Updated: Sep 22, 2019
I've experienced digestive problems for as long as I can remember and although I can go years with smooth sailing, flare-ups are known to occur every now and again.
Right now, I'm experiencing a dysbiosis in my gut, primarily a candida attack and it's gross.
Luckily, I've become so in tune with my body that I can always tell what's going on when something is off.
Here's what I'm feeling:
burning tired eyes
pimples on my forehead (classic toxicity symptom)
general unwell feeling
How a dysbiosis occurs:
Candida needs food and the right climate
Although candida (also referred to as candida albicans) grows in colder, wetter climates and cannot thrive in hot dry temperatures as easily, we've been getting a ton of rain where I am and it's been more humid than usual.
In addition, summertime offers an abundance of fruits, cocktails and sweet treats that can throw your gut out of balance and encourage the growth of yeasts.
There's not enough good bacteria to balance out the bad.
Good bacteria is destroyed by junk food, alcohol, episodes of diarrhea, general illness, and ingesting foods that contain antibiotics. Perhaps it was all of those visits to the Italian bakery, oops!
Bad bacteria grows as a result of eating too much (volume), low stomach acid, eating too many sugars, stress, and caffeine. I've been drinking more coffee than usual, also oops!
Common signs and symptoms
sugar cravings (this is a big warning sign)
constipation, bloating, abdominal pain
itchy bottom, itchy skin
UTI's and yeast infections
brain-fog and feeling spacey
hormonal problems such as PMS, menstrual irregularities and low libido
Here's the thing though, as innocent as candida may sound, it's not and should not be left unaddressed.
Candida is nasty business, here's why:
Candida produces estrogen-like substances which can contribute to estrogen dominance. The effects of unopposed estrogens are plenty including stimulating the growth of cysts, and fibroids and is associated with endometriosis, ovarian and uterine cysts and breast cancer.
Candida floods the body with acetaldehyde which poisons the nervous system, joints and muscles. It can affect metabolic, endocrine, and immune function and interfere with the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which is associated with memory, motor, and autonomic function. It stimulates histamine which makes allergies and inflammation worse. A sign of too much acetaldehyde is a sensitivity to scents and fragrances.
Depletes important nutrients
B2, iron, and molybdenum are required by the enzyme aldehyde oxidase which breaks down acetaldehyde which can create lower levels of these nutrients.
The gut wall can become permeable as a result of toxins produced by the growing numbers of pathogens. This interferes with proper absorption of nutrients and allows fungus to spread all over the body. Inflammation happens and releases cortisol which ultimately exhausts adrenal function, and as we know, healthy adrenal function is essential to hormone balance.
It burdens your liver
Toxins produced by the gut are carried to the liver for elimination. However, the liver already has a lot of work to do especially when it's already busy dealing with preservatives, pesticides, chemicals, hormones, additives, and bad fats. If the liver can't detoxify the gut toxins effectively this can irritate and possibly inflame the gallbladder. Toxicity in the body contributes to headaches, body odor, bad skin, dark urine, confusion, allergies, and bad breath.
So what's a girl to do?
Start killing off the bad guys
You can choose between an anti-microbial formula, or choose just one at first and work your way up. Grapefruit seed extract (not to be confused with grape seed extract), caprylic acid, olive leaf, garlic, clove, or oil of oregano are good options.
Taking long breaks between the last meal of the day and first meal of the following day is very helpful. This helps deprive the bad guys of their food sources, increases digestive fire, eases the burden to the immune system, and gives the liver a break.
You should be eliminating within 20 minutes upon waking in the morning, anything past that is considered constipation. Increase plenty of fiber foods like vegetables, whole-grains, and beans to get things moving. A fiber supplement can be helpful.
Increase the good guys
Make sure to include plenty of fermented foods daily to load up your gut with beneficial bacteria. Alternatively you can take a good quality full spectrum probiotic.
Eat your greens all day long
This includes bitter greens as well. Greens help to stimulate acid in the stomach which is beneficial for efficient breakdown of foods, cools the body, and provides nutrients that are critical for liver function.
The good news is with the right approach, it doesn't take long to bring back balance in the gut and begin feeling better!
If you suspect you are having gut problems and would feel more comfortable working with a practitioner to help you choose and design the best approach, contact me!