Candida is a type of fungus (or yeast) that affects the gut and is typically found in small amounts in the mouth and intestines and on the skin .
When it gets out of control, it can cause an infection known as candidiasis. Candidiasis is also known as thrush.
What are triggers for thrush?
- Too much sugar and refined carbs in your diet
- Being under stress
- High alcohol intake
- A weakened immune system
- Oral contraceptives
- Soaps that irritate sensitive areas
- Hormonal changes and the menstrual cycle
- Vaginal dryness.
There are different types of thrush. Most cases of thrush will not pose serious risk to the health, although they can be uncomfortable.
Mouth and Throat
Most common in babies less than a month old, the elderly and those with a weak immune system. It is normally characterised by red skin covered in white spots and a curd-like coating. Experiencing an unpleasant taste and cracks in the corner of the mouth are also symptoms. You should always seek help from a healthcare professional if you think your baby has thrush.
Vagina and Penis
Usually a curd-like discharge, along with discomfort and itching. Vaginal thrush is very common in women and over the counter and natural remedies may be used to help. However, if it keeps coming back, it's important to seek help.
Finger and Toenails
Dermatophyte fungi is the usual culprit for fungal nail infections, but candida can also cause them. The nail may become thickened discoloured and become brittle.
Candida can affect the folds of the skin, such as under arms, cleavage, groin, and between the fingers. This will usually present itself as a red, itchy, painful rash that scales over. There may also be a white or yellow discharge.
This is caused by the same Candida yeast as thrush, but is a serious, progressive and potentially fatal infection that can affect the blood, heart, brain, eyes, bones, and other parts of the body. Those with weakened immune systems are at heightened risk.
What should I do if I have thrush?
It’s important to seek help for thrush, because it may spread if not treated. Your GP or pharmacist will be able to recommend medications. On a practical level, remember to avoid the triggers for thrush. Don’t wear restrictive, tight clothing/ underwear, or over-wash using scented bubble-baths as this can upset the delicate eco-balance of the body. You may like to look at natural ways of dealing with the problem.
The natural way to treat candida
You will need to treat thrush thoroughly to remove the problem and prevent it from spreading. As well as conventional medication there are some natural self-help steps you can take.
- Eat a sugar- and yeast-free diet for at least two weeks. Cut out any foods that contain sugar, glucose or fructose, and remove yeasty foods such as bread and anything containing yeast extracts, such as Marmite
- Eat probiotic yogurt, which contains live, “good” bacteria cultures. This may help to restore the proper balance of good to bad bacteria in the mouth
- Try eating a clove of crushed raw garlic a day. Or try garlic supplements, as a more sociable alternative
- If you have oral thrush, clove is a good remedy. Try a clove mouth rinse by steeping 1 teaspoon of whole ground cloves in 1 cup of boiling water for at least 5 minutes
- Add turmeric to your diet: According to a 2010 study on mice, curcumin may treat oral thrush. The study found curcumin to be an antifungal against both albicans and non-albicans species of Candida
- Drink a tea made from Marigold flowers. Combine 25g of each herb and infuse 1tsp of this mix in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Drink three cups a day
- Try a probiotic supplement to replace bad bacteria with good bacteria
- If the skin is affected, bathe the area with a wash made from Marigold flower tea (2tsp flowers to a cup of boiling water infused 10 mins) with a few drops of tea tree oil added.
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