Thankfully, more and more doctors are acknowledging the importance of a whole body, ecology based approach to health. Those who have made the effort to learn about Candida Related Complex usually pursue extra training beyond the conventional and may describe their approach as Functional Medicine or Holistic Medicine. Some MD's (Medical Doctors) are also trained ND's (Naturopathic Doctors). This makes for a rare but powerful combination of skills.
Unfortunately even the most progressive and candida-aware MD or ND will be challenged to conclusively diagnose Candida Related Syndrome (CRC) as an exclusive cause to disease. This is because diagnosing CRC is not as simple as a stool test or a blood test.
Multiple modern lifestyle factors contribute to the degenerated health condition inherent in severe CRC. The prevalence of pharmaceuticals, chemically treated drinking water, chemical exposure through our diet, and even, the stress of environmental factors interfere with healthy intestinal ecology. Imbalanced diets, high sugar and starch intake, adulterated fats and other artificial or overly processed foods also weaken health.
Diagnosis by Symptom and History Assessment
A practioner may suspect fungal overgrowth based on a certain combination of symptoms. Definite candida symptoms and at least some of the contributing factors present in your health history will be an important part of the diagnosis. Significant factors that can contribute to the development of CRC include: antibiotics, high sugar, starch or alcohol consumption, stress, intestinal illness, degenerative illness, treatment with chemotherapy drugs, corticosteroids, hormones, birth control pills or other strong pharmaceuticals.
A history of exposure to these contributors does not necessarily indicate candida on it’s own but a combination of these in your history combined with certain common CRC symptoms may influence your practitioner towards a positive diagnosis. Scores a Candida Symptom Assessment Questionnaire is calculated based on a combination of history and symptoms.
If you do show a high score on the questionnaire this does not guarantee that all of your symptoms are caused by yeast overgrowth. Other contributing factors could be at play. In addition to consulting with qualified practitioners, we also need to be our own detectives to decipher the factors that have lead to the degeneration of our health.
Health Enhancing Program
Regardless of which, or how many health challenges are present, clearing candida overgrowth is sure to enhance your overall health picture. Reducing candida levels while improving the ratio of beneficial bacteria to yeast and pathogenic bacteria lowers the level of mycotoxins (released by the pathogens) while supporting immune and liver function. Killing intestinal fungus allows the intestinal membrane to heal and, finally, reducing these pathogens and cleansing the colon removes related putrefaction that suppresses digestive efficiency.
Though new research and laboratory methods are emerging, as mentioned, there are few absolute methods available to diagnose candida overgrowth as a cause of illness. Candida is a naturally occurring organism in the healthy body and different levels of it affect each person differently. This is part of the reason stool tests and blood tests have not been seen as conclusive. It may be impossible to know how tolerant one is to Candida and its by-products. People with a strong constitution may be capable of hosting large populations of Candida fungus with a minimum of symptoms while others, who are more sensitive, may feel a great deal of health stress as a result of mild Candida overgrowth.
It's extra hard for the patient to understand what is happening in their body with such a complex type of imbalance. When searching for an explanation of symptoms, once possible candida issues are identified, it is tempting to label every symptom as being linked to candida. Many symptoms can indeed be caused by this perplexing imbalance but it is also possible to have another illness or toxicity related condition concurrent with CRC.
Two Way Causation
Some illness conditions commonly associated with CRC can increase our chances of developing it as can constitutional weaknesses but the opposite is also true. Having an overgrowth of CRC seems to predispose us to other health problems by weakening our overall resistance.
Clearing Candida may have Multiple Benefits
Reducing one's level of Candida is almost always helpful to improve recovery from other conditions and sometimes it's all that is necessary, especially if the yeast overgrowth happened to be the original illness trigger. However, in other cases, additional intervention for concurrent illnesses is required.
There are several available testing protocols for Candida, each with limited accuracy. As explained above, even the most clinical of these are not able to decipher to what degree Candida is a problem for you.
1-IgG blood testing for serum candida antibody levels (IgG, IgM, and IgA) reveal if you have developed a certain kind of allergic response to Candida. It will not tell you if you have any other kind biochemical reactions to Candida. The test measures markers of our reactions to yeast and it is often the case that our body does not defend itself well against indigenous pathogens like candida.
2-Electro-dermal testing by a naturopath may tell you if Candida overgrowth is the worst problem that your body is currently facing. Results from this testing tends to be priority based, according to the level of stress each condition may be causing your body. If you have other serious illness, even if related to the Candida, your results for candida levels may be deceptively low.
3-Stool testing will tell you if your levels of yeast fall within a "normal" range, which reflects an average of what is normal for other people but may not necessarily indicate a level of yeast that is "normal" for your body.
4-Detailed Questionnaires (such as the Whole Approach Candida Questionnaire) are often used to help identify candida-related health symptoms and history. Having a high initial score on the questionnaire does not mean Candida is the only cause for your symptoms. However, regardless of the degree to which candida overgrowth is affecting you, the Whole Approach diet and product protocol can boost your well being.
The whole-self-health, conscious approach to life that we support here on the forum will help you to unearth a diet and lifestyle that is uniquely right for you and that can enhance your quality of life for many years into the future.
Using the Questionnaire to help you Maintain Objectivity/Perspective as you Progress:
We recommend filling out the questionnaire weekly to help you stay aware of your progress. The objectivity afforded by a weekly assessment can offer the motivation you need to help you stay on track.
You can access the questionnaire through this link:
Diagnostic options (given the above disclaimers):
- CECA (CandiSphere Enzyme Immuno Assay Test) diagnoses candida by detecting antibodies against cytoplasmic proteins of the invasive fungal yeasts.
- Serum or urine Darabinitol test (a hard to find test that identifies this neurotoxic Candida metabolite)
Ask your primary care practioner or specialist to check out Genova Diagnostics as they may the above tests
Problematic Laboratory tests for CRC:
- The yeast-isolation blood test often produces false-negatives
- Candida skin tests. Ineffective because Candida is naturally present on the skin
- Live-blood cell tests with a darkfield microscope can be interesting but not definitive either.
- The symptom assessment Questionnaire, combined with a health history review and an initial trial of the Whole Approach anti-fungal program will give you the clearest indication of whether Candida infestation is a major contributor to your health problems.