An intestinal yeast infection is caused by an overgrowth of Candida albicans, a type of yeast. Yeast is a type of fungus that can be found in the gastrointestinal tract. Usually, Candida albicans does not cause any health problem, as its population is kept under control by the beneficial bacteria of the intestine and a healthy immune system. But some factors that can weaken the immune system or destroy the beneficial bacteria in the intestine can contribute towards the rapid proliferation of yeast or Candida albicans.
Causes of Intestinal Yeast Infections
As mentioned already, a yeast infection or candidiasis is caused by the overgrowth of Candida albicans, which in turn can be caused by a reduction in the number of friendly bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. This can be caused by the prolonged use of medications like antibiotics.
Certain medications and disorders that can weaken the immune system can also cause of intestinal yeast infections. Conditions like HIV/AIDS can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of developing a fungal infection of the intestine. Apart from these, cancer treatment like chemotherapy, steroids, a poor diet, and illnesses like diabetes can put an individual at an increased risk of developing this infection.
Intestinal Yeast Infection Signs
An overgrowth of yeast in the intestine can eventually affect several parts of the body. As a result, this condition can produce a large number of symptoms, of which some common symptoms are:
- Gas and bloating
- Constipation and flatulence
- Stomach or intestinal cramps
- Food sensitivity
- Chronic fatigue
- Recurrent vaginal infections
- Frequent urinary infections
- Muscle and joint pain
- Athlete's foot and jock itch
- Rectal itching
- Mood swings
- Problems in concentration and poor memory
- Frequent acne breakouts
- Severe premenstrual syndrome
- Oral thrush
- Prostate problems
This infection can be treated with the help of medications and dietary modifications. Basically, one needs to follow a yeast infection diet that excludes the foods on which yeast thrives. Some foods that can aggravate the symptoms of yeast infections are, sweets, sugar, fruit and fruit juices, bread, baked goods (like cakes, pastries and cookies), processed food, refined carbohydrates, sauces and condiments, mushrooms, alcohol, vinegars, pickles, smoked and dried meat, processed cheese, tea, coffee, malt and food containing malt, peanuts and peanut products, honey, maple syrup, and simple carbohydrates like corn syrup, white flour, and white rice.
A yeast infection diet should include fresh vegetables (raw or steamed), complex carbohydrates like whole grains, beans, fresh proteins in the form of fresh chicken, beef, pork, eggs, and fish, unprocessed nuts, lemon juice, and unrefined olive, sesame, and corn oil. Plain unsweetened yogurt is another food that can be included in the diet. In fact, it is considered an effective home remedy for this condition. Certain other home remedies for yeast infections are raw garlic, onion, and colloidal silver.
Even dietary supplements like probiotics and digestive enzymes can help alleviate the painful symptoms of this infection. But if all these measures fail to relieve the symptoms, then it is better to get the condition properly evaluated with the help of your physician. For a severe infection of the intestine, medications can be prescribed by your physician along with supplements and dietary changes. Usually, antifungal medications are used for treating candidiasis.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.