Yeast Infections: Frequently Asked Questions with Answers
August 6, 2014 | Published by Dr. Eric Bakker
What Are Yeast Infections?
Candida albicans, a yeast-like fungus, naturally lives inside most people. Since it’s not a foreign object or invader this fungus is not inherently bad; problems arise when too much of this fungus is created. Molds and yeasts spread and reproduce by releasing millions of microscopic spores into the air, where they eventually settle on a favorable surface. Yeasts and molds prefer warm, dark and moist environments, which means there are many places in your body conducive for mold and yeast growth.
Who Gets Yeast Infections?
Anyone from birth to old age and from any race or culture can develop and suffer from a yeast infection. People vary greatly in their ability to develop and maintain a yeast infection in their bodies. A high stress lifestyle, a life crisis or a continuing difficult situation can cause a yeast infection in even the healthiest person because these factors will lower a person’s resistance and increase their susceptibility.
However, there are certain factors that increase susceptibility to yeast infections. These include a diet high in take-out foods; alcohol consumption; too little sleep and rest; taking an antibiotic or the oral contraceptive pill; a diet high in refined sugars and simple carbohydrates like pasta and bread; and a mother with a yeast infection during gestation and birth. Unfortunately many of these factors are common in modern life.
What Causes Yeast Infections?
The adrenal glands mobilize the body’s response to every kind of physical, emotional and psychological stress through hormones that regulate energy production and storage, heart rate, muscle tone, immune function and other processes that deal with stress. Adrenal fatigue is produced when the output of regulatory adrenal hormones is diminished through over-stimulation of the adrenals by severe, chronic or repeated stress, or because of adrenals weakened by poor nutrition, congenital factors or other causes. In adrenal fatigue the adrenal glands function, but not well enough to adequately meet the demands of stress. The causes of adrenal fatigue usually stem from one of four common sources that overwhelm the glands:
1) Disease states such as severe or recurrent pneumonia, bronchitis or flu, cancer, AIDS, auto-immune and other illnesses.
2) Physical stress such as surgery, poor nutrition, addiction, injury, and exhaustion.
3) Emotional/psychological stress from relationships, work or other unavoidable life situations.
4) Continual and/or severe environmental stress from toxic chemicals and pollutants in the air, water, clothing or food.
What are the Common Symptoms of a Yeast Infection?
A candida yeast infection overgrowth can potentially cause many symptoms. The most common in my experience are:
- Fatigue, tiredness and general weakness or malaise
- Bloating and flatulence (gas)
- Food allergies and sensitivities
- Itching skin near areas such as the scalp, ear, groin, armpit or vagina
- Strong cravings for carbs and/or sweet foods like candy, ice cream, chocolate
- Vaginitis (vaginal thrush) accompanied often by a vaginal discharge
- Anxiety and depression
- Impaired memory, poor concentration
- A foggy brain, feeling spaced out
What are the Less Common Symptoms of a Yeast Infection?
Additionally, numerous other less common symptoms may be exhibited. Of these, those I see most frequently in the clinic include:
- Cystitis/urethritis (urinary tract infection–painful, burning or “stinging” sensations when trying to urinate)
- Menstrual irregularities
- Loss of libido
- Stiff, creaking and painful joints, muscle pain
- Indigestion or heartburn
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Inhalant allergies and multiple chemical sensitivities
- Mucus or catarrh, hay fever, sinusitis or a persistent cough
- Heart arrhythmia, fast heartbeat
- Discolored nails, acne and other skin eruptions, especially when itching
- Earaches, headaches, and dizziness
Can People Recover From a Yeast Infection?
Although a yeast infection may only last a short while, especially if it was caused by one transient stressful event such as one round of antibiotic, it can debilitating and last for many years–even a lifetime–without proper treatment. However, with proper treatment, most people can fully recover from a yeast infection.
Can a Yeast Infection Become Chronic?
Yes, in some people the digestive and immune systems do not return to normal levels of function without help, either because their diet and lifestyle remained poor, their stress levels were too great or too prolonged, or because their general health is poor. However, when a yeast infection becomes chronic, it is almost always because of the ignorance of factors that can be changed through the correct modification in lifestyle and diet.
I want to prevent a Yeast Infection from returning. How do I stay healthy?
The guidelines for keeping healthy and preventing the recurrence of a yeast infection are very similar to the overall principles of good health. A moderate lifestyle with good quality food, regular exercise and adequate rest, combined with a healthy mental attitude to the stresses of life goes a long way towards keeping your body strong and resilient. However, because modern life can be so stressful and diets can be so compromised, certain nutritional supplements specially designed to counter a yeast infection and help restore the digestive microbial balance and maintain a healthy digestive system.
For more on yeast infection prevention and support, visit my website www.yeastinfection.org
About the Author: Eric Bakker B.H.Sc. (Comp.Med), N.D, R.Hom. is a highly experienced naturopathic physician who has been in clinical practice for 25 years. Eric is passionate about improving people’s lives through proven wellness and lifestyle principles, natural medicine practice as well as public and professional practitioner education. Eric specialises in candida yeast infections, as well as adrenal fatigue, and thyroid disorders. Dr. Bakker has written one of the most comprehensive books on yeast infections called Candida Crusher. Website: candidacrusher.com You can complete his online survey to determine if you have a yeast infection here, or link through to his many YouTube videos: www.yeastinfection.org Dr. Bakker’s Blog: www.ericbakker.com
Categorised in: Digestive Health