What Has Candida Got To Do With Your Digestive System?

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Also known as thrush, vaginal yeast infections occur in an estimated 75% of all women at some point in their lives. They're probably among the most common infections that I hear most women complain of.

I used to experience them on a monthly basis when I was a teenager and right into my 20's until of course I finally understood the trigger when I addressed my gut bacteria balance.

So, what’s Candida got to do with your digestive system?

Our gut alone holds over 400 billion different strains of bacterial. One of these being the fungus Candida Albicans. Candida is found in nearly everyone and in small amounts promotes good healthy. However if an imbalance occurs in the gut bacteria (microbiome) due to stress, poor diet, medication or increased acidity organisms like candida begin to thrive. When this bacteria starts to take over it can result in vaginal yeast infections or thrush.

Common signs of Candida

Common signs of candida are sticky white discharge from your vagina, itching and soreness during sex and urinating. Other symptoms are bloating, anxiety, constipation/diarrhoea, depression, fatigue, feeling worse in damp or mouldy places, PMS and sensitivities to food, chemicals/ perfumes. It can commonly occur around the time of your period, when you are run down or stressed, taking antibiotics or if you are pregnant. it can also appear as oral thrush, eye fungi, skin rashes or athletes foot and contribute to symptoms such as brain fog.

Candida are like bullies that push their way into the intestinal lining destroying cells and the protective gut lining causing further damage such as leaky gut. This allows molecules of partially digested food to pass through reducing you immune system and causing further complications.

Conventional treatments include antifungal creams or pessaries however they may not always tackle the problem at the root cause and over growth can continue to occur.

Here are a number of ways to address Candida in the gut

1. Increase friendly bacteria - In order to get Candida overgrowth under control, it is critical to promote harmony in the gut by increasing the friendly bacteria. Good bacteria living in the gut can work at keeping Candida overgrowth in check.

2.Increase foods that are naturally rich in probiotics - fermented foods (kefir, kombucha) or fermented vegetables you can easily make at home like saurkraut and kefir are super easy

3.Feeding the gut prebiotic foods - Friendly bacteria feed on certain foods known as prebiotic foods found in fresh vegetables such as asparagus, onions, leeks and garlic

4.Avoid foods that enable Candida to flourish - Avoiding sugar and yeast is key to recovery as Candida like to feed on yeast and sugars.

You may even feel that your cravings increase, that you feel more fatigued and tired as the candida die off. This should last only a couple of days and if it persists I recommend seeking support from a Functional Nutritionist who may be able to support your individual case in more detail.

If you want to learn more, check out episode 2 of the podcast “Cravings and Binge Eating - Whats Digestion Got to Do With It” available now.

Want to learn more about how to improve your gut health, check out our “Digestive Wellness” course available now for a limited time only.

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Elysia Doody is a Functional Nutritionist & Exercise Coach specialising in female health and wellness.

She’s embraced Functional Medicine to address her health concerns, and is now helping as many women as possible in a similar position.

Taking everything she’s learned through education, her own health, and working with clients, she’s keen to share it all through online programmes.