Yeast infections, oral thrush and even athlete’s foot are all caused by the notorious fungus known as Candida. From your mouth to your skin to your feet, there’s no spot this stuff can’t reach – here are the 5 signs you’re suffering from an overgrowth of this ubiquitous microbe.
Candida is naturally found in our mouth and intestines, and on the skin – and this is perfectly normal! It’s when the balance falls out of our favour that things start to get a little pear-shaped. Poor immunity, humid conditions, chronic stress, gut health-destroying antibiotics, alcohol and poor diet are just a few of the ways we might open the door to candida overgrowth – this is referred to as candidiasis, and it happens to be the most common fungal infection among humans.
Sugar is a particularly insidious promoter of this fungus and this is because when our bodies are overwhelmed with the sweet stuff – and with most of us consuming around 15 teaspoons of added sugar each day, we're at a scarily elevated risk – our immune system’s function then becomes suppressed, leaving us vulnerable to Candida overgrowth.
Around 90% of infections are caused by the same five species in the Candia family – take a look at the perpetrators:
- Candida albicans
- Candida glabrata
- Candida tropicalis
- Candida parapsilosis
- Candida krusei
These culprits are responsible for a host of conditions you’ve probably experienced at some point in your life – take a look at the most common conditions this fungus species can saddle you with:
- Athlete’s food
- Toenail fungus
- Fungal eye infections
- Fungal mouth, throat and oesophageal infections
- Oral thrush
- Genital yeast infections
There are a few signs that indicate you could be suffering from Candida overgrowth – let’s take a look at the biggest hints you might have a fungal problem.
Frequent sinus issues and infections
Have you been struggling with the sniffles for way longer than your average cold duration? Chronic sinus infections could be caused by Candida overgrowth, and can include the following symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Impaired smell
When your sinus issues slip into chronic territory, chances are, it’s fungal. A study found that 96% of participants with chronic sinus issues had fungal infections – and considering Candida is the most common cause of these infections, it’s a small leap to consider this repeat offender could be to blame. So, if your sinus issues have been going on for a month, ask your doctor about Candida.
The elderly, children and immunocompromised people are the most likely to come upon oral thrush. This is the kind of thrush that occupies the mouth and throat, identifiable by white patches on the tongue, cheeks and gums. This uncomfortable, and sometimes painful, condition can be a sign of Candida overgrowth. If this is sounding familiar, it may be worth getting it checked out.
Feeling a little weak and tired lately? If getting up in the morning is that much harder, and staying awake in the afternoon is a chore, this could be one of the more subtle signs of Candida overgrowth. The reason for this is the malnourishment that frequently accompanies Candidiasis, which in turn leaves you fatigued – especially if the fungus has left you with a deficiency in magnesium. We need this stuff for our hormone regulation and energy levels, so when you’re overrun by Candida, your first urge might be to jump under the covers. But before you do, take a trip down to your doctor!
Recurring genital yeast infections
While most women have Candida living harmoniously in their vaginal tracts, a few poor lifestyle choices, illnesses and even some medical treatments like antibiotics can throw things out of whack. This is where we get Candida overgrowth – and yeast infections are one of the big signs you’ve got it. Around 75% of women will have a genital yeast infection in their life, so this is one of the more common signs you’ll see on this list. But it’s not just women – men are also at risk of yeast infections of the genitals, known as Candida balanitis. The result is a rash on the head of the penis which can include itching, redness and swelling. That’s not the only issues this fungus can cause, it’s also one of the microbes to blame for a variety of urinary tract infections, which include the following symptoms:
- Burning when urinating
- Frequent need to urinate
- Cloudy urine
- Dark urine
- Pressure in your lower abdomen
If you’re experiencing these on repeat, this is a big sign Candida has taken hold.
Digestive and gut problems
If constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, trapped wind and cramping have taken over your life, there’s a good chance something’s amiss with your gut microbiome. An overgrowth of Candida is one such situation that can throw your balance into chaos, and those good bacteria that usually fight infection and inflammation become weakened. But that’s not the only issue – an overgrowth of Candida has also been linked to the development of diseases like Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and this is because of their relationship with the gastrointestinal tract. If you eat a high-sugar diet or have recently come off a series of antibiotics, this could be the reason for the Candida overgrowth and the depletion of the good bacteria. Not to worry – a few simple dietary changes can get your gut back on track. Opt for whole foods like fruits, veggies, seeds, nuts, legumes and whole grains, along with healthy fats like avocados, eggs and yoghurt, plus fermented foods for the much-needed good bacteria they provide.
Keen for more health and nutrition tips? We’re here to help. Join us for the 8-Week Program where we’ll be quitting sugar and turning our health dreams into a reality. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
- 90+ member-only recipes.
- Community forums to share your journey.
- Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
- Exclusive content from our panel of experts.
So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to JOIN NOW!