U.S. News & World Report (blog)5 Signs You’re Suffering From Candida Overgrowth – and What You Can Do About It U.S. News & World Report (blog)
Odds are pretty high that you’re familiar with the medical condition known as a yeast infection, as statistics suggest that up to 75 percent of all American women contract a vaginal yeast infection (along with the accompanying itching and thick, discolored discharge) at least once in their lives.
But what you may not know is that the official medical term for a yeast infection is candidiasis, and adult women are not the only ones susceptible to the condition.
Candidiasis refers to an overgrowth of the yeast Candida albicans.
At normal levels, Candida is harmless and exists alongside the trillions of other bacteria in the mouth, vagina, rectum and digestive tracts. But if there’s an overgrowth, candida can lead to significant health problems – in men, women and even children.
Sore throats and those pesky yeast infections typically affect adults, while babies are more likely to develop oral thrush.
Leaky gut is a more serious consequence of candidiasis, occurring when Candida causes the intestinal wall to become permeable and allows partially digested proteins and other toxins to be released into the body.
And in severe cases, known as invasive candidiasis, Candida can negatively impact vital parts of the body, including the blood, heart and brain – ultimately leading to hospitalization and, rarely, death.
The good news is that, once you become aware of the early symptoms of Candida overgrowth, you can take the appropriate steps to treat Candida naturally and avoid all of the aforementioned conditions.
The body plays host to a multitude of microorganisms, and a proper balance among them is one of the keys to good health.
While bacteria are by far the most common, the body also supports a very small population of another microorganism, a type of yeast called Candida albicans (popularly known as candida).
Normally present in small amounts along the gastrointestinal tract (in the intestines and the mouth), in the vagina, and on the skin, candida is generally kept in check by the immune system and by the body’s “good” bacteria.
Problems arise, however, when candida grows out of control and excessively populates one or more locations in the body.
The most common form of candida overgrowth is vaginal candidiasis (a yeast infection), which frequently occurs after taking an extended course of antibiotics.
Because antibiotics can kill many kinds of bacteria, often the “good” strains that typically keep candida within bounds can be destroyed along with the “bad.”
Candida, however, is unaffected by antibiotics and, in the absence of its natural bacterial counterbalance, proceeds to reproduce wildly. Intense vaginal itching and other discomforts, along with a white discharge, are characteristic signs of a vaginal yeast infection.