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Candida Symptoms and Treatments

writtenByWritten by: Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse
Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse

Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse

Tessa is a MSN prepared Registered Nurse with 10 years of critical care experience in healthcare. When not practicing clinical nursing, she enjoys academic writing and is passionate about helping those affected by medical aliments live healthy lives.

Read more posts by this author.

January 19, 2021 Read Time - 6 minutes

What is Candida?

Candida is the name of a fungi often associated with common yeast infections. There are six species of Candida: 

  • Candida albicans
  • Candida glabrata
  • Candida tropicalis
  • Candida parapsilosis
  • Candida krusei
  • Candida auris

The most common species of candida is Candida albicans, which is the most invasive infection compared to the other species of candida. Oftentimes, when people mention Candida, they are referring to Candida albicans (C. albicans). People shorten it as simply Candida when referencing yeast infections. 

Keep reading to learn more about candida causes, symptoms, and treatments, as well as the Candida Diet.

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Candida Albicans

Candida albicans is one of five species of candida. It is the most prevalent cause of fungal infections in people. According to the CDC, Candida is the leading cause of healthcare-associated bloodstream infections in US hospitals. Each bloodstream infection caused by candida can result in an additional 3 to 13 days of hospitalization, which translates into roughly $6,000- $29,000 of additional costs.

The species name, albicans, comes from the Latin root word meaning “white.” Candida infections often present as white lesions, staying true to its namesake.

Candida albicans is responsible for common fungal skin infections, such as athletes’ foot, oral thrush, nail fungus, and vaginal thrush.

Causes of Candida

Candida normally lives on the skin and inside the body in places such as the mouth, throat, gut, and vagina without causing problems.

In healthy individuals, the body has a balance of bacteria and other organisms (including candida) in the mouth and other mucus membranes that help to fight infection.

Problems arise when there is an imbalance of these organisms. When candida is overgrown, infections occur.

The normal balance of candida in the mouth and other mucus membranes is no longer stable with thrush. The fungus that causes thrush is called “candida.” This is the same yeast that can cause yeast infections in women and diaper rashes in babies.

Candida Symptoms

Symptoms of candida overgrowth may include:

How to Treat Candida

Once diagnosed, candida is often straightforward to treat. Over-the-counter tablets, creams, and suppositories are available for some types of yeast infections. These are mostly for skin-related yeast infections.

Over-the-counter candida treatments include:

  • Monistat
  • Vagistat
  • Gynelotrimin
  • Lotrimin
  • Lamisil
  • Desitin
  • A+D Diaper ointment

How to Treat Thrush

Prescription medication is usually prescribed for the treatment of thrush. The initial choice of therapy is based on the severity of the disease and whether or not the patient is pregnant.

The preferred prescription medications used for oral thrush include:

  • Clotrimazole (dissolves in mouth, use 5 times daily)
  • Miconazole (tablet held in mouth and dissolves)
  • Nystatin (swish and swallow)

For people that require IV therapy to treat thrush, fluconazole is administered IV 100-200 mg for 7 to 14 days. 

Some people believe that candida can be treated by modifying your dietary intake and taking probiotic supplements. Although this is still being researched, many people try the Candida diet.

Candida Diet

Candida can overgrow based on the diet you consume. Foods with sugar actually feed candida organisms, allowing them to grow and sometimes overgrow. Eating a healthy diet can boost your gut flora (good bacteria), thus improving your overall health and wellness.

What is the Candida diet? The Candida diet is a low-sugar, anti-inflammatory diet that promotes good gut health and eliminates sugars that feed candida. This restores the balance of the bacteria and yeast that live inside your body.

Processed foods and junk foods are eliminated in the Candida diet. The Candida diet includes foods that reduce the intake of sugar, gluten, and foods that are inflammatory triggers.

The following categories with examples are included in the Candida diet:

  • Non-starchy vegetables, such as asparagus, broccoli, eggplant, onions, and zucchini 
  • Low sugar fruits, like lemons, limes, and avocados
  • Non-glutenous grains, such as buckwheat, quinoa, millet, and amaranth
  • Dairy products, including probiotic yogurt, kefir, butter, and ghee
  • Meat, fish, and eggs (organic when possible); limit red meat
  • Bone broth
  • Nuts and seeds, such as cashews, pistachios, pecans, and Brazil nuts
  • Fermented foods, like sauerkraut and olives

It is believed by some practitioners that the candida diet can be beneficial for weight loss, heart health, gut function, and reduce total inflammation in your body.

Probiotics

Probiotics are live, “friendly” bacteria that reside in your gut. Probiotics promote health benefits when consumed. It is easiest to get the benefits of probiotics through the food you eat. Some home remedies for the prevention of yeast infections include consuming probiotics.

Common probiotics include:

  • Greek yogurt
  • Essential oil of oregano
  • Coconut oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Garlic
  • Fermented foods

Double-check the nutrition label for words such as “probiotic,” “live cultures,” and “fermented,” since some companies can falsely label things as probiotics or fermented products.

Candida Cleanse

The candida cleanse is the combination of the candida diet and probiotics. This cleanse eliminates candida overgrowth by eliminating sugar, white flour, yeast, and certain cheeses.

According to the Mayo Clinic, alternative medicine practitioners link candida overgrowth to common symptoms such as fatigue, headache, and poor memory, but there is little evidence that dietary changes can improve the effects of yeast overgrowth. 

According to Dr. Brent A. Bauer, replacing processed foods with fresh ones listed in the candida cleanse is the main benefit of the cleanse, and why individuals begin to feel better, not because of a reduction in candida.

Even though opinions of the candida cleanse may vary among healthcare practitioners, it is confirmed that the candida diet and cleanse are beneficial to maintaining health and well-being.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

Get Candida Treatment Online

Candida can cause many unpleasant symptoms. Do not wait for your symptoms to improve on their own. If you have symptoms of a candida infection, talk to your PlushCare provider, who can help you develop a treatment plan.

Your PlushCare doctor will work with you to determine if medication is necessary, and what the best medication is for you to take. Your PlushCare doctor will also check on you to ensure that the care plan is working.

You can book an appointment here, or download the free PlushCare mobile app. The average appointment lasts just 15 minutes, and 97% of conditions are successfully treated on the first visit.


Read More About Candida Symptoms and Treatments


Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

Bauer, B. (2020). What is a candida cleanse diet and what does it do? Accessed on December 14, 2020. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/candida-cleanse/faq-20058174

CDC. Candidiasis. Accessed on December 12, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis

CDC. Invasive Candidiasis Statistics. Accessed on December 15, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/invasive/statistics.html

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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