Part One: Is Fungus Ruining Your Health?
Fungal infections are far more widespread than most people think. In fact, statistics suggest that over one billion people a year get infected with some kind of fungus and that number is growing.1
As much as 70% of women will get a vaginal yeast (Candida) infection at some point in their lives and many people are susceptible to candida related bladder infections.2 In certain immunocompromised individuals fungal infections can even be deadly!
While I was healing from Hashimoto’s and lupus I had positive antibodies to Candida, indicating a current and long-term infection. I did not have any visible signs of fungus on my body but I did get recurrent UTI’s (that never once tested positive for bacteria), and chronic sinusitis. I had to strengthen my immune system, and get fungus under control, for my health to get better!
Top symptoms of candida and fungal overgrowth:
- Gastrointestinal symptoms: If you suffer from bloating, constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, gas, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) you may have fungal overgrowth (along with other bad bugs) in your gut!
- Chronic sinusitis: The Mayo Clinic did a study in 1999 that found fungus in the sinuses of 96 percent of patients with chronic sinusitis.3
- Skin and nail problems: Many people don’t realize that chronic skin and nail conditions such as fungal infections of the nails (onychomycosis and tinea unguium) ringworm, jock-itch, athlete’s foot, eczema, acne, hives, and skin discolorations, can be an indication of a systemic fungal overgrowth!
- Reproductive system disorders: If you suffer with chronic bladder infections (UTIs), fungal vaginitis, interstitial cystitis and even PMS get checked for fungus!
- Sugar, Alcohol and Carb Cravings: If you just can’t control your cravings for sweet treats, processed carbs and alcohol, it’s not your fault! Yeast and fungus want their food and it’s likely what’s driving the cravings!
- Mental & emotional symptoms: Anxiety, hyperactivity, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, depression, sleep problems, low energy and confusion are all symptoms of fungus gone wild!
- Immune disruption: Candida, yeast and fungal infections are proven triggers for allergies, hay fever, asthma, food and chemical sensitivity and all autoimmune conditions including fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.
The list of symptoms goes on forever but these are the big ones!
What causes fungal infections?
Many of my clients are confused about how they got a fungal infection in the first place. Fungal infections can seem to spring up on their own, but often arise from the vulnerability created by chronic stress, poor nutrition (think too much sugar and carbs), disorders such as hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue and estrogen dominance and antibiotic or immunosuppressive drugs.
- Fungus lives on sugar and carbs – if you’re eating too much sugar you run the risk of feeding the “sugar weeds”, which can allow them to grow out of control and take over your inner garden.
- Acute stress in any form (psychological and physical) can cause a rise in the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which suppress immunity and can leave you susceptible to infections.
- Chronic stress unrelenting stress (in any form) can cause adrenal fatigue, and hypomethylation; the consequences are lowered immunity and fungal takeover!
- Low thyroid function may leave you susceptible to fungal infections. According to researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, “98.6 degree body temperature strikes a perfect balance: warm enough to ward off fungal infection but not so hot that we need to eat nonstop to maintain our metabolism.” If you suffer with hypothyroidism due to Hashimoto’s or nutrient deficiencies, your core body temp might be too low to fight off fungus!
- You probably already know that overuse of antibiotics kill many of the “good bugs” that populate the GI tract and vagina, allowing fungus like candida albicans and others to proliferate and become an infection.
- New Anti-TNF inhibitor drugs are being handed out like candy to people with autoimmune conditions. These drugs are known to cause deadly fungal infections! If you’re taking a drug such as Cimzia, Enbrel, Humira, or Remicade, you have a huge risk of developing a low grade or even deadly fungal infection like histoplasmosis.
Test, Don’t Guess!
If you suspect that you have a problem with candida or fungus, it’s important that you insist on being tested, even if your doctor is hesitant. In my role as a medical advocate, I have met a number of doctors who didn’t feel candida was a possible problem but who nonetheless tested for it and found it in my clients after we insisted on the proper tests
Serum Testing for Candida and Fungus:
- Candida IgG, IgA, IgM, candida antigen, candida antigen/antibody complexes. Available at most laboratories.
Comprehensive Stool Analysis:
- Metametrix GI Effects Comprehensive Profile (Stool Analysis): This test uses DNA analysis to identify microbiota with 100% accuracy including anaerobes, a previously unmeasurable area of the gut environment. In addition to much more comprehensive bacteriology, mycology, and parasitology this test reports drug resistance genes, antibiotic and botanical sensitivities, Elastase1, plus other inflammation, digestion, and absorption markers. parameters.
- Doctor’s Data Comprehensive Stool Analysis with Parasitology x3 (Stool Sample): This test evaluates digestion and absorption, bacterial balance, metabolism, yeast levels and the presence of parasites. This test is used to evaluate the cause of various gastrointestinal symptoms, or systemic illnesses, whose origins can be traced back to bacterial imbalance, parasites, or intestinal dysfunction.
- Candida Intensive Culture by Genova Diagnostics: uses fecal and blood analysis to provide a comprehensive assessment of local and systemic Candida overgrowth associated with immune reactivity, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), dermatitis, low energy, PMS, mood swings, “foggy brain” and other symptoms. You can learn more about this test here: https://www.gdx.net/core/one-page-test-descriptions/Candida-Intensive-Test-Description.pdf.
- Sinus CT Scan to check fluid levels, polyps or mucosal thickening.
If you find that fungus is affecting your health there are steps you can take today can heal!
In Part Two I’ll talk about how you can control candida and cure fungal infections with the Functional Mind-Body Approach!
- Vos T, Flaxman AD, Naghavi M, et al. Years lived with disability (YLDs) for 1160 sequelae of 289 diseases and injuries 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. Lancet. 2012;380(9859):2163–2196. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23245607
- Fisher JF, Kavanagh K, Sobel JD, Kauffman CA, Newman CA. Candida urinary tract infections—epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment: executive summary. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2011;52(6):S429–S432. http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/52/suppl_6/S437.full
- Mayo Clinic: Dept of Otorhinolaryngology. Research on Chronic Sinusitis. http://www.mayoclinic.org/ent-rst/chronicsinus.html
- Ali T, Kaitha S, Mahmood S, Ftesi A, Stone J, Bronze MS. Clinical use of anti-TNF therapy and increased risk of infections. Drug, Healthcare and Patient Safety. 2013;5:79-99. doi:10.2147/DHPS.S28801. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3615849/
Michelle Corey, C.N.W.C., FMC, is a Wellness Recovery Specialist, Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, researcher and author. Michelle studied holistic nutrition at Clayton College of Natural Health and completed a comprehensive 2-year practical program at Academy of Functional Medicine and Genomics. Since reversing her autoimmune condition, Michelle has helped hundreds of people reverse autoimmune and other chronic conditions. She is currently an advisor to the Academy of Functional Medicine and Genomics and the Functional Medical University. She is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants. Michelle and offers Functional Mind-Body healing retreats, workshops and online courses.
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