The Good, Bad and the Candida Overgrowth

back pain

I’ve mentioned a few times that I’ve had some health issues that I’ve been struggling with and I’ve had enough questions that I’m going to answer them here on the blog.  In July, I started feeling down right TERRIBLE! As someone who generally has great health, I was sideswiped.

These were my symptoms all of which grew worse as I grew more tired throughout the day:

Sore Back and Neck Muscles

Lump in my throat

Tightness/Heaviness in my lungs

Brain Fog

Extreme Fatigue

Post Nasal Drip

Terrible Headaches

I read on the internet and all of the Web M.D. articles concluded that I either had allergies or Acid Reflux

I decided to self-treat my symptoms.  I tried Nexium for two weeks without a single change. I then tried Zyrtec for a week without a change in that either.

I decided I should see a doctor because the back and neck soreness got so bad. She tried to dissect each symptom and referred me to specialists including a Gastro Intestinal, for an endoscopy, an endocrinologist, to look at my thyroid more in depth but she was perplexed about my sore muscles and related it all to stress because I’m a Mom of four children and because I workout.

I knew that in my heart that all my symptoms were connected.

I prayed one night for help.  My heart was so heavy.  I have so many things to do including being a Wife, a Mom, a member of the Young Women Presidency in my ward at church, the #ImaFitMormon blog and just a human being.  One that doesn’t REQUIRE a nap every day (requiring and enjoying are two completely separate things). I poured my heart out to my Heavenly Father.  I felt that I should try an elimination diet.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with elimination diets, you basically cut an potential allergen out of your diet and slowly add them in to see if one food or another is causing the symptom at hand.  What was I eating? Basically meat, fruit and veggies.  I had even cut out high sugar fruits.  Within a day I had felt a small amount of relief.  My symptoms had changed.  The lump in my throat had lessened so I knew that I was on the right track.  While looking on the internet for a connection to my symptoms, I happened upon an article.

candida

MIND BODY GREEN: 10 Signs You Have Candida Overgrowth And What To Do About It ( recommend you read the whole article)

Keep in mind, if you ask a regular Medical Doctor about Candida, you’ll get laughed at.  I’ve literally had it happen twice and left completely discouraged.  It’s something that is mostly treated by Functional Medical Doctors or Naturopaths.

 Here are 10 common candida symptoms
  1. Skin and nail fungal infections (such as athlete’s foot or toenail fungus)
  2. Feeling tired and worn down or suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
  3. Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
  4. Autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis
  5. Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD and brain fog
  6. Skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes
  7. Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression
  8. Vaginal infections , urinary tract infections, rectal itching or vaginal itching
  9. Severe seasonal allergies or itchy ears
  10. Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings

If you look at the list of 10 Symptoms it really could be almost everyone, right? A functional medicine Doctor told me that Candida Overgrowth affects  very large part of the population.

The article says this:

Healthy bacteria in your gut typically keep your candida levels in check. But, the following can cause it to overgrow:
  • Eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar (which feed the yeast)
  • Consuming a lot of alcohol
  • Taking oral contraceptives
  • Eating a diet high in beneficial fermented foods like Kombucha, sauerkraut and pickles
  • Living a high-stress lifestyle
  • Taking a round of antibiotics that killed too many of those friendly bacteria

A light went on! (I’ll call it the Holy Ghost) I knew that this was it!  I was sure of it!

I had the perfect storm for Candida overgrowth.  Despite my healthy eating, in May I had started taking an oral contraceptive AND I had undergone a round of antibiotics and I didn’t take a Probiotic to help balance the normal flora. In July I had the WORST yeast infection of my whole life. I had only had one prior to this but this was awful!!  I did two rounds of Diflucan, a drug that helps kill fungus.  With in two weeks I had another one.  This was when the remaining symptoms I had started.

The protocol for treating it seemed rigid, but the physical and mental torment that I was going through had to be corrected.  This is NOT my future!  I know what my purpose in life is and I’ve read my patriarchal blessing and this is NOT it!! This debilitating nightmare was stopping everything.

I read and read and read and read! I even joined a Facebook Group that has been UMAZING support!

It was reaffirmed to me that I have Candida overgrowth when I read this article that talks about muscle pain.  This was one of my most debilitating symptoms.

ARTICLE ABOUT MUSCLE PAIN:

After researching as much as I could I started a rough version of  the Candida Diet.  I’ll go further into the specifics below.

I’m not great at writing in a journal and if I had it would have read much like this: Surviving NOT thriving. That would have been my daily entry.

I was in such pain from what they call DIE-OFF.  Die-off occurs when the Candida dies(hence the name) and it releases toxins into your body. I was miserable.  I had read that it gets worse before it gets better.

It is usually just the symptoms you already have MAGNIFIED!

I was feeling so awful and discouraged that I asked my husband for a Priesthood blessing.  In the blessing he said to continue what I was doing but that this was a test of my Faith.  (A test of my faith? Honestly, I’ve been blessed with good health for so long and life was going great and honestly this was a test of my faith.)  That is was important that I had humbled myself and turned to my Heavenly Father for help.

Oddly, this trial has helped my faith to grow.  I have also gained a greater empathy for many other people who I know suffer from long-term ailments. The beautiful people that I interact with in the facebook group have suffered for YEARS! Empathy is priceless!

What I ended up doing to treat it

I know that some people from the facebook group are going to read this so I must state this first,  this was ONLY my experience.  Each body is different and the your symptoms are probably different than mine. Also, if you have suffered for a VERY long time, I’m positive that it will take MUCH longer to recover.  I’m not afraid of Candida Overgrowth but it’s a nasty little thing and shouldn’t be messed with.

Daily Routine

Week 1: DETOX  (I could have been more rigid, but I did the best I could)

I eliminated any foods that contain carbs (well mostly) For the sake of energy, I continued eating Sweet Potatoes and Green Apples. This was strange for me, especially considering I am a HUGE advocate of eating whole grains and legumes.

I sat in the Sauna everyday for 10-15 minutes (a VERY hot bath works too I’ve been told but you have to break a sweat on your forehead)

I exercised enough to break a sweat (about 30 minutes of cardio) This was pretty difficult to do sometimes seeing as I felt like crap.

I drank lemon water, hot and cold (with Stevia-Not all think this is okay but it helped(s) me get through it.)

Chicken, Beef and Fish

green salads with lemon dressing

Took the following vitamins:

Strong Probiotic

CANDEX 

SLEEP!!!!!!

Week 2:

I drink lemon water, hot and cold

30 minutes of Exercise and 10-15 minutes of sitting in the sauna

I drink Bone Broth, sometimes I have veggies in it.  Usually it just seasoned and has onions in it.

Veggies, Nuts and nut butters

Coconut Oil Pulling-this was because I started getting oral thrush from die-off

Milk Thistle to cleanse the Liver

HMF Forte Probiotic 

Magnesium

SLEEP!!!!!

Week 3:

A member of the facebook group mentioned a different method. The Candida Plan by Dr. McCombs.  I don’t follow it rigidly but I’ve adopted many of his theories.  If I were you, and it feels right, I would consider his plan from the get-go!

He recommends:

THORNE SF722 5 Pills 2x a day-within 2 days of me taking it I had a mostly human feeling day.  I was ecstatic!  I literally cried at the gym because I felt like working out for an hour and I felt strong. I thanked my Heavenly Father for some relief.

I started to eat brown rice every other day and adding in berries.  I was so much happier.

I started taking 2 drops of Oil of Oregano, in water, at night. This crap works!  I only take it at night because if I take it during the day, my die-off symptoms are horrible(this means that it’s working but I don’t feel like being a Zombie during the day.)

Milk Thistle to cleanse the Liver

HMF Forte Probiotic 

Magnesium

Drink 2 Tbl of Apple Cider Vinegar

Coconut Oil Pulling

SLEEP!!!

What I’m doing now

I’ll continue with the above treatment for now.  If I have a bad day, it’s usually because I indulged in something sweet the day before. If that happens, I pull up my big-girl panties and strive to be more diligent with the routine that I had been.

I woke up this morning feeling completely like myself.  This hasn’t happened in months!

I’m going to expirament with making my own Kefir so I can have natural probiotics. I’m also starting to take Frankincense Oil.

My heart is broken for those of you that struggle daily.  The only advice I can give is to pray.  Be diligent with what you know is best and pray.

I have added a ton of AMAZON links to this page.  I am an Amazon Affiliate.  If you want to use my links, use them.  If you don’t want to because you think I’m just trying to sell them, please don’t.  These are the actual products I’ve used.  I wrote this article just hoping that someone can stop from suffering.

April Thompson is 37 years old and lives in Houston, Texas. She and her husband have four children. She loves trying new things, including sports, foods, and crafts. She is a homemaker, blogger, hair and makeup artist, and personal trainer and currently serves in the Young Women’s auxiliary. She loves teaching the youth about the Word of Wisdom, health and fitness.

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2 Comments

  1. Michelle {Fun On a Dime} - February 6, 2015

    How much and how often do you take the Frankincense Oil? I’ve done something similar, but kind of figured it out on my own since I had just had a baby/nursing and felt like I couldn’t do all the supplements everyone else was doing in the forums but now she’s old enough. I swear the poor girl had a light case of thrush for over a year.

    • April - February 9, 2015

      Hi Michelle,
      I usually rub it on my chest right before bed. I’m not an expert in essential oils but it does seem to help. That’s too bad about your daughter. I hope all goes well!

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