How I got rid of my Candida Overgrowth

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I have not posted any projects this year because I have been my #1 project. Here is my story:

I started gaining weight and swelling up like a balloon in my face, hands, and feet a couple of years ago. I also had chronic sinus problems, fatigue, digestive issues, brain fog and insomnia. I tried tons of diets and supplements with no success and was almost ready to give up before I found a great Nurse Practitioner who suggested I take a candida blood test. I didn't have any outward symptoms of yeast and had never had a vaginal yeast infection in my life, but the test came back with off the chart numbers. Within 2 months I went from being all puffy, swollen, tired, and miserable, to normal again and every additional month seems to bring even more health benefits.


I am not trying to sell anything or make any money from my story. What I did to overcome candida overgrowth was a lot of hard work/willpower and no miracle cure MLM company is going to make it magically go away. I didn't spend a ton of money and used diet and a prescription alone to overcome my health problems and now I hope to make a difference in someone else's life by sharing my story.

What is Candida?

Candida is a fungus, which is also considered a form of yeast. Everyone has it and it is healthy and important in small amounts. It lives in your intestines and mouth and helps with digestion and nutrient absorption, however when it gets out of control it eats away the wall of your intestine and gets into your bloodstream causing leaky gut. When Candida infiltrates your bloodstream it releases toxic byproducts which lead to many different health problems. Many of these health problems are symptoms of other diseases, so Candida is often overlooked for many years.

Some of the symptoms of Candida:

  • Sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings
  • Skin issues (eczema, psoriasis, rashes, acne)
  • Thrush, halitosis, canker sores, bleeding gums, metallic taste in mouth
  • Sore throat, sinus congestion, chronic post-nasal drip, asthma, persistent cough and other respiratory issues.
  • Inability to lose weight or weight loss. Water retention
  • Chronic fatigue, tired and worn down
  • Nail and skin fungal infections like toenail fungus and athlete's foot
  • Digestive issues (bloating, constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, mucus in stool, hemorrhoids, rectal itching, stomach cramps)
  • Autoimmune diseases (Hashimoto's, lupus, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, scleroderma)
  • Brain fog and problems concentrating, poor memory, ADD, ADHD, trouble focusing
  • Depression, anger, panic attacks, low libido
  • Insomnia
  • Vaginal infections, urinary tract infections, vaginal itching
  • Itchy ears or severe seasonal allergies

What causes Candida overgrowth?

There are a lot of things that can cause candida, so I will just list the basics:
  • Antibiotics. The healthy bacteria in our guts keeps the candida in check, so destroying that healthy bacteria with antibiotics causes the Candida to get out of control.
  • Eating a lot of sugar and refined carbohydrates feeds the yeast.
  • Stress and elevated cortisol
  • Birth control pills
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Chlorine and fluoride

How I got my candida under control:

First my Nurse Practitioner did a blood test. There are many blood tests by different labs, the blood test she ordered was: 605217 M005-IgG Candida albican by LabCorp.

I bought The Candida Cure by Ann Boroch and followed her 90 day program. The only thing I did different was to take 100 mg of generic Diflucan (Fluconazole) every day for 2 months instead of 3 days which she recommends. I did this under the supervision of my NP and she checked my liver before prescribing the Diflucan. I tried to stop taking it after 1 month, but the swelling in my hands and joint pain would immediately come back, so I took Diflucan for an additional month which seemed to do the trick. After 2 months on Diflucan I switched to Nystatin, then to natural anti-fungals (caprylic acid, coconut oil, garlic, grapefruit seed, oregano oil, pau d'arco).  I still have some Diflucan on hand for occasional bad days when I have slipped up on my diet and feel the swelling coming back in my hands. The book lists all of the food to avoid during the program and what supplements to take. I didn't have any detox symptoms which is unusual and I credit the book for that. I took red clover tea and other supplements recommend in the book to help detox. There are many candida books and programs which probably work just as well, this is just the book I picked up.

In addition to the supplements recommended in the book, I take l-glutamine which my NP recommend to help heal my leaky gut. I also take a-Drenal to heal my adrenals based on a cortisol saliva test I took that showed that I have low cortisol. You can click on the link and buy the saliva test, or ask your doctor. My doctor's office was able to charge my insurance for the test at no cost to me. Tip: Don't buy a-Drenal if you have high cortisol (the only way to tell is with the saliva test) and don't buy it on Amazon. I only provided the link so you know what it is. I paid less for it at my doctor's office and have seen it on other sites for less than Amazon. A good price is around $25. I also take Calm and swear by it (cherry is my favorite flavor). Calm is a magnesium drink that I started taking before I discovered my candida and it has been amazing! Just read some of the reviews on Amazon.

I followed a strict candida diet for 3 months (The Candida Cure) and then a less strict version which I will follow for life. I had to cut out all sugar, most fruit, carbs, gluten, and even some vegetables for 3 months. It was really hard and I dreamt of donuts and other sugary food almost every night. I chewed a lot of dessert flavored gum until I thought my jaw was going to fall off, but I got through it and the results were worth it.

The results:

I lost 25 lbs during the first month and then an additional 5 lbs the second month (most of that weight was water). My face, hands and feet are no longer swollen and my joint pain is gone. My neck is even smaller! I have more energy, am happier, and wear a size 2 again. My brain fog is gone, I don't crave sugar as much, no more insomnia, my bloated stomach and digestive issues are gone, and I generally feel better. I still have chronic sinus problems and a sore throat, but am hopeful that continuing this diet will eventually help those issues. I have been on the diet for 5 months now and have read that it can take a year to get to some of the bigger issues like sinuses.

Update: February 10, 2015

Here are my candida blood tests for 1 year:
(M005-IgG Candida albican blood test)
February 2014: >100 mcg/mL (reference 0-1.9)
Between this test and the next one in April, I followed an extremely strict candida diet and took Diflucan every day for 2 months. As you can see my candida was significantly lowered and I was feeling much better.

April 2014: 20.7 mcg/mL (reference 0-1.9)
After this test I added fruit and a lot of things back into my diet, but I was still really strict about not drinking juice and eating sugar. I took Diflucan about once every 2 weeks when I felt like I needed it in addition to natural anti-fungals daily. My candida lowered even more!
October 2014: 12.6 mcg/mL (reference 0-1.9)
After this test, the holidays hit and I slipped up a lot! I had chocolate, some Halloween candy, some gluten-free cookies my daughter made, and other slip-ups during Christmas and New Years. I kept eating some sugar all the way up until my next blood test. I took Diflucan every time I slipped up which was at least once a week. I thought my candida numbers would be really high again and was pleasantly surprised that they only went up a little.
February 2015: 14.7 mcg/mL (reference 0-1.9)
My goal is to get my numbers down to a single digit by my next blood test in June. I now know that I do not have to give up sugar for the rest of my life and can cheat now and then without terrible consequences. I am going to do a strict cleanse for a month and get my numbers down more, but then I think I will be able to enjoy life as long as I don't indulge too much and keep Diflucan around. Yay!

My Candida Pinterest Board:

Some of these recipes need to be modified to work for a candida diet.
Follow Jen's board Candida Recipes on Pinterest.

My Gluten-Free Pinterest Board:

Some of these recipes can be modified to work with the candida diet and are great for after the diet.
Follow Jen's board Gluten-Free on Pinterest.


Links to products I use:

You don't have to use these specific products to get better, I've just had a lot of people ask me for the links of supplements I use.



7 comments :

  1. Hi, Jen! I love your story. :) I didn't know you had a blog! Yay! Let's be blogging besties! :) I used to do recipes over at http://simplyfreshcooking.com - but since I got very ill with Candida in Jan. 2013, I was forced to stop working and it ended up being a blessing in disguise as my passions have grown beyond that website. I'm starting up a new one soon and am really helping A LOT of people just like me, and I love it!!! Candida is really, really hard, but once you get past the initial 'sucksville' part, you end up with better health than when you started. <3 it!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, let's be blogging besties! Let me know when you get your new blog up so a I can follow you.

      Delete
  2. Thanks, Jen for putting this together!!! This is so helpful!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. So, you cut out all carbs? Or were you eating some veggie carbs?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I ate about 50 grams of carbs a day. Carbs turn to sugar, so they feed candida and are limited on this diet.

      Delete
  4. Well done . A great write up . Did you do a cleanse before starting the 90 day diet ?

    ReplyDelete