial infections.
Her take on vaccination is familiar to me, but I need to think more about many other things she says.
It was Antoine Bechamp (1816–1908), a contemporary of Pasteur, who discovered the true nature of germs, bacteria, viruses, etc. and that they change form, called pleomorphism. He discovered they all arise from microbes called microzymas which exist everywhere in nature and are found in all animals, fish, plants, rocks, insects, and in human bodies. Under certain non–optimal conditions when the body is overloaded with toxins and unhealthy microzymas change into viruses in order to affect healing and detoxifying of the body.
When the body’s condition is not improved, viruses change into bacteria and so on. Eventually, in the deteriorating cycle, candida and other fungus evolve, and also cancer. Therefore viruses, germs, bacteria, candida, and even cancer, are not the cause of, but the result of, disease, arising from tissues rather than from a germ of constant form. This is also called the “cellular disease theory”
The reason your body creates candida/yeast is because the cells have changed over from oxygenation to fermentation mainly because of high carbs/sugars that are consumed. This is the same process in the making of wine and beer which is done by yeast acting upon sugars changing them into alcohol.
So with this in mind, I’m not going to write about antifungals like oregano oil (which didn’t do anything for me BTW) and instead I’m going to increase my intake of coconut oil (back to what I was taking when I started all this – but since I got distracted have forgotten to) Then I’m going to print off Bee Wilders page and go and sit down somewhere and try and get my head around everything that is on it.
Candida is a natural part of the “flora” of our bodies but it can play havoc when it overgrows like a noxious weed that is getting out of control in your garden. Generally a topical or oral fungicide is used, in a similar way to a weed killer, to bring the candida yeast overgrowth under control. Symptoms subside and all is forgotten.
If however you are immune compromised in some way, the body will have trouble distributing and aiding the” weed killer” to destroy the overgrowth. As yeasts feed on sugar the Candida diet restricts all forms of sugar. It also restricts yeast (bread and Vegemite) and anything fungal (mushrooms and peanuts) and the two main allergen causing culprits – wheat (gluten) and dairy (lactose).
But sugar is the main change the candida diet requires you to quit on.Sugar describes many specific types of sugar. In it’s most natural form it is a part of fruit and vegetables and is often called carbohydrates.
Many fruits “sweeten” as they ripen, like bananas, and many vegetables are naturally sweet like sweet potato and sweet corn. In it’s natural form surrounded by fibre and delivering a mix of vitamins and minerals as well as carbohydrates – carbohydrates deliver energy with nutrition.
Sucrose is found naturally in many food plants along with the monosaccharide fructose. In many fruits, such as pineapple and apricot, sucrose is the main sugar. In others, such as grapes and pears, fructose is the main sugar.
Although high sugar fruit and vegetables are forbidden for the first month of the candida diet, in the following months they are only restricted.
Foods containing processed sugar are strictly forbidden if you are to starve the yeast overgrowth. Cakes, biscuits, sauces, jams, jellies, icecreams, chocolates, crystalline sugar in tea or coffee – it’s a tough challenge I know, but you have to give sugar away totally if you want the candida diet to work for you. Most artificial sweeteners are no good for you either, so don’t turn to aspartame, sucralose, neotame, acesulfame potassium, or saccharin.
When you have been sugar free for a few months – your candida will flare with even a little sugar in your diet. I had a flare last week which puzzled me until I realized that the new bottle of vitamin C I bought didn’t say sugar free and sure enough when I scoured the label again I found glucose on it.
Alternate Names for Sugar
To give you a head start here are some alternate names for sugar – sucrose, glucose, lactose, dextrose, fructose, galactose, maltose, saccharides, sorbitol, honey, golden syrup, sorghum syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, agave syrup, caramel, date sugar, palm sugar, treacle, molasses, muscovado, panocha, demerara, castor, erythritol, fruit juice, alcohol, etc.
For sweetness without setting off the yeast or causing tooth decay – turn to stevia – this sweet herb, used as a natural sweetener, has a zero glycemic index and zero calories. Stevia has been widely used for centuries in South America. It is available as dried herb or a refined sweetener in drops, or mixed with erythritol to resemble sugar. A sweetener that can benefit dental health is xylitol. Xylitol works to prevent bacteria from adhering to the tooth surface, thus preventing plaque formation and eventually decay. It is also becoming a better known sugar substitute, for more than just chewing gum.
Giving up Wheat, Gluten and Yeast
You can go looking for a gluten free bread if you want to, I did for weeks, but I didn’t find a commercially made loaf that didn’t have wheat (gluten), dairy, yeast and sugar in it.
So if you like snack food, this step is really hard and is best done gradually or you won’t have time to adjust breakfast and lunch to a non traditional meal of rice, meat and vegetables or foods made with pea, nut or seed flours.
Oats do not have gluten but may become contaminated with it from factory packaging. Substitute wheat pasta and noodles with rice or buckwheat pastas. Quinoa makes a good porridge substitute and a versatile savoury carb.
Yeast is not just in cakes and breads, like sugar it is in a lot of sauces and condiments. For some people the hardest loss will not be the toast but the vegemite!
Giving Up Dairy
Milk, cream, cheese, yoghurt, butter, buttermilk, icecream, all contain milk sugars, so they are forbidden on the candida diet. I still have lite milk in my tea (it tastes awful otherwise) and cook with butter. Most people will dig in their heels about some things. Converting to the candida diet is better done as a gradual change or you’ll turn suicidal.
Give up things it’s easier for you to give up first and gradually substitute alternate foods for forbidden foods you like a lot, when you are ready to. No more milk and cookies before bed sounds harsh, but there are alternatives.
Almond milk is lovely but expensive, rice milk and soy milk are two alternative milks. I don’t like soy or rice milk and soy is said to interfere with the thyroid medication so I use oat milk. I also love coconut milk and cream. My favourite treat at the moment is a cold chocolate milk drink made with a tsp of cocoa (just cocoa no other ingredients) dissolved in a tbsp of boiling water, 2-3 drops of stevia, a generous splash of coconut cream and topped up with oat milk. Mmmm delicious!
I think maybe you need to have been on the candida diet for a few months to really think its delicious, tho. After a few months with no sugar, sour is not so sour, bitter is better and most flavours just taste a little bit different. The only time you notice tho is when other people say “How can you eat that?”
Other Forbidden Foods on the Candida Diet
There are many versions of the candida diet, some writers are stricter than others. Most agree on the above and then there are other forbidden foods depending on how “natural” their bias is.
Most agree that meat should be from ethical organic meat suppliers, hams and bacons should be free of nitrates, salami, sausages and processed meats are generally off the menu (but I sneak in some gluten free pork snags now and then) and shellfish may be forbidden.
I think many of the candida diet restrictions are due to the likelihood of people having allergies. Shellfish is high on the allergy list, gluten, lactose and casein are high. Peanuts are a common allergen.
The diet usually forbids peanuts – is it because it’s a goitrogen? or as is mentioned because the shells can have mould. If it’s mould which are like fungi which is like yeast and also like mushrooms – the connection seems a bit tenuous to me. So I eat mushrooms but steer clear of peanuts because of the thyroid. Some diets ban coconut but coconut, and especially coconut oil contains caprylic acid, an anti fungal specifically effective for killing candida overgrowth.
Some ban fermented foods – tofu, miso, tempah, kefir – while other versions of the candida diet recommend them. Some say no vinegar at all, others say apple cider vinegar and citric fruits. Some say no tea or coffee or cocoa, others don’t even try restricting these. Some list specific allowed fruits and others just restrict all fruits for the first three weeks and then say eat in moderation.
One version of the candida diet I read even allowed alcohol – gin and vodka I think, but I’m not sure.
I believe that you need to restrict sugar, gluten and dairy and that once you’ve reached a month or so, your body will start to tell you what you can and cannot have. So make sure you are listening to it. Be aware when you get mentally foggy, or severely itchy and prickly, or dizzy and make a note of what you ate that day. Don’t eat it again for at least four days and then see if that food or drink does it again. If it does – avoid it.
The candida diet is a strict diet which many doctors feel is unnecesary. Many deny that the candida thing is happening at all as a systemic problem. I was very skeptical myself to start with. Nothing like personal experience to make a convert of you.
Now I believe that the diet is genuinely helping to keep my yeast in check. I don’t think diet alone will cure my candida, but it is healing me slowly. The choices I am making are improving my immune system. The candida diet makes it easier for the antifungals I’m taking to do their job. If I eat something forbidden it’s not a major setback, but it’s sometimes very uncomfortable as the severity of the symptoms increases, yet within a few days these recede again, as long as I stay on the diet.
The most difficult thing for me to understand is the so called herxheimer response or die-off. It is described as flu-like symptoms as the candida dies off it and the toxins are being removed from the body via sneezes, mucus, skin, bowel and urine. You might see rashes, symptoms may get worse. If I feel worse does that mean I’m getting better or the yeast is winning – I get confused!
I have been on the diet 3 months now. I have tried various anti candida remedies but have not had any luck with a cure as yet. I’ll go through what I have tried in the next article. I am very tired of having this and would like to stop thinking about it, and researching new treatments that do nothing. But I will say that the candida diet helps to keep me relatively symptom minor. But a cure it is not.
I don’t know how long I may be need to be on the candida diet. Some people say 6 months, some suggest it may take 1-2 years. Others warn that it may be forever. Hmmm.
What Can You Eat on the Candida Diet?
When asked, I generally reply “Meat and Vegetables”. Of course it’s more than that, but that describes it well enough. The closer to nature the food is, the more likely it is you can eat it on the candida diet. The more processed it is whether commercial processing and packaging or complex cooking – the less likely it is that the food will be acceptable.
The paleo diet and the Atkins diet are the closest “famous” diets to the candida diet. The paleo diet would have you eat raw vegetables, and there is no doubt that this may be better for you – if you can tolerate it. If the candida or other auto immune conditions have damaged your digestive system though, to jump from a standard soft western diet to the paleo can leave you feeling most uncomfortable with wind and bowel disruption. So change your diet slowly – to tolerance – as they say, and give your body time to adjust to it’s new fuel.
You can eat fresh fish and you can eat good oils and fats. You can also eat eggs, rice, corn, buckwheat (which is not wheat) and nuts and seeds. Owning a juicer and a blender and a grinder will come in handy – of the three I use my small blender the most. It cuts up and makes dust of cashew nuts and almonds, so I can make nut paste that isn’t peanut, and almond meal for making cakes and “bread”. It also “blends” or purees softened fruit and veg to mix in soups, stews, cakes, sauces etc.
I have a juicer but haven’t used it much as yet, but as I learn to cook in a different way, I may. I believe vegetable stews close to raw are often made with grated vegetables and juice and pulp. I don’t have a grinder ( like a coffee grinder) but the blender doesn’t handle small seeds like sesame, so that might be good one day.
Getting Adventurous With the Candida Diet
Learning to cook with non gluten flours does require some study. Non-gluten flours are drier and burn more easily. They have no “stretch” and fall apart easily, so you need to use xanthan gum or eggs to bind them. Not using sugar – it being sticky – doesn’t help either. I haven’t found a way to make biscuits yet that are crisp without being hard. Maybe it’s not possible.
But I made an orange almond cake that was delicious and tried a No-guilt Brownies recipe from a book I got from the library that turned out pretty good. It takes hours in the kitchen and makes lots of washing up but it’s necessary with such a strict diet to have some treats now and then, or we start to feel too sorry for ourselves.
Anyway – baking aside – you should be starting the candida diet by eating red and green vegetables (white and orange vegetables are more “starchy” and therefore have more sugar), eggs, meat or fish, rice and rice snacks, nut pastes and nuts and seeds, good oils and fats, coconut products and an alternative milk. Where you go from there will be according to your nature, whether you stick to the diet, what you like and what you learn. Join the library and get recipe books out, it helps.
I have joined a local group called FIG which enables me to get organic vegetables from local farmers and suppliers. It offers me vegetables I might not always choose like Kale and Beetroot (you can eat the green leaves of beetroot – they are like spinach) and last week I had boysenberries for the first time in 15 years! At the moment I’m also exploring Indian food which uses a lot of pea and bean flours and exotic aromatic spices. I don’t especially like hot curry or chili but there is more to Indian cooking than the heat. I’m having fun exploring a local shop at Charmhaven with a huge range of ingredients used in Indian (and African) cooking including frozen vegetables I’ve never heard of. We also have a shop in Toukley (where I get my coconut oil from) with foods from Indonesia.
It’s a shock when Candida becomes resistant to the usual treatment for it, whether that be the caneston cream or fluconazole or their brand equivalents for your country. It is such a common thing to have a bit of thrush after a course of antibiotics that you don’t even bother the doctor with it, you just go to the chemist. Within a few days the irritation is gone and you forget all about it. If it has always worked this way for you, you may even be suspicious about websites offering cures thinking they are a scam – because surely, all people need do is use the cream!
I know I thought that way until I got an infection that couldn’t be quickly cured, and then I was just confused – what do I do now? It was even more confusing when the doctor had no answer.
Those sites that I was initially suspicious of suddenly became important reading matter. But there is so much information and so many different remedies and it’s very confusing.
What to do if your Candida is probably Candidiasis
First – Get blood tests
So the first thing to be done – and which I did eventually – is to get blood work done and check for immune problems. Candida is a normal part of our body and only generally gets out of hand when the body’s natural defences are lowered for some reason.After my blood tests I discovered I was hypo thyroid . But people with other disorders, like diabetes, are also prone to resistant candida. So if you’ve already tried the usual treatments for thrush and failed to cure it – go see the doctor and ask if you need to get blood tests.
Second – Read up on Candida
You’re doing that already or you wouldn’t be reading this, but don’t stop at a simple explanation. On the top menu there is a link called Reference links. This is where I have collected the links to websites I found really useful, especially the health boards ( forums) where patients give support to other patients. I will also add more articles here as I find the time, but on the health boards you’ll find people who have the same type of problems as you which may not be true of me. You may be looking for a cure of oral thrush or candida and another disease – use the links to find the forums and then search there for more information.
Third – Try some suggested treatments and keep notes
You don’t have to write a book (or a website like me!) just, keep a diary and write down what you tried and whether it helped, how long you used it for and other symptoms that occurred.
If you are lucky you’ll cure candida within two months, if not generally you’ll manage to reduce the irritation and keep it manageable until you find your cure for it. Some people say this may take a year or more. The Candida diet is pretty strict but it does help and you may be required to restrict yourself to it for a few months before a cure will hold.
Start by removing all cane sugar from your diet and gradually reduce or refrain from eating the other food types as you can manage. Think of it as being good for you – either way!
20 years go by quickly and things you don’t expect to, change in 20 years!
In my twenties people could go to a GP with thrush and s/he would examine you and give you a diagnosis and a prescription. Male GPs won’t want to examine you these days unless there is a female nurse present. Yet another law of protection that to inconvenience professionals, thanks to a few abusers. But I didn’t know this!
So when I turned up for my appointment and asked to be examined for a candida diagnosis, it was not to be. I had to make another appointment as there was not a nurse on the premises. So I agreed to see the nurse doing pap smear tests and got a referral for this exam and did that as well. Then I waited another 2 weeks for the nurse’s appointment.
I lost near 2 months this way as I made the first appointment with Dr G just before Christmas last year. I couldn’t get to see a doctor until late January, as holidays and catching up had filled the books. After this appointment I visited the pathologist with a swag of papers to get blood tests for blood diseases, diabetes, thyroid, etc etc.Then I had to wait a week or so more for the results of the blood tests. In the middle of Summer it’s really not very comfortable to have thrush.
However. I saw the nurse and told her the problem I was having with what I believed to be a candida infection. Scribbled on the pap smear form from the doctor was a directive to HVS (I think) and she translated that to mean high vaginal swab or smear.
The nurse took the swabs and was really helpful. She asked what I had tried already and went through a range of natural treatments for candida – which would have been very useful – if I hadn’t already tried them.
The only thing she suggested that I hadn’t yet tried was papaw ointment. I bought some from the chemist after we’d talked but it was not good for this usage, being sticky. Maybe for nappy rash as a barrier cream it is suitable but in the folds of the groin area its painful, don’t bother!
What I was using successfully as a maintenance treatment for the candida was Witch Hazel to stop the itching and prickly sensation and calendula cream to soothe and barrier the skin from dampness. It wasn’t curing but it made the symptoms more bearable, as the candida infection is not confined to the internal vaginal area but is also affecting the groin skin, like jock itch.
Diagnosis – Cholesterol?
I said that there was a delay in getting an appointment due to Christmas, but I also live in an area that is extremely stretched in resources due to high population growth of young families and retirement people. Dr G, The doctor I got to see was young and new to the practice (and to the country) and therefore looking for new patients. Perhaps my experience may have been different with a more experienced GP – or maybe not – who knows.
I got a call from Dr G saying my blood test had revealed high cholesterol and I should come and see him asap. As part of another story, I had just researched lipitar and my heart dropped. Sure enough when I got there this young doc was more concerned about me having a heart attack because my cholesterol was high, than anything else and wanted to prescribe a statin. Even though there were other concerns in the blood test results. Nothing major serious other than the cholesterol. But results that I can see in hindsight were the start of my slide into the black hole.
When I asked him about the nurses test results he said it seemed fine. When I asked what else I could do .. as regards the candida infection – Dr G shrugged. Sans diagnosis, sans treatment.
When he mentioned the cholesterol problem again I explained my reluctance to take statins. I said that I’d see what else I could find to use as a treatment regarding candida and would return for more blood tests in 6 months after changing my diet, and getting more exercise and taking a multivitamin. I asked for a referral – to a dermatologist, which he gave me. He suggested it would be wise to get more tests after 3 months, warning me again that high cholesterol was dangerous at my age, and moved on. So did I.
Difficult but not Impossible to Diagnose Candida
Well at least I discovered I don’t have diabetes, as the blood tests ruled that out. However I do have other problems, I just don’t know what they mean yet! I didn’t really feel a dermatologist was what I needed but I didn’t know what other type of referral to ask for.With this referral I have a copy of the blood test results, so I can start to read up and try to figure out what they mean.
I kept reading articles and trying new treatments and in this way six months passed. I grew more and more tired, needing to sleep 2 hours in the afternoon and even waking permanently tired. I could no longer concentrate on my work, and my eyes were so sore and unfocusable I had a permanent squint and the bags under my sunken eyes made me feel like an ancient crone.
I still felt candida was the main problem and kept reading about the candida diet . It was so strict however that I was reluctant to start it without getting a firm diagnosis of candida. Nowhere was there any definitive cure for candida in the forums. Just people like me struggling with guesses about multiple herbal or mineral antifungals and diet changes and expensive candida mixes if they could afford them. People who were asking how long does this take?
There is a blood test, a urine test, and a stool test for candida but if your doctor is reluctant to use a lab, it is because these tests may not give sufficiently definitive results. As the yeast itself is normal to the human body, the overgrowth forms of the yeast are difficult to test for. Either: candida is obvious – as when the white patches are observed. Or only the quantity of yeast in samples is indicative of an infection. This means Candida may be almost invisible, some people have few if any observable symptoms. See Why is Candida so hard to diagnose
I didn’t know this then, I just felt if I could get diagnosed I could start the candida diet and try those self treatment options. So I needed to find a doctor who was open to natural and supplemental treatment and had years of experience to draw from. Many years ago there was a doctor in my area, who suggested I take magnesium for a transient heart arrhythmia which worked like a charm in a few weeks. He had moved his practice and was hard to find but although now semi retired, I was able to make an appointment with Dr R.
Anyone who has had a candida infection before, is unlikely to not know if they get it again. I was in my twenties the first time I experienced what a candida infection felt like. I didn’t know what it was then, just that the vagina had became sore and itchy after a course of antibiotics.
I have not been very sick often. As a child and teenager I got sore throats and earaches but after that I rarely got sick with anything that needed antibiotics.I was infected by the herpes virus in my 20s and I started to get migraines after the birth of my first son.
I read a lot about good food and I ate a good basic diet without being overly strict or faddish about it. I enjoyed walking and swimming and I kept fit. I was also lucky enough to be genetically healthy. The only time I saw the doctor was when my kids got sick.
Still, you can’t forget Candida . It has a peculiar prickly feel about it and makes the skin feel a bit numb, as well as being sore and wet. I didn’t get a scaly rash but the skin became a little red. So when I felt this vaginal candida again, I headed straight to the chemist and bought a tube of Canestan. I started using it and expected the candida infection to go away in a few days.
It didn’t. 🙁
So this was the start of the puzzle for me.
Which came first – the candida or the thyroid?
This candida infection was not caused by taking antibiotics, as I haven’t taken any for years. The only other cause that was likely from the list, was stress – as we have been living with debt for many years and I often worry whether we’ll make payments on time.
This candida infection was not cured by any of the various topical creams or steroid cream, or by the one dose tablet from the chemist. Or by any natural home remedies as creams, oils, astringents or antifungals.
I started to research on the internet and came across several sites advocating the Candida diet and a range of different natural remedies such as antifungals and probiotics. I read that immune diseases like diabetes might make candida resistant to treatment so I went to the doctor to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately yeast is hard to test for and gps aren’t wise to what this doctor knows.
Confused? Is it Candida, Fungi, Yeast or Candidiasis?
Fungi is a biological group of organisms that include yeasts, molds and fungi – meaning that yeast is fungi but not all fungi are yeast. Candida is a group name for this type of yeast. It is normal to find Candida on human skin. Candidiasis (which I really think should be spelled candidaitis*) is (so far as I can tell) a term that means than candida has turned into a disease. Candidiasis is also technically known as candidosis, moniliasis, and oidiomycosis.
Candida albicans is part of the normal flora of the mucous membranes of the respiratory, gastrointestinal (gut or intestinal flora), and female genital tracts. In healthy people it causes neither irritation or disease until it changes form and starts to overgrow.
a yeast or single cell form
a cell wall deficient form
a colony of cells or mycelium
a chlamydospore or cyst like form
Candida yeast can exist in the above four forms : The single cell form is normal. Candida Albicans is the most common disease causing species of yeast in our body.
There are over 150 species of Candida such as Candida tropicalis, Candida glabrata, Candida pseudotropicalis, Candida guillermondii,Candida krusei, Candida lusitaniae, Candida parapsolis, Candida dubliniensis, – that can cause disease, especially if the immune system is weakened.
NB. Blue links on this page lead to wikipedia descriptions. On the Candida page you will see a list on the right of various different species of Candida, many of which have pages of their own.
Candida is not a disease as such. It can get out of hand however as Candidiasis or yeast overgrowth and that can disrupt the body’s normal functioning and lead to disease.
If yeast overgrowth escapes from the intestinal tract, it can invade virtually any organ of the body, including the blood, the lungs, bones, kidney, liver, eyes and brain. Candida bloodstream infections are called candidemia. In very severe infections, systemic candidiasis, people with low immune systems can die from a fatally high fever such as Candida meningitis.
There are treatments for systemic candidiasis. However, yeast overgrowth is difficult to test for as pockets of yeast can hide almost invisibly. Risk of contracting the systemic form of candidiasis is mostly confined to immune compromised infants or the aged, or to patients with AIS conditions such as diabetes, cancer, or HIV, who have weak immune systems.
Thrush and Tinea
Most people who have yeast infections have external or superficial yeast infections in the mouth, in the vagina and on the skin. Oral candidiasis or thrush in the mouth and common in elderly denture wearers, is called oropharyngeal candidiasis and vaginal thrush is called vulvovaginal candidiasis. Nappy Rash may be caused by Candida.
Athletes foot or Tinea is a common fungal infection, as is jock itch in males. People also get fungal infections under their nails called onychomycosis . Vaginal yeast infections in women are common after taking a course of antibiotics but regardless of gender, prolonged antibiotic use increases your risk of a yeast infection.
If people get a yeast overgrowth in their intestinal tract, their symptoms may not be specific enough to diagnose yeast overgrowth. The candida may penetrate the GI mucosa, damaging the gut walls and leading to IBS. More symptoms may include fatigue, achy joints, sleep disturbance, brain fog, bladder and bowel disruption, increase of allergies and sensitivity to foods and chemicals.
In healthy people, yeast infections can be cured with topical or systemic antifungal medications you can buy from the chemist such as the topical creams clotrimazole, nystatin and ketoconazole. A one-time dose of fluconazole (150-mg tablet taken orally) is reported as being 90% effective in treating a vaginal yeast infection.
In most cases of Thrush the yeast overgrowth is treated with a cream and subsides in a few days to a fortnight. A single dose fluconazole tablet is a one day alternative treatment to the cream. Both generally work quickly and effectively. In severe infections amphotericin B, caspofungin, or voriconazole may be prescribed.
When Treatment Doesn’t Work
However sometimes these treatments don’t work. Perhaps this is because the yeast has adapted to the treatment and it no longer works. Or because the form of candida is not susceptible to it, such as Candida glabrata that may be less susceptible to the currently used azole antifungal treatment.
Then we start guessing as it gets more complicated from here.
The hospital doctors are aware of resistant candida, but by the time you’re in hospital with this, your other disease will be more important to them. General practice doctors are resistant to believing candida can be a major problem.
The treatment of candida now becomes a matter of opinion. The best is subjective – trial and error via anecdote such as discussions in forums. And website information from doctors – although some of these may be somewhat biased towards specific remedies.
Suffix denoting diseases characterized by inflammation, often caused by an infection.
(humorous) Used to form the names of various fictitious afflictions or diseases.