Symptoms of yeast overgrowth
Fatigue and fuzzy thinking may be the two most universal symptoms of yeast gaining the upper hand. Others include headache, depression, muscle aches, joint pains, digestive problems, sugar cravings, being bothered by odors, scents and fragrances, recurrent vaginal yeast infections, PMS, sexual problems, sleep disturbances, and more. While the yeasts themselves may stay in the gut, the toxins travel via the circulating blood, to do their mischief in every system in the body. The circulating toxins cause such a great variety of symptoms that some doctors jump to the conclusion that such patients with vague and widely scattered on-again-off-again symptoms must be hypochondriacs. What a pity.
Because simple sugars feed the yeast, going on a sugar-free diet is first and foremost. Even the simple sugars of fruits may have to be restricted temporarily. Your doctor - think of him/her as your health coach - will tell you how strict you need to be. S/he will also select an antifungal medication or herb for you. At the same time, most physicians will suggest some kind of acidophilus-bifidus supplement (these are teh "good guy" bacteria) to try to recolonize the gut. Further therapy will depend on the other co-existing problems - hormonal imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, etc. - that your doctor identifies.
Even though I firmly believe seriously ill people need to work with a health professional to coach, guide, and encourage them, the task of following the program falls to the patient. I feel that one of the most significant activities a patient can engage in is to read, study, and increase his/her understanding. Time and again, I've seen the well-informed patient progress better than average. Understanding the "why" of the treatment, the "why" of recovery taking so long, the "why" of avoiding sugar, and so on, makes all the difference in a person's compliance with the treatment. Further, recovery is so diet related that the decisions the patient makes 3-5 times daily in selecting his/her food directly influences the rate and course of recovery. If you want to help yourself, do your homework - read and study, devouring information and learning which factors promote, and which ones hinder, recovery.
Candida Yeast Infections
What's the problem with yeast?
People normally have yeasts, as well as billions of bacteria and other microorganisms, in their gut. Most of those people are not made ill from all of those microscopic freeloaders. Yet some folks do develop health problems that appear to be yeast-related. Why? What's going on here?
In a healthy gut the "good guy" bacteria maintain a certain level of balance with the yeasts present - much like a teeter totter so perfectly balanced it stays level. But when we take broad spectrum antibiotics for an infection somewhere in the body, they kill both the "good guy" and the "bad guy" bacteria in teh gut indiscriminately. Steroids, birth control pills, and certain other medications also disrupt the delicate balance of organisms. When this happens the yeast are unopposed. They flourish and thrive, upsetting that delicate balance. They overgrow the area of the gut they occupy. Candida albicans, while not the only yeast involved, often seems to be the main culprit.
But that's only part of the problem. Every living creature, even one-celled yeasts, give off toxic waste products (humans not only urinate and defecate to rid our bodies of wastes, we sweat and exhale carbon dioxide, too). Lacking the restraining influence of bacteria, the population of yeasts explodes, and the amount of toxins they generate increases astronomically. Large amounts of those toxins, as the name implies, are capablefo making people ill, especially if the host immune system happens to be run down, perhaps engaged in fighting an infection. The toxins simply accumulate - overwhelm - and start to cause a variety of symptoms.