This is a much requested "guide" that explains what needs to be done to completely get rid of a Candida/ Yeast/ Fungal issue. Whether you experience problems on your face, scalp, feet or in your digestive tract...the battle plan is pretty similar.
Many have read my posts about clearing my facial yeast with great interest! I have been getting A LOT of feedback, messages on Facebook, Emails and questions also on other social platforms regarding this very topic!
I loved hearing all your success stories and seeing before and after pictures even! I was hoping that anti fungal remedies would help many suffering from skin problems and I was suspecting very many skin problems to be related to yeast, but this really confirmed it :)
I will give a detailed update about my yeast problems and how I have healed up in another post, but I can say that my skin has improved further and the red marks are gone!
I will try to update with close up skin photos so you can see the detail. On regular photos my skin looks very normal though, no redness. I don't think anyone would be able to guess how horrible my skin looked a bit over a year ago (click for larger images).
This post will be more of a brief guide that summarizes the steps that need to be taken to rid yourself of the problem. I may also write in more detail about the solutions suggested here, but it is a lot, so I am thinking pointing you in the right direction is the best way to start.
I am also still experimenting as of right now and will be able to tell you a lot more about certain strategies in a few months from now.
Why is a guide needed?
Treating a fungus topically only does not fix the problem for many as these type of issues are usually caused from the "inside out."
Your Candida problem can be a "symptom" of another issue...and it can cause further problems. So I can only recommend to not stop at the anti fungal creams and dig further.
Completely healthy individuals are not susceptible to Candida...the fact that you are, means something isn't working right and the sooner you find the problem the less damage will be caused.
Candida is not a fully recognized problem by mainstream medicine:
- To mainstream doctors, “candidiasis” refers only to specific, diagnosable, recognizable diseases like thrush (overgrowth in the mouth), yeast infections (in the vagina), or invasive candidiasis (in the bloodstream).
- To many alternative health practitioners, “candidiasis” can also refer to a chronic, subclinical Candida overgrowth in the gut, a problem with a very broad list of symptoms.
Most mainstream-accepted Candida problems occur in patients who are already dealing with health issues. They are strongly associated with underlying immune dysfunction. For example, patients with HIV/AIDS often suffer from thrush. Patients on chemotherapy or other immunosuppressive treatments are also at much higher risk.
There is a lot of evidence suggesting that Candida is actually a serious health problem and that Candida in the gut can spread to other parts of the body.
- In mice, chronic candida infection in the digestive tract showed that the candida spread to other organs as well, including the lungs, livers, and kidneys - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC414501/?page=1
- Recent studies have demonstrated that chronic yeast infections are often concurrent with chronic gastrointestinal infections, and that treatment for intestinal and vaginal Candida overgrowth is more effective than vaginal treatment alone. This suggests that there’s a link between doctor-diagnosed yeast infections and the gut.
- One researcher even used himself as a test subject: after a thorough examination to prove that he didn't have a pre-existing Candida infection, he purposefully infected himself. Two hours later, he started noticing symptoms, and found that the bacteria had spread from his gut to his blood and urine in just a few hours. - http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2869%2991534-7/abstract
What can lead to Candida taking over:
- A weakened immune system
- A weakened immune system
- Use of antibiotics
- Use of prescription medicine that can affect your digestive tract, hormones, glands (thyroid medication f. ex.)
- Use of hormone based contraceptives
- Hormonal imbalances (PMS is considered a hormonal imbalance too)
- Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, Weaning and Postpartum time with hormonal imbalances
- Menopause with hormonal imbalances
- Digestive issues of ALL sorts. If you are only the slightest bit achy, bloated a lot of the time there is a problem.
- Cosmetics can upset your skin's balance which will make it easier for all sorts of infections. A common problem is over cleansing with harsh soaps to give an example. Products containing silicones like Make Up foundation can together with a yeast problem on your skin, really clog up your pores (alternatives in part 2).
- A modern diet, too much sugar, not just cane sugar, but sugar substitutes in almost every product you buy. We also eat a very unbalanced diet with too many "empty" carbs in form of bread, pasta, rice topped with lots of dairy which causes us to eat less meat, veggies and fruits. Use of antibiotics, growth hormones on animals and GMO foods.
Example: You're having a morning coffee with sugar and cream, an egg muffin/ roll/ croissant etc. for breakfast, for lunch something with rice, then a sandwich during the day and Pasta for dinner...At the end of the day, starchy carbohydrates that turn into sugar once digested, made up 60-90% of your daily food intake. This will also cause you to be deficient of nutrients and minerals. Not only because you don't take in enough, but also because you consume a massive amount of foods that inhibit the absorption of certain nutrients.
In order to fix your Candida problem, you may have to work on all these. Improving your health is basically your goal.
Improve your digestion
Your digestion is one of the most important functions of your body to keep good overall health (and looks)!
Not digesting well opens the door for pretty much every health problem imaginable and it will show on the way you look and age.
Signs: Basically...if you don't have any digestive problems, you won't even know you ate or that your body is digesting. You will feel good after eating, you will not be bloated and when it is time to go to the bathroom you will sit down, empty yourself without problems and that's it! ;)
It is very rare for people not to have ANY digestive problems though. A standard diet isn't easy to digest and it can wreck your digestion on the long run.
If you don't digest well you may feel cramping, nausea, brain fog, you may feel unusually heavy or tired, you may get bloated, gassy, your stomach might bulge out a good deal. Any sort of bathroom problems like constipation, having too strain too much, lose stools and diarrhea, abnormally colored or shaped stools, mucus in your stools are not a good sign.
Find out why you have problems first! Please don't treat by assumption only.
Even though a doctor may not be able to solve the mystery for you, do seek one out. There is always a chance they do find something helpful.
Make the doctor for FOR you, not against you. If a doctor is not willing to listen to your suggestions, find a new doctor ASAP. Don't waste time on someone who doesn't take you seriously.
(The best approach is probably to say your problems appeared rather sudden and that you did not have problems before, so they don't send you home with an IBS diagnosis. IBS stands for "intestinal bullshit syndrome" ...
Okay no....it stands for "irritable bowel syndrome", but doctors use it as a diagnosis when they don't know what is wrong with you. IBS is a symptom, not a disease!)
Look for: Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine - a general practician (Allgemeinmediziner) is not necessarily qualified enough. Do find a specialist (or see both).
A very simple test that tells us a lot is a stool sample. I had my stool tested for Candida Albicans....and voila! More Candida than my gut can take.
The stool sample also showed that my Leukocytes (Leukozyten erhoeht) were raised and that I had a malabsorption issue (you don't absorb all of what you eat).
An ultrasound (Deutsch: Ultraschall) is also a quick way to rule out any major issues with your organs. Malfunctioning organs can also cause problems with your digestion and vice versa. In my case there was too much air in my stomach from the bloating to see much below a certain point.
Blood work should be done routinely and might also tell you what you are dealing with or if you are lacking anything. This way I found out my liver enzymes were raised (toxins from indigestion and Candida can do that to your liver) and that I was lacking several nutrients. Especially my ferritin was too low (around 20 when it is better over 70 in this case), which is typical for Candida (Many Candida sufferers actually have problems with animal foods and absorbing iron and B Vitamins)
You may also have to go for a endoscopy (stomach, Deutsch. Magenspiegelung), colonoscopy (Deutsch: Darmspiegelung) or MRI (MRT) of your stomach. CT scans can also be done, but I would see them as a last resort because the radiation of CT scans has shown to cause a cell mutation that can lead to cancer in several studies - http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/261731.php
Be sure to rule out stomach ulcers and helicobacter pylori infection, since the first plan of treatment would be different in that case.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helicobacter_pylori (I will actually get tested for these two because of unexplained stomach pains)
Basically, keep looking until you find something or are problem free. Even if it takes years. If it does take long, don't panic or make your life a medical marathon. Slowly improve your diet and life style while getting tests done when you can. Of course don't wait forever, but there is no need to find out everything in one month either ;).
Don't stress over possible diagnoses. You can have symptoms for 100 diseases out there, but unless something is confirmed, you shouldn't worry.
Is a vital part of your search. Maybe even the most important part of your search.
I know doctors, the medical industry and their "sheep" will tell you shouldn't do this. But their interest lies with your money first and not your health.
Of course doctors aren't "evil", but they are educated by a health system that does not have your best health in mind. They work for a pharma industry that wants to sell you drugs. - http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2009/jan/15/drug-companies-doctorsa-story-of-corruption/.
A scary claim made by Doctor Glidden and I think he has a point, whether you fully agree or not: http://youtu.be/8JF7TcPsmvI
So many doctors will think drugs are the only way and they are working in your best interest. Of course there are also doctors who "have seen the light", and don't support the "drugs for everything" approach, but they are rare and are often specialized in natural medicine.
Self diagnosis with the help of the internet can be done right. I'm sure everybody knows you shouldn't believe the first site you read.
I also take .gov sites and official, government medical sites with a grain of salt.
I would never fully dismiss modern medicine though, it can be very helpful if used the right way. It is good to research a bit of both, natural alternatives and conventional treatment.
I compare what different sites tell me and I research their claims further, double check on studies etc.. Sadly, not even all studies can be trusted and independent studies that can't be related to a pharmaceutical company or another business, are best. I also think about the person that makes these claims. Do they have an agenda? What would they gain out of lying to me? Do they offer free solutions too? Or is it all about money that they want from you? Sometimes you will have to go with what makes sense, which certainly isn't easy. That is why it is good to have some basic knowledge about biology and chemistry so you can connect the pieces and figure out what makes sense according to how nature works. Nature has planned everything well, it is us that interfere with it's plans.
Naturopathic doctors specialized in diet are a good source of information.
Success stories from real people like you and me and are also worth gold. They usually have no agenda. Of course if only a few people say something worked, chances are it might not work...but if a large majority of the world is improving, that is in fact valid evidence.
Anyone who likes to say "anecdotal evidence is not real evidence" does not know how scientific studies are conducted. It is part of many studies done by professionals.
By doing all this research and comparing, you are doing part of what scientists and doctors do.
I would be a complete train wreck if it wasn't for self diagnosis. So don't let anyone tell you it is wrong. You are the only one that is actually inside your body!
☑ Self help:
Once you know what your problem is, you will have to decide how you will want to fix it. Just because your problem is diagnosed, doesn't mean there is a safe treatment available. Or that a doctor recommended treatment is enough.
Example: In the case of Candida, killing it off with drug isn't necessarily enough. You have have to adjust your diet, add supplements or natural topical solutions.
Improve your diet
There are many ways of improving your diet. And which works best for you, you will have to find out. Some people turn to Paleo type diets, others give vegan diets a try. Vegetarian (with grains) or Fruitarian (lots of sugar from fruits) diets are rarely used to combat yeast. I'm sure there is an approach too, but these diets don't eliminate all foods said to be problematic by most professionals. Maybe a Vegetarian or Fruitarian Diet can be altered to combat Candida, but I personally can't share any experiences or advice
I have tested a few diets myself. As you may know I am eating a Paleo diet now. For one because I feel best on it and after starting so many of my health problems improved, but also the success stories of others and the literature available made sense to me. There are many doctors and studies that support this diet. Then there is also the fact that we ate a diet much like it way back in Paleo times, and that cavemen were in pretty good shape and mostly died of natural causes, not disease.
But even if you don't chose to eat Paleo, a conventional diet can be pretty healthy if you aren't sensitive to any of the foods. That is important to remember. Many people go on a Paleo (elimination) diet, because certain foods are problematic to them (Gluten, starches, legumes, sugars). If you aren't all too sick or susceptible to developing allergies, skin problems and the like, chances are you can do well without eliminating all that much.
So should you chose a conventional diet, try to find a good balance.
A good example would be something "along the lines" of how wealthy people of the 1500-1800's ate. Lots of naturally available foods, organic (as in home grown even), fresh meats (antibiotic and growth hormone free, possibly animals on a natural diet like grass fed cattle) from happier animals and usually not all that much sweet stuff.
Nowadays it isn't possible to find any completely natural and pure foods, but doing as much as possible, can already give you that improvement needed. The body detoxes well to a certain degree, but once you are dealing with toxin overload, it simply gets too much for the body.
Be sure to eat nutrient rich. A good way to do this is eating meats and veggies as your primary foods and fruits before you reach for sweets. When choosing bread go for sourdough, whole grain bread (Vollkornsauerteigbrot) or traditional grains like spelt (Dinkel). Reasons for this are that modern grains are actually "altered". They contain far more starch and Gluten than they naturally did. Way too much for the body to handle. Back in the day people also used to soak ferment grains because they knew they were better tolerated by the body this way.
With Candida, you should also watch your overall starch intake. Once your problems are under control, you might be able to consume starches in moderation like potato, sweet potato, rice, breads, pasta. You will have to test that for yourself.
What type of fats you consume also plays a vital role in tackling Candida - http://www.yeastconnection.com/archive/fighting_ask_nov.html. Good sources of fat also include natural fats like butter (lactose free in case you have a strong sensitivity), coconut oil, red palm oil, cold pressed olive oil, ghee.
Improving your diet can improve your digestion overall. If you don't have much success improving your digestion through a traditional diet, it can be helpful eliminating foods such as grains, dairy or starches.
Also see: Gaps diet, SIBO, low FODMAP diet, and the Paleo Diet or even the Autoimmune Paleo Diet. And probably the most popular diet for Candida, the Candida diet, which isn't all too different from the others. For me it included some problematic foods however. It has also been under criticism. For some it seems to help, but others claim it doesn't work. It isn't the worst approach out there, but the question here is if even natural sugars need complete elimination. This article shines some light on the problem: http://empoweredsustenance.com/busted-candida-myths/
I will try to research these claims more and share my findings in the future.
I personally consume a small amount of natural sugars in the form of honey and a few non starchy fruits. Plus I also get carbohydrates from vegetables.
I know some sources say it is best to eat a diet very low in carbohydrates for Candia, but I am really not sure about it. There is also plenty of evidence that suggests just what the article linked above describes.
In 2012 I also did eat a very low carb diet 25-50g (while nursing a baby) and that was actually when I first noticed obvious symptoms of Candida and problems with my facial skin.
Adding a lot of sugar and starches back abruptly however, did worsen things even more. Especially after my body was used to such a low amount of sugars.
Probiotics and digestive aids
There are lots of natural and/or harmless ways to improve things manually. This can be very helpful to get started and I would say at least probiotics are a must, assuming most of us Candida sufferers don't digest perfectly well.
Probiotics will also help restore your beneficial gut bacteria after the use of antibiotics and other problematic medications. You might feel fully restored after a few months of probiotics and can possibly quit taking them. But it also depends on how well your body heals up.
If your digestion is already impaired, they are crucial to avoid further damage while your gut is healing. Chances are your body won't produce enough good bacteria anymore, and therefore won't be able to fight off Candida overgrowth.
Your body may also lack digestive enzymes, which can also successfully be supplemented.
A great natural probiotic food source is Sauerkraut. Prebiotics can be found in Apple Cider Vinegar. Sometimes Yogurt and fermented milk (Kefir) is recommended, but I'm generally careful with dairy products, even if fermented. I can't tolerate them anymore and Candida can make it harder for you to digest Dairy. And that would be counterproductive.
My own experience with probiotics is this: Probiotics greatly improved my digestion, my bloated stomach became flat again, I felt better after eating overall and in the beginning it also improved my Candida Acne ridden face. Adding enzymes perfected everything and after using them for two months, my digestive problems stood away for about another three months and then gradually returned. I was able to convince my doctor of their benefits and he was willing to prescribe them for me. Meaning my insurance may even cover them from now on. I am back on probiotics for as long as needed and will also purchase digestive enzymes again.
My source: Linden's Apothecary (UK), I get my enzymes from there too as well as a Vitamin B complex.
Part 2 will be dealing with topical treatments, cosmetics, hygiene as well as natural anti fungal remedies. I will try to find the time for it as soon as possible.
I hope this was in some way helpful to you and that it may help you see a little bit clearer, maybe you have to skim through less websites on your search for Candida remedies. I tried to summarize as much as possible without writing a whole book ;)