Friday, 29 January 2016

What Is Candida and How Did I Get It?

Hi all as promised here is some info on Candida which I have been suffering with for quite a while but since finding out I have been doing all I can to get rid of it, be warned this is a wordy post. 

First of all "What is candida?" I hear you say well.......

Candida is a yeast that lives in all of us but when it becomes an overgrowth it can cause all number of problems in the body like fatigue, weight gain, joint pain and gas...not pleasant. 

The main causes of candida overgrowths are:

Diet: Yep candida is a yeast so it loves sugar and anything that converts to sugar to feed on, as we all know these days our diets are usually overloaded with way to much sugar from chocolate to refined grains and alcohol to name a few. Problem is once you get an overgrowth of candida it starts to make you crave more and more sugar and if you are unaware you have it you won't realise your just feeding it and making it grow stronger which will also make it spread to more of your body's organs. Not Good. Its not just sugary food either anything that contains yeast and fungus will feed it too and these are also things you will crave. 

Antibiotics: This being the most common reason for getting an overgrowth, antibiotics while killing the bad bacteria they are being taken for they will also kill the good bacteria that lives in your gut causing all sorts of havoc for your insides. By killing the good bacteria in your gut it can leave your body defenceless against candida which is fast growing and dominates the small intestines. 

Stress: Hmmm well I think we can all relate to this...when we are stressed our body releases higher levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) which in turn makes us feel fatigued and can lead to eating sugary foods to get a quick fix. This then weakens the immune system which can lead to a candida overgrowth, JOY!

The Pill: Yep unfortunately taking the pill can cause candida, because the pill can cause hormone imbalances in your body it can also mess up the stomachs microorganisms and yeasts it uses to digest foods....hello candida!

Diabetes: High blood sugar levels can feed the already present candida in the body which can lead to an overgrowth, it is more common in diabetic women. 

So now you know what it is and how you can get it let me tell you how I got it......

April 2014 I was suffering with quite bad acne on my face and could not take it anymore so I gave in and went to the doctors to see what could be done. Five minutes in and I was being told my only option was to take a course of antibiotics, I asked if there was not a cream or something else as I did not want to take antibiotics and doctor said yes but they wouldn't work as well, he also said his daughter had the same acne as me and she had taken these tablets and it had cleared up never to come back again.....hmmmmm I was being convinced. I asked if they would play about with my stomach and he said no, it just kills off the bacteria on my face and shouldn't cause any other problems....ok so I thought I'd give it a go......

At first the antibiotics did a good job and my skin seemed to be clearing up so I was happy enough although I was still getting outbreaks. I took the antibiotics for 3 months and when I went back was told I needed another 3 months...so I carried on taking them, after 4/5 months my skin was getting worse again, I went back when the second 3 months was nearly up and was told best to take them for another 3 months because they hadn't worked yet.......I was not happy with this but put my trust in the doctor and hoped they would start working again......

8 months and my skin was worse then when I had gone the first time, I stopped taking the tablets January 2015 and my god its been down hill since then! My skin has been the worst it has ever been, I have spots on my face, chest and back and have had for the past year which is pretty bloody horrid. I went back to the doctors to show them what had happened since stopping the antibiotics and they offered me more but a different kind....NO THANK YOU!

Being at my wits end I went to see a Kinesiologist I know just before Christmas last year and she told me I had a candida overgrowth pretty much over all my organs which has been causing me to feel fatigued, disinterested, giving me stomach issues, giving me crazy sugar and yeast cravings, which unbeknown to me I had been feeding and it was causing my bad skin....happy christmas to me! 

This was definitely not the best news especially before Christmas so I was advised to do the best I could over the festive period and then from January first really knuckle down and do the candida fighting diet. 

I actually did pretty well over Christmas and New Year and have stuck to the diet since. Its very restrictive I suppose but manageable if like me you are used to making your own food and looking for alternatives. For the diet you have to keep Sugar, Yeast, Lactose and Gluten off the menu as well as sweeteners and other additives. You basically need to make everything from scratch and if your not making it you need to be reading every label to check the ingredients. I actually had candida a few years ago now so I am well aware of the diet and how to do it so it was not too much of a hardship. The worst thing has been not eating anything sweet but the cravings have slowly disappeared and now I am fine with the no sugar thing. I have a follow up appointment next week to see where I am and how my body is responding, fingers crossed its all good news I am definitely feeling 10 times better then I was although my skin is not improving as much as I would like....when it does I'll have some comparison pics for you thats if I can get over how bad the spotty ones are! 

If you've managed to get to this point in the post without going to sleep well down you, I shall leave it there though as I don't want to bore you! 

Stay tuned for some more posts on candida friendly meals and snacks that have helped me through the past few weeks and how I plan to continue on with my sugar free lifestyle even if the candida has gone : )

Question:

Have you ever suffered with Candida?

8 comments:

  1. This was really interesting, I didn't know anything about candida before (I just thought it was another name for thrush). It's making me wonder about myself, as I have a lot of the symptoms. Thanks for sharing, and I hope you keep getting better.

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    1. Hi Sarah, thanks for taking the time to read my post : )

      Yep thrush is yeast infection but there are all sorts of other symptoms that could mean you have candida I did not have thrush...definitely get it checked out if you think you might have it but remember not all doctors acknowledge candida so it can be tricky finding out x

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  2. Sorry this happened to you, I just think that's terrible advice from the doctor to take the antibiotic for so long, it just makes me sad that they just dole out pills for symptoms rather than looking for any root cause. Candida overgrowth is fairly rife, though not recognised by the medical profession, but I see a lot of cases in clinic, and the diet I think has to be one of the hardest ones out there in terms of compliance- it's very very difficult, plus the yeast can adapt very quickly and use other sources as fuel, so it's really hard to get rid of, a full gut cleaning 4 R program is the way to go, but it can be a lengthy process and frustrating. Hope you are on the way back to health!

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    1. Thanks Lauren for your comment, I get so frustrated with the same things pills are easily given without taking more time to investigate why these things are happening...and yes doctors usually dismiss candida and have no interest in helping you with it! I have never heard of the 4 R programme but will look into it, the diet yep it's hard but I seem to be doing ok with it x

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  3. Hi Tam I totally get where you are coming from and agree, I have suffered with Candida and its miserable, but then so is the diet regime. I ended up looking like a stick insect and my running suffered, maybe I ended up with too many restrictions, but by the time I had worked out what I could eat and what I actually liked, there was hardly anything left except a rather neurotic me!!!
    I will read and watch with interest and hope to pick up some tips xxxGood Luck with this one though xxxx

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    1. Thanks Lynn, yes the last time I had it I was also stick thin as had so many restrictions this time I have lost weight but only a couple of pounds which was welcomed! I have found it much easier this time and will share some meal ideas and snacks x

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  4. oh have a look at lactoferrin, I have heard some really good things about this
    Lynn x

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    1. Thanks for the tip I will do just that! X

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