Your gut health impacts not only your daily bowel movement, but also your immune function, skin, metabolism, and mental health. Candida (or Candida albicans) is a member of the fungal family, also known as a yeast. Our bodies need a certain amount of Candida to stay healthy, but it becomes an issue when there is an overgrowth of this yeast.
We know that there are various microorganisms in our gut that we need to stay healthy, as well as in other areas like our skin, mouth, throat, and even the vagina tract. Candida aids in maintaining a healthy balance of microorganisms, as well as support our immune system and digestive health.
Here are some signs and symptoms one might have when there is an overgrowth of Candida in the gut:
You can have skin issues such as acne or eczema.
Your bowel movements might be off, meaning you can have constipation or diarrhea.
Mood changes might occur due to the imbalance in your gut microbiome. This means you might have symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue, anxiety, or depression.
You may be unable to lose weight.
There can be a recurrence of fungal infections in your skin or nails, or even in the vagina tract (yeast infections).
So what causes Candida Overgrowth? Candida feeds off of sugars, so when you consume a diet high in sugar and processed carbs/foods, you can have an overgrowth of it. This is similar to a high alcohol intake. This is why I encourage you all to eat a whole-foods based diet, limit processed foods, added sugars, and reduce alcohol intake.
Taking oral contraceptives is something you may not think about when it comes to Candida. Because hormonal birth control is giving you exogenous hormones, it can cause an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone. These imbalances in your hormones can help the yeast grow. When Candida is high in the body, it likes to attach itself to estrogen, lowering estrogen levels and increasing progesterone levels.
Taking antibiotics and having an imbalanced gut microbiome can definitely cause yeast overgrowth and overall GI symptoms. Antibiotics wipe out both the good and bad bacteria which can therefore cause a lot of GI dysfunction. We need a healthy gut microbiome for not only our digestion, but our skin, metabolism, and mental health.
Lastly, stress is a perfect place for Candida to grow. Candida loves to feed off of that stress, so let’s make sure we continue to manage our stress as much as we can. This means taking time for ourselves, sleeping enough, and doing things that make us happy.
If you think you have Candida, it might be a good idea to do some Functional Lab Testing such as a comprehensive stool analysis panel. This is what I like to order for my clients who might be struggling with similar symptoms. It is always important to get to the root cause of your gut issues because our gut microbiome influences so many other functions in our body.