Posted on Oct 23, 2014 in Health & Wellness

Candidiasis, thrush, or yeast infection is a fungal infection (mycosis) from the genus Candida (one genus of yeasts). Candida albicans is the most common agent of candidiasis in humans. Candidiasis infection byCandida albicans is sometimes referred to as CHS.

PictureMany in the medicine community do not accept that CHS exsits. This sometimes forces many doctors to approach the Candida issue in an intolerant way. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that nearly 75% of all adult women have had at least one “yeast infection” in their lifetime. On rare occasions, men may also get genital candidiasis.  Candida occurs more frequently and more severely in people with weakened immune systems.

Candida yeast is a normal inhabitant of the gastrointestinal tract, especially the esophagous and the colon (large intestine). A number of factors regulate its growth-primarily the presence or absence of friendly bacteria in the GI tract. When something upsets the balance of bacteria and yeast in the colon, the yeast may proliferate, leading to a yeast invasion of various tissues. We define this invasion as an infection. When Candida (also called monilia) invades the vagina, it causes a yeast infection which is probably similar to that found in the colon, but much more obvious.

Most women have, at some time, suffered this problem with symptoms such as redness, swelling, burning, itching and a thick discharge. Candida, moreover, can proliferate in tissues besides the vagina and colon. It can, in dire circumstances, invade the surface of practically every organ in the human body, even leading to systemic septicemia, a highly lethal bloodstream infection commonly referred to as “blood poisoning” That would be the catastrophic candidiasis that occurs to desperately ill patients such as those with terminal cancer or AIDS2 in these sever conditions progressive immune suppression allows the opportunistic yeast free reign to proliferate.

The Candida problems which involve CFS and MIS are not lethal to people with a CFS picture. Statistically, however, they may be more important since many people suffer debility from it. Candida infections can also travel throughout the GI tract to the stomach, and up the esophagus into the mouth. Once in the mouth and on the tongue, candida infections are referred to as thrush. Thrush is more commonly seen in infants who have not yet developed sufficient immunity to the Candida pathogen.

In adults, however, thrush may indicate a significant immune deficiency. Until the early 1980’s, the prevailing belief was that Candida affects humans in only two ways. In the severely immunocompromised patient, it is a life threatening condition. Otherwise, it has been regarded as a nuisance, mainly to women suffering vaginal yeast infections or men with “jock itch.” Candida infection is known to be more frequent in diabetics. Many doctors are still not aware that there is a broad continuum of severity associated with candidiasis. At one end of the continuum, for example,Candida albicans can proliferate beyond its benign state to an active state in a very short time.

There are three major categories of the Candida Yeast infection:

  1. Commonly recognized and accepted Candida infections, such as vaginitis, thrush, and variouscandida eczemas (groin, feet, breasts, etc). These Candida infections may relate to CFS and MIS.
  2. Hidden Candida infections of the bowel, vagina, and perhaps one or more additional organ systems. This can also lead to the Candida Hypersensitivity Syndrome. These are the most controversial Candida problems currently disputed by most physicians practicing medicine.
  3. Septicemia and severe disseminated Candidiasis. This form can be lethal. We are not concerned with this form. It does not relate to CFS.

Candida overgrowth occurs primarily in the esophagus, colon, and vagina and perhaps, the small intestine and the stomach. When this Candida produces endotoxins, it creates a variety of problems particularly if the proliferation of the yeast overgrowth increases.  At the very least, experts had agreed that Candida endotoxins can easily cause irritation and damage to mucosal tissue, allowing for deeper penetration of the organism and eventual access to the bloodstream.

  1. The first stage of candida overgrowth, involves the spread of the organism beyond its normal boundaries.
  2. Immune suppression can be considered the second stage, which we will learn is biochemically related to the mixed infection syndrome.
  3. The third stage, for which there is ample evidence, is the potentiation of other pathogens such as viruses, parasites, and bacteria.

Candida albicans normally exists as a relatively harmless yeast component of the intestinal flora, but when conditions are altered to favor proliferation of this organism, it can convert to a potentially troubling invasive form, which behaves quite differently.  In its yeast form, Candida proliferates by noninvasive budding. As a fungus, it grows by sending out rootlike shoots called rhizoids or hyphae; these can penetrate the intestinal mucosa.

What causes candida to spread? There are many factors, but diet, and anything that lowers the body’s immune can inhibit the suppression of Candida growth.

Diet plays an important role because yeasts depend on simple carbohydrates. Yeast grows most rapidly on refined sugar. Refined sugar has been shown to impair some aspects of immune function needed to control yeast overgrowth. For decades I have been saying I consider processed sugar one of the greatest evil EVER in the history of the world.

Additionally, other dietary factors have also been implicated in facilitating the prolifereation of Candida albicans, including: low fiber diets, poor digestive function leading to poor absorption of nutrients (i.e. achlorhydria), and even malnutrition. Certain drugs have also been implicated in the spread of Candida, including: antibiotics, certain steroids, most birth control pills, and even specific tranquilizers.  Stress has also been shown to be a contributing factor.

Finally, we are also recognize there is an essential balance between our immune system and resident pathogens. Many individuals experience a modest increase in intestinal yeast proliferation at some time in their life. When this happens, some measurable impairment of immunity may occur until the immune system is able to bring the proliferative activity of Candida under control.

Source: Public Health Alert by Murray Susser, M.D.