By Paul J. Dunn, MD
Contrary to popular thinking, candidiasis is not an isolated infectious disease entity but rather a symptom of a disordered immune system. It has characteristics of infection, but there is more to it than that. Invariably other factors are involved, such as food and chemical sensitivities, reactive hypoglycemia, trace-mineral imbalance, accumulations of toxic materials, allergy to the yeast itself, emotional and other stresses, and musculoskeletal imbalance. At a recent candida-update conference sponsored by The International Health Foundation, Inc. it was recommended that because of its multifaceted ramifications, this condition be referred to as Candida-Related Complex (CRC).
Many readers are already familiar with the precipitating factors in this illness, the most common being repeated use of antibiotics and oral contraceptives; pregnancy; and exposure to toxins. Frequent complicating disorders are parasite infestation, depression of thyroid function, low hydrochloric acid in the stomach, mitral-valve prolapse, and chronic viral infections such as Epstein-Barr. Common symptoms are fatigue, food intolerance, digestive disturbances, alcohol intolerance, chronic vaginal discharge, poor memory, depression, chemical sensitivities, premenstrual syndrome, anxiety, emotional disturbance, headache, abnormal weight gain, and craving for sweets.
Physical examination of patients with these symptoms ordinarily reveals nothing abnormal except for an obvious vaginal discharge. Tests usually produce results "within the normal range." Patients are told "There is nothing wrong with you."
Because of the complicated nature of this condition there are no quick and easy answers. Actually, there are answers. But first all possible causes of the underlying problem must be investigated by means of an integrated evaluation beginning with a detailed medical history. This would be followed by a comprehensive blood and hair analysis, checking cells for trace minerals and toxic minerals; an evaluation of digestion; tests for food and chemical sensitivities and other allergies; tests of immune-system functioning; and other tests such as glucose-tolerance test, as needed. Procedures specific for candida are cultures, smears, and blood tests for candida antibodies. Based on all this information, the doctor can design a treatment plan that leads to relief of symptoms and to optimal health.
Treatment involves the use of appropriate medication, such as nystatin, Nizoral®, or caprylic acid; treating the food, chemical, and other sensitivities; appropriate diet; and specific nutritional supplements according to individual chemical findings. A lactobacillus supplement is necessary for several months to replace the normal bacteria in the intestinal tract.
Diet is a very important aspect of treatment. Although specific recommendations vary from one physician to another, all physicians recommend avoiding or at least limiting refined sugar products. Total carbohydrate recommendations differ. Individual patient needs vary with sex, age, personal habits, and medical condition, and this uniqueness must be considered. Inordinate diet restrictions may lead to increasingly poor nutrition, to additional food sensitivities, and to being simply bored with eating. Diet restrictions and the psychosocial aspects need to be periodically evaluated; appropriate consultation and instruction are critical to success. Alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, and foods that obviously contain yeast are to be avoided. A detailed diet analysis precedes diet recommendations.
Most patients with CRC are women, but men and children are also affected. In some instances the yeast is passed back and forth between husband and wife. Chronic prostatitis from yeast can occur and is difficult to eradicate. Many children develop a milk sensitivity, which can result in recurrent middle-ear infections, which are treated with antibiotics, which leads to yeast overgrowth and eventually to Candida-Related Complex. Psychological problems carried as biochemical stresses within the body often prevent the patient from getting well until they are treated with body therapy and psychological counseling.
There is growing evidence that Candida-Related Complex is a common, ubiquitous fact of life. It is essential that physicians realize this and become competent in its diagnosis and treatment as they are to help the many patients so affected.
Article from NOHA NEWS, Vol. XIV, No. 1, Winter 1989, page 3.