The importance of Good Bacteria
Alright, I'm about to educate you on what Candida is...because of the fact that it's not easily recognized in the medical world as a possible culprit when not kept under control, to digestive problems, skin problems, and much more. I believe there are plenty of people out there who are suffering from candidasis (candida infection), me being one. So, I'll explain what it is and what it can turn into if it goes unchecked for so many years. I do believe that this has been the root of mine and my children's skin and digestive problems.
"Candida albicans is a common yeast that lives in the mouth, the digestive system, the genital tract, and the skin. It is usually a rather lazy, noninvasive sugar-loving organism -- just one of the many tiny creatures that normally live within the human body without causing too many problems. This is because a healthy body has the means to keep candida under tight control. As long as the human body has sufficient numbers of "friendly," or probiotic, bacteria -- Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum -- candida remains a benign yeast that neither helps nor harms. The lactobacilli and bifidobacteria limit the growth of yeast colonies and stop them from invading new territories.
Probiotic bacteria also prevent candida from developing into a more aggressive, invasive form. If it does, candida produces rhizoids, long rootlike structures that permit more movement and can penetrate mucous membranes. If the friendly bacteria are weak and low in numbers, candida can escape its usual boundaries and establish new colonies throughout the body.
Candidiasis--the medical term for candida infection--can cause a variety of problems, depending on whether the infection is localized in one particular area or systemic, affecting the entire body. A candida infection in the mouth is called thrush, and appears as soft, creamy white patches on the tongue an/or insides of the cheeks. Thrush is not uncommon in babies and young children. When it occurs in adults, it is usually considered a sign of poorly fiunctioning immune system (more common among elderly). Candida can also affect the skin, causing inflammation and redness and, often, itching. This type of candidiasis most often occures in areas where skin rubs against skin--the underarms, groin, and in women, beneath the breasts. Candida infection of the female genital tract, known as vuvovaginitis (or, more commmonly , a yeast infection) causes a sticky white or yellow discharge and, especially, itching and burning.
Symptoms of systemic candidiasis can include allergic reactions; persistent heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, colitis, rectal itching, bloating, abdominal pain and cramps, and or gas; kidney and bladder infections; muscle and joint pain and or swelling; sore throat; nasal congestion; cough; numbness and or tingling in the extremities; skin lesions; and fungal infections of the nails. Persistent fatigue, unexplained weakness, hyperactivity, problems with blood-sugar regulation, dufficulty concentrating, trouble remembering, and depression have also been attributed to candidiasis. A woman with systemic candidiasis may suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menstrual irregularities, and harmonal imbalances, as well as vaginitis.
There are theree main factors that predispose a person to an overgrowth of candida. The first is imparied immune function. This problem can be transitory--the result of cancer chemotherapy or immunosuppressive drugs (including steroids), for example--or long-term, as in the case of certain cancers and HIV disease. Second, anything that destroys the friendly bacteria that normally keep candida in check increases the likelihood of an overgrowth of the fungus. Antibiotic therapy is a primary culprit here, but stress and even the natural aging proceses contribute to a decline in friendly bacteria as well. Third, the presence of an abundance of sugar for the yeast to feed on encourages them to grow. This is why people with diabetest are more prone to these infections than most. People whose diets include large quantities of sugar and yeast-based foods allso have an increased susceptibility.
Most of the symptoms of candidiasis, whether localized or systemic, can be caused by other conditions. Also, these organisms normally inhabit the human body, so their presence alone is not sufficient to make a diagnosis of candida infection. For these reasons, candidiasis can be very difficult to diagnose. If you have been treated for one or more of the symptoms described above, with only limited success, you may actually be suffering from candidiasis."
I love this book because it gives multiple options for how to tackle whatever it is you may be fighting. It gives plenty of information for the following: conventional treatment, dietary guidelines, nutritional supplements, herbal treatment, homeopathy, bach flower remedies, acupressure, aromatherapy, general recommendations and prevention.
Since Ginnie was about eight months old, I remember starting to have major stomach problems. My parents in law may remember when we came down for Thanksgiving, and me lying on the floor in so much pain. Honestly for months I thought I was pregnant because I had the same sort of symptoms, a little worse in some respects.
At this point, after two-and-a-half years of when it all began, this is what I feel each day as I try to take care of three small children;
-constant pressure headache (felt in eyes, ears, and neck)
-extreme tightness and aching of back and shoulders.
-overall feeling of sickness and weakness (flu-like particularly after bowel movements)
-ringing in ears
-circulation cut off easily in extremities. Sometimes I'll be standing when I'm overly exhausted, and I'll look down at purple feet and legs.
-constant burning and hurting in my gut-indigestion, overproduction of acid.
-intestinal shooting pains, cramping, gas
-depression, irritability, anxiety, panic attacks
-hot and cold chills
-trouble falling asleep, and sleeping deeply
-shaky, feeling out of wack-off balance
-like I'm going crazy
-extremely tired and almost always hurting
-dry, scaly skin, rashes that appear anywhere anytime from who knows what
-forgetfulness, cloudy mind, brain not functioning properly
-joint and muscle aches consistently
-diarrhea, constipation off and on with no apparent reason as to why
-burping and hiccuping constantly...(singularly, randomly)
-nausea (with certain foods)
-tingling teeth, and dizziness, seeing things move that aren't moving-like little bugs out of the corner of my eye
Not sure that that's all...but I've sort of had a feeling for a long time that something has invaded my body, starting with the digestive tract. Mine started as a result of particularly stressful time-then to compound the problem, I began stress eating-loads of sugary foods and chocolate. I've been on a downward destructive cycle for a long time-and at my lowest just weeks before I gave birth to Angela, I fought thoughts of suicide several times at my points of sheer exhaustion. It got better after I had her...but I continue to struggle with depression and just getting through the day, hoping my kids aren't too damaged in the long run.
I don't have energy enough to clean my house because the stress of juggling three little ones constantly gets me at an all time low. I have not much left to give by the end of the day.
So, this is what I'm doing about it. My diet has changed quite a bit knowing exactly what feeds the yeast, and what will drown and help defeat it.
Out with sugar and yeast, obviously.
Drinking more water to help flush toxins from my body
Oil is great, as yeasts do not feed well on fats so I'll be taking flaxseed oil which also helps regulate harmone production (pretty sure I'm needing that one).
Avoiding high mold content foods(cheese, dried fruit, peanuts and melons)
No more refined or processed foods except on occasion
Avoiding foods that trigger sensitivities or allergies(some of mine are citrusy foods like oranges and tomatoes, as well as some grains - oats, corn, wheat).
Vitamin E is a great anti-inflammatory and defuses free radicals.
B vitamins, required for the metabolism of what sugar I do eat (fruits and such).
Acidophilus and bifidus (friendly bacteria-may the good guys win!)
Calcium and magnesium soothe stressed nerves (I dare you to ask my husband if he thinks I need this)
Rice and black, kidney and other beans
Lean, protein like chicken and fish
For baking - kamut, buckwheat and brown rice flours
Sweeteners - molasses, honey and stevia
spinach and other greens regularly
lactose free milk (not too much though as milk is high in natural sugars)
source of good fats:
olives, avocados, olive oil
snacks from the health food store that are sugar, gluten and lactose free
any other healthy, preservative free foods I can find
natural canola mayonnaise
and of course, not to go too extreme, I'll be making sure to get some of the not so perfectly healthy stuff in my diet here and there (favorites like corn dogs, the chicken kind with honey, a slap of cheese on the occasional turkey sandwich-sometimes with unleavened bread, other times not, and the claiming "no sugar added" cherry pie, although the second ingredient in it is guess...)
cheerios once in a while
fruit shakes (mostly spinach and a little honey for sweetness, yum!)
regular exercise (at least three times a week)
I'm getting back to the roots, what I was beginning to catch onto a long time ago, but got put on hold because of my unwillingness to let go of what I believed were some of the only exciting things in my life at the time: sugar and chocolate, bread, icecream...and the list goes on. I simply needed to move forward in faith, and work hard for it. A little easier wishing for it than finding the motivation to do it.
Now that most of these things are completely not a part of my diet anymore, I'm beginning to see the world open up to me again. I'm beginning to get excited about developing skills and even day to day life as a mother. My mind is beginning to be cleared, my body not so sickly and gaining a little more energy.
Thanks to my big sis who prayed and studied it out to try to find the answer to her headaches and infertility, and then shared what she had found with me.
By the way, candidasis can and will lead to any one of these - infertility, lupus, or fibromyalgia over time. So if you think you may have it, and you're tired enough of feeling sick and tired, join the health boat and lets go on some adventures together! I know my potential is so much greater than the darkness I've been living in for the two or so years because of my unwillingness to change. The only reason I'm motivated at this point is because I'm completely at my rope's end in dealing with constant sickness and fatigue, aches and pains, mental confusion and cloudiness,..and so forth. My children and husband deserve better especially because my knowledge is great enough that we ought not to be at this point in the first place.
So, with that said, may I direct you to candidasupport.org. This couple claims to have the answers as far as the quickest, surest solution to candidasis.
All the information I just spouted out came from my favorite home guide to better health, 'Smart Medicine for Healthier Living' by Janet Zand, LAc, OMD; Allan N. Spreen, MD, CNC and James B. LaValle, RPh, ND.
So, there ya have it. My latest discovery.
Ya know, I'm actually grateful that so many health problems have come up so that I can have sufficient motivation to make the changes I've needed to for far too long. I have to learn to cook again...and no more being lazy about it. How blessed I am!