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Classical Homeopath
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Articles by Tamara Der-Ohanian, DSHM

Homeopathy for Candida

As published in the September 2004 Vitality Magazine

While I’ve been fortunate enough not to suffer with candida, I recently decided to go on the ‘candida diet’ to get first-hand experience on what some of my patients with candida have to endure. Giving up my morning coffee and bran muffin, for a boiled egg, some almonds and a glass of water, was demoralizing. After 2 days of no bread, I marched into the health food store and demanded yeast free bread. They handed me a small dark loaf that could easily anchor a boat. I was on the verge of tears when I discovered I could no longer enjoy my daily dose of apple juice. “But apple juice is good for you!; I protested vehemently, on the brink of an emotional temper tantrum. Despite my dissent and peevishness, I persevered with the diet and was delighted to discover more energy and a slightly smaller waistline at the end of the four-week period.

What is Candida

Candida, a single celled fungal yeast, is an organism that is present in the alimentary canal, or gut, of nearly every individual soon after birth. Since it is among the most prolific organisms on earth, it is impossible to keep candida out of the body. In healthy individuals it does little harm because its population is kept under control by beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus Acidophilus. However when a person’s immune system is compromised because of antibiotics and other drugs, poor diets, illness or stress, candida can quickly proliferate causing a multitude of health problems.

Candida Albicans remains the most common infectious strain, accounting for approximately 50% of total candida infections; Candida glabrate (8-18%) tropicalis (11-25%) parapsilosis (7-15%) and krusei (2-4%) have emerged as formidable players as well.[1] While the human colonic microbiota is composed of well over 500 different species of bacteria and population levels can reach 1012 per gram of stool content, it is the decline of the friendly genera of bacteria, Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, that promote most health problems. [2]

The overgrowth of candida in the body is called candidiasis. Candidiasis in the mouth is known as oral thrush. Diaper rash in babies can be caused by candida. Vaginal yeast infections in women are a result of candida albicans present in the large intestine. Thus treating yeast infections locally, with anti-fungal drugs, is merely treating the symptom and, as most women suffering with chronic yeast infections know, temporary.

According to Andrew Lockie, M.D., 30% of everyone in the world over 12 years, especially women, is suffering from yeast related illnesses because of candida. Studies have found a strong correlation between vaginal and intestinal cultures of candida. It is interesting that there has been a 2-fold increase in the relative frequency and total incidence of vaginitis since approximately 1970, which corresponds to a decrease in incidence of gonorrhea and trichomonal vaginitis. The single most likely reason for this is the increased use of antibiotics, both therapeutically in humans, and as sub-therapeutic doses in animal feeds.[3]

Health Problems Related to Candida Overgrowth

When harmful yeasts, such as candida albicans, proliferate, they block the sites of the bowel where the enzymes necessary for the breakdown of food inhabit. This results in poor digestion, food sensitivities/allergies, bloating and gas, and altered bowel habits such as constipation and diarrhea. Often these complications are collectively diagnosed as IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. An overgrowth of candida in the colon can also inhibit the absorption of essential nutrients, creating vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

During proliferation, the candida cell can change from its simple form, which looks like a microscopic fried egg, to a complex invasive form, which grows roots that can penetrate the bowel wall. Subsequently, the lining of the small intestines becomes damaged, causing it to lose its inherent elasticity and allowing toxic substances and undigested proteins to pass through the lining and into the blood stream. This condition is often referred to as leaky gut syndrome. Once it penetrates the bowel walls, the candida can produce and release, into the bloodstream, over 75 known toxic waste products that poison the human body and weaken the immune system. One of such waste products is acetaldehyde and the bi product ethanol. Ethanol can cause excessive fatigue, reduce strength and take away ambition. It also causes the release of free radicals and encourages aging. By penetrating the bowel wall the candida also gains transportation to other parts of the body where infections can arise, resulting in conditions like chronic cystitis, yeast and other vaginal infections, sinus, ear and throat infections, inflammation of the digestive tract, food allergies, gas and bloating.

Candida overgrowth may also cause women to experience fertility difficulties and can bring about birth defects in newborns. [4] According to Bernard Rimland, PhD. of the Autism Research Institute in San Diego, California, based on the significant amount of information gathered to date, it seems highly probable that a small, but significant proportion of children diagnosed as autistic are in fact victims of a severe candida infection. Dr. Rimland further believes that the successful treatment of the candida infection in these children will result in a dramatic improvement of the autism symptoms.

Symptoms stemming from candidiasis are too numerous to mention. The fact that Candida can rob the body of its nutrition and poison the tissues with its toxins is a major contributor, directly or indirectly, to the following partial list of conditions: ADHD, Adrenal/thyroid failure, Allergies, Anal irritation/itching, Asthma, Athlete’s food, Bad breath, Blood sugar (low), Colitis, Colon cancer, Constipation, Chemical sensitivity, Chronic cystitis, Colds & flu (recurring), Crohn’s disease, Depression, Diabetes, Diarrhea, Endometriosis, Epstein Bar virus, Fatigue (chronic), Food cravings, Finger/toenail fungus, Gas/Bloating, Headaches, Heartburn, Hemorrhoids, Hiatal hernia, Hormone imbalance, Hyperactivity, Impotence, Indigestions, Infertility, Insomnia, Intestinal pain, Irritability, Jock itch, Lupus, Mood swings, Muscle aches, PMS, Poor memory, Premature aging, Respiratory problems, Sex drive (diminished), Skin rashes & hives, Ulcers, Vaginal yeast, Weight problems (over or under)[5]

Predisposing Factors to Candida Overgrowth

  • Use of antibiotics can reduce the number of friendly intestinal bacteria, which normally keep candida under control.
  • Hormonal imbalance, caused by the birth control pill, hormone replacement therapy and multiple pregnancies.
  • Prolonged use of steroid hormones, immunosuppressant and anti-inflammatory drugs, chemotherapy drugs and ulcer medications or acid blockers.
  • Diet high in refined sugars and carbohydrates.
  • Weakened immune system from diseases such as cancer or AIDS.
  • Diabetics whose blood sugar levels are not well controlled. High sugar levels in the blood and urine promote yeast growth.
  • Certain genetic disorders, such as celiac disease (which involves intestinal malabsorption) or hemochromatosis (in which iron accumulates in body tissue).
  • Excessive emotional or physical stress. Stress causes the release of the hormone cortisol, which depresses the immune system as well as raises blood sugar.
  • Intestinal parasites can destroy friendly bacteria allowing candida to proliferate.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption overloads the liver, kills friendly bacteria and allows candida to grow.
  • Toxic metals and chemicals such as mercury (found in dental amalgams and sometimes seafood), aspartame, MSG and others can kill friendly intestinal bacteria and weaken the immune response.
  • A moist, warm environment encourages fungal growth. Prime areas include the webs of fingers and toes, nails, genitals and folds of skin.
  • Use of vaginal sponges and intrauterine devices (IUDs).
  • Obesity (over 20% overweight).
  • Thrush is a common minor infection in babies and young children. Babies and children who suck their fingers are at higher risk for cutaneous candidiasis.
  • Candida in the male genital area, known as balanitis, has been found to be more common in uncircumcised males or diabetics, and can also result from intercourse with an infected partner.
  • In exceptional cases, the candida fungus may invade the bloodstream through surgical wounds, an intravenous (IV) tube, urinary catheter or tracheostomy site. If the infection travels to other organs, such as the kidneys, lungs or the brain, it can cause serious systemic complications.

What Homeopathy Can Do

Homeopathy is a gentle but powerful approach to curing many physical and emotional ailments. When an individual goes to a medical doctor for a specific disease, they are given a medication that will eliminate the symptoms of that disease. If, however, the reason for the symptoms still exists then the problem will return, either in the same or more complex form. The reason for this is that the core problem wasn’t addressed. This is called suppression and Classical Homeopath recognizes the clear distinctions between suppression and cure. Homeopathy aims to target and eliminate the root cause. As a result, the symptoms, which were mere signals alerting you of the root cause in the first place, fade away.

Since homeopathic treatment of a disease is very individual, each person suffering with candidiasis will most likely be prescribed a different homeopathic remedy. The remedies are matched to the unique symptoms produced by each individual. A homeopath does not need to know the medical label of a given disease in order to cure it. The person’s medical history, combined with their familial predisposition, their symptoms, feelings, fears, phobias, dreams and other details about the person, will guide the homeopath to the indicated remedy.

Homeopathy proposes that we all have a vital force, or life force, that sparks and organizes our existence. It is suffused throughout our being and connects the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual planes and keeps them healthy. This primordial organizing force may be thought of as a form of intelligent energy. Homeopathy considers all illness to be a weakness, disturbance or blockage of the vital force, which your body tries to correct by creating physical, mental and emotional changes called symptoms. And when your vital force is not up to doing the job alone, homeopathy steps in to give you a helping hand and move you along the path to wellness.[6]

Case history #1 ‘Fascist’ was how Eleanor referred to the prolific occupants of her intestines. The 44-year-old history teacher had been suffering with fatigue, constipation, insomnia and recurring vaginal yeast infections for 3 years when she sought homeopathic treatment. She had tried the strict candida dieting, which had temporarily improved her energy levels, but was unable to stick to it for long periods. The initial consultation revealed a long history of ‘tetracycline’ use for acne. The acne was under control, but Eleanor had not been well since the antibiotics. Two doses of homeopathic China Officinalis, over a period of 6 weeks, eliminated her insomnia, yeast infections and improved her constipation by 50%. The 6-month homeopathic treatment combined with probiotic supplements restored Eleanor’s vitality.

Case history #2 “It’s nothing! It will go away!”; is what Maria’s medical doctor told her when she complained of severe abdominal pain, excessive gas and bloating, and constipation alternating with diarrhea. Maria had gone to several specialists, enduring several blood, urine and kidney tests, as well as colonoscopy and cystoscopy, all of which showed ‘normal’ results. After 8 years of suffering, her intestines had stopped functioning properly and her peristaltic action was very weak. Everything Maria ate produced gas causing her great discomfort. To avoid embarrassing situations with gas, and diminish her numerous false signals to have bowel movements, Maria would not eat all day. When I started treating Maria 5 years ago, I was unaware of her diagnosis. After careful examination of her medical history and specific symptoms, I prescribed Sepia 12C daily. In a matter of days the gas and bloating had diminished noticeably. After 2 months, the abdominal pains disappeared completely, and one year later Maria had regained 75% of her bowel functioning. Two years of homeopathic treatment, a healthy diet, and probiotic supplements awarded Maria optimal health.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Since most of us have been exposed to candida and have developed antibodies to this fungus, it is difficult to detect it through serology (study of blood serum). Electrodermal testing (EDT) systems, such as “Intero”, and Live-blood Analysis are commonly used to diagnose candida, and are sometimes considered to be inexact. More reliable methods of diagnosing candida are medical history, the presence of the symptoms mentioned earlier as well as the predisposing factors.

First step to recovery is to starve the candida with the ‘candida diet’, which restricts yeast, refined carbohydrates, and all forms of sugar, including most fruits. There is lots of free ‘candida diet’ information on the internet, two of which can be found as follows: http://www.candidadiet.com and http://www.healingyou.com/living/ article2.asp. The second step in combating candida is the consumption of high potency probiotics such as acidophilus and bifidus. The final and most important step to overcoming candida permanently is to strengthen your immune system through carefully prescribed homeopathic medicines.

For many years, holistic practitioners and doctors have maintained that the health of an individual is directly related to the health of their digestive tract. Modern living, poor diets and antibiotic and other drugs are upsetting the delicate balance of our gastrointestinal microflora. Candida is an incredible destroyer of health and is the main missing link in many of our modern day diseases and sub-health conditions.

If you are feeling fatigued and sick all over, have a few or more of the predisposing factors and symptoms mentioned earlier, and doctors cannot diagnose the cause of your ailments, you may be a victim of candidiasis. Whether or not you suffer from candidiasis, I challenge you to try the candida diet. You will be pleasantly surprised with the results.


References
[1] http://www.customprobiotics.com/candida.htm
[2] Atwood & Gibson, Aspects of Probionic use in Preventive Medicine.
Food Microbial Science Ynit, Department of Food Science and Technology, The University of Reading, UK.
[3] Lockie, Andrew, M.D. & Geddes, Nicolla, M.D., The Women’s Guide to Homeopathy, Penguin Books Limited, 1992, p 77.
[4] Parks Trowbridge, John, M.D. & Walker, Morton, The Yeast Syndrome, Bantam Books, 1986, p11.
[5] http://www.candidayeastinfections.com
[6] Bruning, N. & Weinstein, C., M.D., Healing Homeopathic Remedies, Lynn Sonberg Book Services, 1996, p. 13

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Tamara Der-Ohanian, DSHM, is a Homeopathic Physician practicing in Toronto. She can be reached at (416) 385-1001, or visit her web site at www.tamarader-ohanian.com

Winner! 2012 Best of Canada natural health awards