Do you feel like you keep bouncing from one health issue to another without experiencing what it's like to feel completely well? Perhaps you started with a sinus infection, but once you received treatment for it, you got a yeast infection.
After treating the yeast infection, you find yourself suffering from constipation and bloating. When you try to address that issue, you realize that you have a stubborn fungal infection on your big toenail.
Once the fungal infection is under control, though, you realize you've got a UTI. At this point, you're on a first-name basis with all of your general practitioner's nurses and you're just plain sick and tired of always being sick and tired.
When you're experiencing persistent infections that appear back to back, most of the time this is not merely a coincidence. While each doctor may continue to treat you for the symptoms you're presenting, this is a band aid approach that overlooks the root cause of your issue, leading to more infections down the road.
So what's at the core of these kinds of illnesses? Like so many chronic issues, the answer lies in your gut health. When you experience consistent bacterial and fungal infections in different areas of your body, there's a very high likelihood that you have a bacterial imbalance in your gut that is throwing your entire system off balance.
This kind of imbalance can become quite serious and very painful over time. When a candida overgrowth becomes profound, patients can experience the extreme pain of oral thrush and persistent fungal infections in the skin and nails. When a bacterial overgrowth gets out of control, it can severely affect the immune system, sometimes leading to autoimmune disorders or serious hormonal issues.
There are many symptoms and infections that could indicate that the root cause of your issue is bacterial overgrowth. If you're experiencing any of the symptoms below, it's a good idea to consider whether you're having a problem with the bacterial balance in your digestive system.
So how do you end up with a bacterial overgrowth? There are many potential causes. One of the biggest factors is the foods we eat and the water we drink.
Lots of the food in our diet, including fried foods and artificial sweeteners, can cause breakdowns in the acid content of your stomach. This can ultimately lead to bacterial overgrowth. Why? Because when your stomach does not have the appropriate amount of acid, it can not fully break down the food you eat.
And when food remains in your digestive tract without being fully broken down, it fuels the production of bacteria. Of course, we always have some amount of bacteria in our stomach, but when we have the correct balance, the "good" bacteria can keep the other bacteria at bay. However, when the acidic quality of the stomach has been compromised, the whole system starts to malfunction.
When this bacteria lingers in the gut, it can cause all kinds of digestive issues. Eventually, your immune system will become engaged in an attempt to rid your body of the bacteria that is causing the problem. Your immune system and your gut are closely linked, since so much of the positive bacteria in your body (which helps keep dangerous bacteria at bay), is located inside of the intestines.
Once the immune system becomes engaged, your body is in for a very tough battle. After all, the root cause of the infection is likely an imbalance that is being perpetually fed by things in your diet or environment. This signals to the body that you are under stress, increasing the production of cortisol.
Over a long period of time, this can cause an internal hormonal imbalance in the body, which is one of the reasons so many individuals experience chronic issues related to their hormones—the root cause of these issues actually lie in their digestive system.
The food you eat is not the only factor that can perpetuate the overgrowth of bacteria in the digestive system. Antibiotics, both prescribed and within the animal products that we eat, can kill off the good bacteria in your stomach and affect the digestive balance.
Other over the counter medications like NSAIDs, and even birth control pills, can also weaken the stomach lining, allowing for the disruption of balance within the stomach. This has been called by some "leaky-gut syndrome" and refers to the interior breakdown that can occur when we have a porous stomach or intestinal lining that is not fully preventing bacteria and toxins from entering the bloodstream.
Again, this engages the immune system, and can cause serious fatigue and other autoimmune issues like joint pain. Why? Because your immune system goes into overdrive trying to fight back the invasion of bacteria that is coming from the inside out.
Bacteria is not the only ingredient for a healthy stomach, however. There are also naturally occurring enzymes and fungi that help your digestive system to do its job. Candida is one of those fungi, and the term refers to a family of fungi related to yeast. All healthy individuals need a certain amount of candida in order to have a well functioning digestive system.
The healthy bacteria in your stomach helps to balance Candida growth and ensures that it stays at the correct levels. When that healthy bacteria is wiped out, Candida production can increase rapidly and cause a whole host of problems.
Candida overgrowth is a serious issue that can be very difficult to get a handle on. Individuals who've suffered from an overproduction of Candida can experience skin rashes, oral thrush, yeast infections, and even UTI's.
Sometimes, the balance of bacteria overgrowth and candida overgrowth can flip flop from one to another, causing all kinds of bothersome symptoms and furthering challenging patients who are simply seeking to finally feel well.
If you're fed up with always feeling sick and not knowing how to regain a full sense of health and wellness, there is another way. In Functional Medicine, our focus is always on getting to the root cause of whatever problem you are facing.
Dr. Cabral has seen thousands in his private wellness practice suffering from issues related to bacterial and Candida overgrowth. Over the years, he has conducted endless research so he could provide the highest quality at-home lab tests and supplements so he could give each person a holistic understanding of the specific issues they were facing plus the solutions they needed to get well.
The number one at-home lab test we recommend is the Organic Acids Test. The test can detect underlying "leaky gut" intestinal bacterial overgrowth or intestinal permeability type health issues that are causing many of your unwelcome symptoms. It's a simple at-home test that only requires a small morning urine sample.
In addition, for those with digestive issues, we also recommend a lab test to look for Food Sensitivities. This is a dynamic test that can help you understand if there are any specific food allergies that may be contributing to your digestive issues. If there are certain foods that your body just can't break down, that could be the reason you are feeling a variety of symptoms.
Again this test comes with a personal health coaching call, so you can understand the specific factors that are keeping you from feeling well.
If lab tests aren't possible for you right now, we have other suggestions for you to try. Some consider this advice cliche, but making sure that you are properly hydrated at all times is essential to your digestive health. When you aren't properly hydrated, none of the organs in your body can function properly.
Another popular method for limiting bacterial overgrowth in the diet is by eliminating processed sugar, and even sugar of any kind, from your diet. This can be challenging for anyone, so we do recommend that you gradually eliminate certain culprits over time. For example, you could begin switching out your desserts with sugar free options or fruit based desserts.
From there, you can choose high protein, nutrient rich options for breakfast, like hard boiled eggs and greens or gluten free oatmeal. There are many popular sugar substitutes made from natural ingredients like monk fruit sweetener or stevia. Experiment and remember to track your results! The more you focus on the benefits of your changes, the more likely you are to stick to them.
Finally, it's essential that you tend to your inner microbiome by incorporating probiotics into your diet. Probiotics are the healthy bacteria in your gut that help you maintain balance and prevent overcrowding. There are many foods and drinks that can help rebuild your biome and restore healthy bacteria in your gut. If you are concerned about yeast or candida overgrowth, you'll want to choose ones that are low in sugar.
A great choice for many is sauerkraut or kimchi. These are easily made fermented foods that really pack a punch in terms of health benefits. Kombucha and kefir are amazing probiotic foods as well. Some Kombuchas can be much higher in sugar than others, however, so you'll want to do your homework to ensure you choose something that is lower in sugar.
Overall, one of central recommendations is to be methodical and detail oriented when you are trying to combat digestive issues. Keep track of what you eat when and how that tracks with your symptoms. Your symptoms can tell you a lot about what is working for your body's digestive tract and what isn't. By paying close attention, you can find a diet plan that works for you.
Chris was a 32 year old man who had been diagnosed with Candida-based issues. He had been told to make changes to his diet and was closely following the restrictions in order to limit Candida in his body. While he saw some improvements, many of his symptoms would recur over and over. Plus, the restrictive diet was keeping him from some of the activities he enjoyed most in life—eating dinner with his family or having a beer on Sundays with his friends while watching football.
He decided that he wanted to understand his condition more deeply, so took an Organic Acids Test. On his personalized health coaching call, he finally understood that his Candida overgrowth was connected to a deficiency in bile production within his stomach.
With focused attention and the right nutritional protocols, Chris slowly but surely was able to bring his Candida under control—and experience so many other benefits to having a high-functioning digestive system -- without having to sacrifice the things he loved.
When you've been simply plugging holes regarding illness for years without the support you need, we know how disheartening it can be.
But we also know that there is a way through. With careful, focused attention, you can take control of your digestive issues and begin a new lease on life.