Reprinted from Sunshine Sharing
Everyone has yeast in their body and normally, this yeast is completely benign. The body's defenses have to be compromised in some way in order for yeast to start to multiply out of control. The most common reason why yeast starts growing out of control is antibiotics. Antibiotics not only kill disease-causing bacteria, they also kill the friendly bacteria in our bodies. These friendly bacteria keep yeast in check, so when they are gone, yeast start multiplying. But antibiotics ARE NOT the only factor in yeast overgrowth.
Sulfa drugs, chemotherapy and steroids (including corticosteroid drugs and birth control pills) also disrupt normal intestinal flora, contributing to yeast overgrowth. Even chlorinated water may be a problem. Antacids and acid-blocking drugs also contribute to yeast overgrowth because they inhibit the hydrochloric acid that also helps keep fungus in check. Mercury from fillings may also be a factor.
Dietary factors further feed the yeast problem. Excessive consumption of sugar and other refined carbohydrates fuels yeast growth. Alcohol and caffeine consumption can, too. While we are at it, there are several things we should point out that don't cause yeast infections. The first is eating foods that contain natural yeasts like bread or beer. There are thousands of strains of yeast and the yeasts used to raise bread or ferment alcohol aren't candida. To suggest that these yeasts cause candidiasis makes about as much sense as suggesting that you should not eat yoghurt because it contains bacteria.
Eating mushrooms is not going to contribute to yeast overgrowth, either. In fact, some mushrooms, such as reshi, ganoderma and miatake are actually helpful in combating yeast overgrowth. Finally, eating foods containing natural sugars, such as fruit, whole grains, etc. doesn't cause yeast infections either. The body needs sugar for fuel, so all carbohydrates and sugars aren't bad.
Once you have yeast overgrowth, however, the yeast "hijack" even these good sugars to grow, so you may need to limit consumption of natural sugars for a short period of time until the yeast is back under control. You will probably also need to avoid foods containing yeast and mold (bread, beer, aged cheeses) just while you are getting the yeast back under control. Yeast overgrowth causes the body to crave sugar because the yeast secrete chemicals to increase sugar cravings. They also release chemicals that contribute to intestinal inflammation, leaky gut and reduced immune activity.
Reduced immune activity also creates an environment for yeast overgrowth, which is why AIDS patients are particularly susceptible to yeast infections. It's also why infants (whose immune systems aren't fully developed) are more prone to getting the oral candida infection known as thrush. So, once yeast overgrowth has started, a person's health and immunity start to spiral downward. That is why it becomes important to control yeast overgrowth.
Four Steps to Taming the Yeast Beast
For starters, we need to make one thing perfectly clear-you will never get rid of all the yeast in your body. In fact, you would not want to. We play host to a wide variety of microorganisms collectively known as friendly flora. These organisms live on our skin and in our intestines. Women also have colonies of friendly flora in their reproductive organs. Yeast are a natural part of this mix of friendly microorganisms.
Normally, the competition between these various microbes keeps them all under control. In particular, the friendly lactobacteria such as Lactobacillis acidophilus and L. bifidophilus secrete lactic acid which keeps yeast under control. Yeast overgrowth occurs when the balance of friendly flora tips in favor of the yeast, allowing the yeast to take over. What is needed is to "tame" the yeast, that is, to bring it back into proper balance, not to completely destroy it.
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There are four steps to this process of reducing yeast overgrowth
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What is the Yeast Beast?
Yeast normally don't behave like "beasts." In fact, these little critters can actually be helpful at times. After all, they make bread rise and ferment carbohydrates to make beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages. They even produce antibiotics to help fight infection. In fact, these "yeastie beasties" can be found everywhere (including in our own bodies) and are normally quite benign creatures.
However, under the right conditions, these normally friendly micro-organisms can multiple out of control and transform from friendly allies into nasty yeast beasts that ravage our good health. The yeast most likely to do this is a little creature called Candida albicans, or candida. for short. When candida gets out of control, you develop candidiasis. Other species may also turn into beasts, so we're going to call the problem of excessive yeast in the body yeast overgrowth.
Yeast overgrowth in your body will undermine your good health because yeast secrete toxins which weaken the body's immune system. Obvious signs of yeast overgrowth include recurring vaginal yeast infections, thrush, athlete's foot, nail fungus and jock itch, but yeast overgrowth can also be an underlying factor in chronic indigestion, asthma, allergies, chronic sinus congestion, skin problems like acne and general immune weakness.Signs and symptoms (from Wikipedia)
Most candidial infections are treatable and result in minimal complications such as redness, itching and discomfort, though complication may be severe or fatal if left untreated in certain populations. In immunocompetent persons, candidiasis is usually a very localized infection of the skin or mucosal membranes, including the oral cavity (thrush), the pharynx or esophagus, the gastrointestinal tract, the urinary bladder, or the genitalia (vagina, penis).
Candidiasis is a very common cause of vaginal irritation, or vaginitis, and can also occur on the male genitals. In immunocompromised patients, Candida infections can affect the esophagus with the potential of becoming systemic, causing a much more serious condition, a fungemia called candidemia.
Thrush is commonly seen in infants. It is not considered abnormal in infants unless it lasts longer than a couple of weeks.
Children, mostly between the ages of three and nine years of age, can be affected by chronic mouth yeast infections, normally seen around the mouth as white patches. However, this is not a common condition.
Symptoms of candidiasis may vary depending on the area affected.
Infection of the vagina or vulva may cause severe itching, burning, soreness, irritation, and a whitish or whitish-gray cottage cheese-like discharge, often with a curd-like appearance. These symptoms are also present in the more common bacterial vaginosis. In a 2002 study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, only 33 percent of women who were self-treating for a yeast infection actually had a yeast infection, while most had either bacterial vaginosis or a mixed-type infection.
Symptoms of infection of the male genitalia include red patchy sores near the head of the penis or on the foreskin, severe itching, or a burning sensation. Candidiasis of the penis can also have a white discharge, although uncommon.