It’s called Candida albicans, and it’s not the Candida of the Tony Orlando and Dawn song from the 1970s. It’s a yeast that can cause problems if it gets out of hand. Candida albicans, or C. albicans, is typically found in your mucous membranes and skin and is usually innocuous. If it starts to grow out of control, however, then there can be serious ramifications. It can run rampant in various parts of your body, including the mouth, esophagus, stomach, heart, skin, fingers, nails and the female genital tract.
If C. albicans gets a foothold and proliferates out of control, then it can lead to yeast overdrive in various places in the body—especially when the body’s immune system is imbalanced or if the body is not getting the nutrition it needs. Likewise, antibiotic overuse, unhealthy blood sugar levels and more can set the stage for unwanted and unhealthy yeast infiltration. Here’s what happens: yeast crowds out normal gut flora and changes the composition of gut enzymes and diminishes the gut’s ability to properly absorb nutrients.
That’s not all that happens, though. Yeast also releases toxins that are then absorbed through the gut or throughout the body, leading to unhealth. Yeasts can also cause allergic responses similar to hay fever allergies—caused by a special class of antibodies called IgE antibodies. Yeast imbalance can be quite uncomfortable, too. It can lead to fatigue, irritability, gut cramping and bloating, sore/itchy throat, genitourinary unhealth and much more.
Candida albicans overgrowth is not an isolated situation, either. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that eight out of every 100,000 people have candidiasis, an infection caused by C. albicans.
Generally speaking, symptoms of a C. albicans imbalance can be categorized according to gastrointestinal, genitourinary and systemic imbalances. Symptoms of an imbalance in the gastrointestinal system can include abdominal discomfort, gas, bloating and other unhealthy side effects. It may also manifest itself as lethargy, muscular discomfort, headaches and anxiety. As far as the genitourinary areas of women, a C. albicans imbalance can directly, adversely affect these areas and cause unhealthy levels of inflammation in the urethra, vagina and bladder.
Candida albicans can take on even more territory. Systemic infiltration can cause unhealthy effects on the joints, the spinal cord, the kidneys and even the heart—depending on which organs and areas are in its sights. If Candida albicans hits the bloodstream, then it can also cause systemic problems, including fever and septic shock—which can be fatal.
And don’t think for one minute that this invader targets only adults. Children can fall prey, too. An imbalance of Candida albicans can occur in the child’s mouth—something known as thrush. This is seen most often in kids who are taking antibiotics or who have unhealthy immune systems. Additionally, Candida can grow rapidly on a child’s moist skin, producing a bright, red rash with a defined border. This may come out as a diaper rash, but it can also appear around the fingernails of children who suck their thumbs or fingers. Little girls, too, may be prone to vaginal infections if the C. albicans population soars.
If you’re looking to avoid a yeast imbalance, here are some suggestions:
- Support your immune system.
- Maintain balanced gut flora and a healthy digestive tract.
- Eat a diet of healthy proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and probiotics.
- Avoid sugars and other unhealthy carbs.
- Avoid unnecessary medicines, especially broad-spectrum antibiotics and steroids.
- Manage stress.
- Maintain hormonal balance.
- Avoid unnecessary surgeries.
All of these can go a long way in creating the yeast balance necessary for health.