Assessing my level of Candida
Thankfully, more and more doctors are acknowledging the importance of a whole body, ecology based approach to health. Functional Medicine or Holistic Medicine MD's (Medical Doctors) may understand candida issues. Even more likely if they are also trained ND's (Naturopathic Doctors). The combination of both qualifications is rare but it happens!
Unfortunately, because it affects most body systems at least somewhat and because it mimics many other issues, even the most progressive and candida-aware MD or ND will be challenged to confidently diagnose Candida Related Syndrome (CRC) let alone be able to match specific symptoms to it conclusively. It is not as simple as a stool test or a blood test.
Multiple modern lifestyle factors contribute to the degenerated health that is 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, making us more susceptible to such an imbalance.
Diagnosis by Symptom and History Assessment
A practioner may suspect fungal overgrowth based on a certain combination of symptoms. They will be looking for specific candida symptoms and at least some potential contributing factors in your health history. They'll be on the look out for a history of antibiotics, high sugar, starch or alcohol consumption, high 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 common CRC symptoms may influence your practitioner towards a positive diagnosis. The Candida Symptom Assessment Questionnaire calculates the likelihood that you have candida overgrowth 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 and practice methodical experiments with our diet therapy.
Health Enhancing Program
Regardless of which, or how many health challenges are present, clearing candida overgrowth can enhance your overall health picture. Lowering levels of intestinal fungus allows the intestinal membrane to heal and, finally, reducing these pathogens and cleansing the colon removes related putrefaction that suppresses digestive efficiency.
Reducing candida levels while improving the ratio of beneficial bacteria to yeast and pathogenic bacteria lowers the level of mycotoxins from the pathogens and supports immune and liver function.
Though new research and laboratory methods are emerging, there are no 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.
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 . Food and environmental reactions are common, for example
Some illness conditions commonly associated with CRC can increase our chances of developing it but the opposite is also true. Having an overgrowth of CRC seems to predispose us to other health problems by weakening our overall resistance.
There are several available testing protocols for Candida, each with some accuracy. As explained above, even the most clinical of these are not able to decipher to what degree Candida is a problem for you. The most important strategy emphasizes a whole-self health-conscious approach to life. You will develop a diet and lifestyle that is uniquely right for you and that can enhance your quality of life now and into the future.
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 only identify this type of sensitivity, not other biochemical reactions to 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 may be deceptively low.
3-Stool testing will only 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.
5- CECA (CandiSphere Enzyme Immuno Assay Test) diagnoses candida by detecting antibodies against cytoplasmic proteins of the invasive fungal yeasts.
6- 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 do the above tests
The Questionnaire for Objectivity and Perspective as you Progress:
We recommend filling out the questionnaire weekly to help you stay aware of your progress. This regular assessment can boost motivation and help you stay on track. You can access the questionnaire through this link:
Problems with Diagnosing 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 help you determine if Candida is a major contributor to your health problems.