Candida is a yeast-like fungus that is a commensal, which means it is normal to have it in the body and when we are healthy it does not cause any problems. It is normally present on the skin and in mucous membranes such as the vagina, mouth, or rectum and is also a normal inhabitant of the human gut. However, when our microbiota (the bacteria that live within us) become dysbiotic, candida can transform to become a pathogenic (injurious) invasive fungus and give rise to Candidiasis which is caused by over growth of Candida, predominantly Candida albicans.
The fungus grows best in warm, dark conditions and in the presence of sugar. Under these circumstances Candida albicans changes from small dormant spores to a branching structure called a mycelium with the ability to invade and irritate tissues.
- Bloating and flatulence
- Rectal itching
- Constant fatigue
- Depression and mood swings
- Poor memory
- Muscle or joint pains
- Headaches and migraine
- Oral or vaginal thrush
- Sore mouth and white coated tongue
- Cracking at corners of mouth
- Fungal nail infections and athletes foot
- Red sore rash on the skin in areas that perspire
- General unwell feeling
- Cravings for sweet things
- Intolerance of alcohol
- Sensitivity to foods containing yeast and mould
- Sensitivity to damp weather
Factors which encourage Candida overgrowth include antibiotics, oral contraceptives, steroid drugs, more than one pregnancy, smoking , sugar consumption. Other deficiencies - lack of zinc, vitamin B and vitamin A have all been documented as reducing resistance to infection and leading to yeast overgrowth.
Long illness and periods of stress - the immune system may not function properly during these times and susceptibility to infections like candidiasis increases.
There is such a vide range of conditions associated with Candida overgrowth that accurate diagnosis of Candidiasis cannot be made on the basis of symptoms alone. The only way to diagnose a Candida overgrowth is to carry out specific test aimed at detecting the presence of the organism.
CNS uses conventional ELISA based technology to detect the presence of IgG, IgA and IgM antibodies to Candida albicans within the blood, to establish whether an individual has a recent, past or ongoing candida infection.
The levels of these specific antibodies within each sample are then compared with normal reference ranges and a subsequent report is produced to detail the findings.
A qualified healthcare practitioner should be consulted for interpretation of many levels above of normal range. Your healthcare practitioner may provide dietary advice including anti-fungal therapy, and where possible they may advise the avoidance of antibiotics and steroid drugs.
A finger pin-prick blood sample is required. Results are available within 10 working days. People with a overgrowth of Candida have increased gut permeability and are often predisposed to food intolerance.