Chronic candida related complex can give a variety of symptoms. Often, the simplest case involves chronic bloating or diarrhea, worse after meals. Complex cases involve immune system hyper-reactivity, and more systemic symptoms such as "brain fog" and fatigue.

Chronic candida infections

Chronic candida infections are a concern of many patients, who believe that their health concerns and chronic candida symptoms of brain fog, muscle aches, sugar cravings, headaches, mood swings, anxiety, fatigue, itching, eczema, vaginal or skin yeast infections, sinusitis, bloating, diarrhea or loose stool, especially with a foul, sulfurous type odor, and indigestion.

 These symptoms tend to be non-specific, are common to many medical conditions, and may be attributable to other illnesses. However, after exclusion of other likely diagnoses, chronic candida infection can be more likely if the patient has described the symptoms as coming after repeated rounds of antibiotics.

 Conventional medicine only recognizes localized candida infections. This would include diagnoses such as oral candidiasis or thrush, or vaginal yeast infections. Systemic candida infections with growth of fungus in the blood only tends to occur in the severely immunocompromised.   The complex of symptoms described above is not from infection in the blood, but rather from the effects of toxins and antigens released by candida.

 Chronic candida symptoms

While the list of chronic candida symptoms above is common in my experience, what I see most frequently in my patients is a complaint focused on the gastrointestinal tract. Often chronic candida patients seek natural treatment for long-standing abdominal bloating, flatulence, discomfort, and frequent foul stools. The symptoms may have been a gradual onset or have come after a course of antibiotics. When questioning the patients, other chronic candida symptoms of brain fog, muscle aches, sugar cravings, and fatigue may be associated. 

 Chronic candida test

Conventional diagnoses are first ruled out. For example, if a patient has a main complaint of gastrointestinal bloating after the smallest meals, gas, fatigue, other conditions such as non-ulcer dyspepsia, Helicobacter pylori infection, food sensitivities or allergies are typically considered as well. Further, the multi-system symptoms of chronic candida infection mean that other conditions symptoms across multiple systems need to be considered:

 - adrenal fatigue

chronic lyme infection

- hypothyroidism

- food sensitivities

chronic toxicity or increase body burden of toxins

 There are some diagnostic procedures that can be helpful as a chronic candida test:

 Chronic candida tests:

Antibody IgG and IgE: this test looks for antibodies against candida. It confirms both exposure (common) and allergy or sensitivity (less common). If the levels are very high, it may indicate that sensitivity or allergy to candida may be a more important factor, as opposed to candida infection or a problem with the candida toxins.

 stool testing: Stool microbiology (various bacteria & yeast) testing may be recommended.  Stool parasites may also be checked. This helps to ascertain whether chronic candida infection may be partly due to a lack of probiotics such as lactobacillus. In my experience, even patients who take probiotics may be lacking them in the stool culture, perhaps because other bacteria (or candida) identified that should be focused on as well.

 food sensitivity panel patterns in a food sensitivity / allergy blood test panel: we may recommend a panel of various foods to which an increased IgG, IgG4, or IgE antibody response may be observed.  Candida antibodies, as well as other food yeast antibodies, are often included in these food antibody panels.  The gold standard is then an elimination-rechallenge diet to assess for symptoms that may be provoked by consuming these foods in question.  Running the food sensitivity panel first can give insight into the general pattern of antibody levels (e.g.  increased to most foods, increased to only certain foods, or low to although everything), which may help to elucidate underlying immune patterns, and help focus in on which foods should be included on the elimination-rechallenge diet.  Some patients will have increased antibody titers to EVERY food and more so to the foods that they commonly eat. Increased IgG antibodies to commonly consumed foods can be a normal response, as IgG is a blocking antibody (sensitivity), and can limit allergic IgE reactions.  The food sensitivity panels are interpreted relative to food consumption patterns prior to testing, known symptoms provoked by foods, and then an elimination rechallenge diet may be recommended (to foods with no history of severe allergic reaction).

 cytokine testing (immune mediators that may be associated with increased inflammation): A baseline test of cytokines is done on the patients blood, to see what the overall level of inflammation is, and what type of inflammation is present. Toxins from mold tend to cause a very specific type of inflammation. White blood cells are then stimulated with candida, or with a generic bacterial, viral, or fungal mix. In my experience, often there is a large spike in the cytokines for one type of infection, which may occur in current, persistent infections. An interferon based assay, elispot testing, can be done to ascertain if there is a strong immune reaction against candida currently present. This may help with the diagnosis and helps me to more effectively tailor antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory treatments, while giving all the supportive treatment possible.

 Chronic candida natural treatment

 Candida treatment protocol:

First, hormones, sleep and diet (not a strict candida diet) are typically corrected. This may include thyroid, adrenal, or sex hormones.

 Candida natural treatment then consists of:

diet - sugar free, but not a typical restrictive candida diet

fluconazole / nystatin / sporanox (itraconazole) prescriptions (not natural, but can be useful)

natural antifungals

Gastrointestinal flora correction per stool microbiology

Ozone, for infections that the immune system still has a chance of clearing, usually 8-10 treatments

 When medications may be indicated, stool microbiology analysis (with botanical & drug sensitivity panels) or GI MAP stool testing (with drug resistance gene testing) may help in determining which medications may be more effective. If the yeast can be cultured out, sensitivity studies are typically automatically done (stool microbiology testing.)

Restrictive candida diets are not often used alone. A reasonable sugar-free, alcohol and yeast-limited diet is often recommended in conjunction with candida treatments.

If you are a patient who is interested in candida testing and candida treatment, please call the office to set up an appointment with Dr Eric Chan at 604 275 0163.