Candida, otherwise known as yeast, is a small amount of fungus that resides in the mouth and intestines. Its normal function is to help the body with digestion and to properly absorb nutrients. Candida overgrowth is a very common issue, particularly among those with autoimmune disorders.
As we mentioned, candida is a naturally occurring fungus in the body. It becomes a problem when it begins to overproduce. The overgrowth of candida weakens the walls of your intestine and sends poisonous byproducts into the bloodstream. This can cause many problems within the body, including a leaky gut, depression, digestive issues, and various fungal infections.
Candida Overgrowth and Yeast Infections Can Affect Men and Women
Candida is typically believed to be a condition primarily associated with women but candida overgrowth in men is also an issue; and symptoms can be equally as difficult to manage. People are generally more aware today that yeast is a condition that needs to be taken seriously, as it can have a serious effect on the lives of both men and women.
Candida Overgrowth in Men: What to Look Out For
Although yeast infections are common in both males and females, the condition attacks each gender differently.
- Men may not even know they have candida until problems start happening in other parts of their body or until their partner gets it. In fact, if you are a male and your partner shows signs of a yeast infection, it is likely you are infected as well.
- It can be difficult to detect yeast in males because the candida can stay dormant for quite some time. If a male has intercourse with a female partner, the yeast isn’t activated until it penetrates the vagina. Once inside, this is when the candida takes effect and infects the female partner, giving her a yeast infection.
- Candida in males also affects the intestines. The amount of yeast in your digestive system is normally in balance, but once that balance is thrown off, the yeast overgrowth begins to spread and impact other parts of the body.
- The imbalance of candida in your body can be caused by a number of factors. For males both young and old, some of the biggest causes include too much alcohol; beer specifically is a threat, as it contains a high concentration of yeast in its makeup.
- Antibiotics are also one of the causes of candida. I’ve mentioned the importance of keeping the candida balanced in your body. Antibiotics can kill the good candida and throw off the balance.
- A diet high in carbohydrates or refined sugar is another way people experience candida overgrowth.
Common Candida Overgrowth Symptoms in Men
- Bloating or indigestion
- Rash or blisters on the penis
- Uncommon discharge
- Foggy brain or difficulty focusing
- Feeling overly tired
- Anxiety, mood swings, or depression
- Fungal infections in the skin or nail
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Urinary tract infection
- Bad breath
Candida Overgrowth Symptoms in Women
Yeast infections are the most common type of candida for women, but candida can also occur in the mouth or throughout the bloodstream.
Causes for female yeast overgrowth are largely the same as they are for men. Getting infected from a sexual encounter is a primary cause. Drinking too much alcohol and eating foods that are high in refined carbohydrates and sugars is another way females are infected with candida.
Females who take oral contraceptives (birth control) are more prone to getting yeast infections. It has a similar effect to antibiotics as it destroys some of the good yeast naturally occurring in the body. Females on birth control must be more aware of their diet (i.e. limiting carbohydrates and avoiding refined sugar).
- With females, it is much clearer when they are infected with the candida. The symptoms are usually immediate and obvious. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Intense vaginal itching
- White discharge that resembles cottage cheese
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Vaginal infections
- Rectal itching
- Mood swings
- Foggy brain
- Strong craving for sugar or sweets
- Seasonal allergies that are worse than normal
- Itchiness around the ears
Testing and Treating Candida Overgrowth
Testing for candida can be done through:
- Regular blood tests
- Urine tests
- Stool testing
Treating candida overgrowth involves three steps:
1. Modify your diet: You may have to modify your diet in order to get rid of the candida overgrowth. Eliminate refined sugar and carbohydrates, beer, sweets, and flour as all of these promote yeast. Some kind of antifungal medication should also be taken for quicker results. Several over-the-counter medications are available to treat candida, but you need to speak to a doctor first before self-treating.
2. Take probiotics: The second step is to start rebuilding the positive yeast in your body. The most effective way is through taking probiotics.
3. Heal your gut: The final measure involves healing your gut. Introduce foods that are helpful to your gastrointestinal tract and then eliminate foods that inflame your system.
Recognizing the symptoms of candida and then getting tested will give you a head start on your treatment. Candida can’t be left untreated. It can spread and begin to have a negative impact on your health. Treatment is usually simple, but some treatments need to be more aggressive than others. Speak to your doctor and then find ways to treat your condition safely.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Myers, A., “10 Signs You Have Candida Overgrowth & What To Do About It,” mindbodygreen.com, April 4, 2013; http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-8376/10-signs-you-have-candida-overgrowth-what-to-do-about-it.html.
“Candidiasis (Yeast Infection),” WebMD web site; http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/candidiasis-yeast-infection?page=2, last accessed December 22, 2015.