I asked myself the same question and obviously went to Dr. Google first to see what it was.... Basically - candida is a fungus, which is a type of yeast.
As soon as I say I’ve got a yeast infection. Everyone (or most women) will look at me in sympathy, till their head to one side and give me a knowing look and whisper, “thrush” - hmmm. Yes and no, its not that simple.
Candida is produced naturally in the body and small amounts are present in your mouth and in your intestines. It’s job is to help with digestion and nutrient absorption. The problem occurs when the fungus starts to be overproduced. It can then break down the walls of the intestine (leaky gut) and makes its way into your bloodstream. Once it gets into your blood stream it can then get anywhere in your body.
When its at this stage, the candida starts to produce and release toxic byproducts which can lead to a ton on health problems. Which can include thrust and infections in your urinary tract, but not everyone will get thrust if they have candida.
Other health problem from overgrowth of candida.
Fungal infections e.g. athlete foot or toenail fungus.
Feeling tired and worn down, suffering from chronic fatigue.
Digestive issue such as bloating, constipation, diarrhoea.
Difficulty concentrating, poor memory a lack of focus and brain fog.
Irritability, mood swings, anxiety or depression.
Strong sugar and refined carbohydrates cravings.
For me, I was suffering from chronic fatigue, I was tired and worn down. I was getting bloated, having mood swings and feeling anxiety. I also had incredibly strong craving for sugar.
So why does the Candida get out of control?
Generally the good bacteria in your gut keeps the candida in check and stops it from getting out of control. But there are factors that can cause the candida to grow so quickly the good bacteria can no longer mange it and the candida goes out of control. Once that happens there is no stopping it, it gets everywhere.
Common factors that encourage candida growth
Having a high carbohydrate and sugar diet.
Drinking a lot of alcohol (Alcohol is pure sugar).
Eating processed foods.
Having a stressful job, and living a stressful lifestyle.
Taking antibiotics that have killed too many of the good bacteria.
For me, I was told I had had candida for years and that it was linked to my diet. I was having huge amounts of sugar. They were the “healthy sugars” but none the less I was consuming vast quantities. I had left a very stressful job, which added to the problem and on my ski season I was drinking very heavily every night and feeding the candida through alcohol. I was also having a diet very high in sugar and carbohydrates with cake, chocolate and bread being my stable foods for six months. All of this added together just fed the candida so much so it got out of control.
Knowing what the problem is, is half the battle in knowing where to start and how to fix it.
Without knowing it, I was already starting to take the right steps by changing my diet and not eating carbohydrates. But it wasn’t till I was made aware of it, that I took the really big steps and made the changes I need to in order to get the candida under control and take back my healthy into my own hands.
See my next blog post- How can you kill candida?