Candida is the short name often used to describe a condition of yeast overgrowth in the body, the technical term is Candidiasis.
Candida albicans is understood to naturally exist at a low level in all mucus membranes – intestines, eyes, ears, bladder, stomach, lungs, and vaginal mucosal membranes. When Candida is in balance with our other healthy bacteria and micro-organisms, it is understood to have important functions for our health such as playing a role in recognising harmful bacteria.
If something upsets this delicate balance, Candida may ‘overgrow’ and ‘take over’ their environment. If this occurs, Candida may change from a natural and non-pathogenic yeast, into a pathogenic and potentially health-harming fungal condition known as Candida overgrowth.
When Candida overgrowth occurs, the Candida yeast may multiply rapidly, changing into a harmful fungal colony with long, root-like structures which may be invasive and may penetrate the intestinal walls. This may be associated with inflammation of the intestinal lining, may reduce nutrient absorption, and may also lead to increased intestinal permeability, or ‘leaky gut syndrome’.
Systemic Candida infection or overgrowth is when Candida spores progress through the microscopic holes they have created in the intestinal walls and circulate throughout the body via the bloodstream; this is understood to only occur in severely immunocompromised patients.
A mild Candida overgrowth patient will usually have no idea that this is occurring within their body but may experience symptoms such as generalised fatigue, headaches, depression, fuzzy thinking, skin conditions, bloating, flatulence and sugar or carbohydrate cravings.