Last updated April 29, 2019 by Lisa Richards, CNC

Candida Overgrowth: Causes, Symptoms & Diagnosis

All about Candida

There is a lot of information about Candida available online, but not all of it is particularly useful. For example, you might read claims like “70% of people have Candida overgrowth.”

This is not too far from the truth – a Rice University study found that 70% of us have Candida albicans in our guts. But the reality is that for most people this is not a problem at all. Candida albicans only becomes an issue when it overgrows, usually as a result of diet or antibiotics.

Another popular claim is that many people have systemic Candida, and that Candida albicans escapes through the intestinal membrane into the bloodstream before spreading around the body. Again, this is not correct.

Candida does damage the intestinal lining, but it rarely moves around in the bloodstream, except in the most immunocompromised patients. What actually happens is that the toxins released by Candida (acetaldehyde, uric acid, etc) leave the gut and make their way around the body. That’s how brain fog happens, for example.

On this page you can find links to lots more information about Candida overgrowth. This includes how to recognize it, what causes it, how to diagnose it, and much more.

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Once you have read up about Candida and feel that you understand it, it’s time to take action. You can check out the sections in this website on eating a healthy diet, boosting your gut flora with probiotics, and fighting Candida with antifungals.

If you would like to read a more comprehensive guide to beating Candida, there is also our Ultimate Candida Diet program. I wrote it with Dr. Eric Wood, and it contains everything you need to know about the supplements, diet, and lifestyle changes needed to fight Candida. It also includes more than 50 anti-inflammatory, low sugar, gluten-free recipes.

Here are the sections on this page:

What Is Candida Overgrowth?

Are you suffering from gut dysbiosis and a Candida overgrowth? The symptoms of Candida can include brain fog, fatigue, bloating, digestive issues, repeated yeast infections, and much more. If these sound familiar, read on to learn more about how this yeast might be affecting your health.

  • Is Candida Making Your Sick? 
    If you’re not sure what Candida overgrowth is, this is the place to start. Let’s take a look at what Candida albicans does, what the symptoms of Candida are, and what you can do to treat it.
  • What Is Candida Albicans? 
    Learn all about this troublesome yeast, and how it adapts to evade your immune system. Candida albicans is present in most of us, but it only starts causing problems when risk factors like antibiotics or a high sugar diet allow it to expand through your gut.
  • What Causes Candida? 
    Candida can be triggered by antibiotics, diet, stress and more. Modern life is full of possible causes for your Candida overgrowth. Do any of these risk factors apply to you?
  • Candida: Acid Or Alkaline? 
    A Candida overgrowth is more likely if your intestinal tract becomes too alkaline, which allows Candida albicans to switch to its fungal form. This page contains some useful tips for maintaining the correct acidity in your gut.
  • Could Candida Have Caused Your Allergies? 
    Leaky Gut Syndrome is linked closely to Candida overgrowth. Learn how it might be the answer to why you are getting food sensitivities and other allergies.
  • How Is Adrenal Fatigue Related To Candida?
    Adrenal fatigue is a common symptom of Candida overgrowth. An overloaded immune system and unstable blood sugar can weaken the adrenal glands. Replenishing your adrenal glands will get you one step closer to beating it.
  • Candida And Stubborn Weight Gain
    One of the symptoms of Candida is weight gain. There are a few reasons why this happens, including sugar cravings and the toxic metabolites that Candida albicans produces.
  • A Candida Diet For Pregnant Women
    You can follow a modified version of the Candida Diet while you are pregnant. Get all the nutrients you need by eating low-sugar fruit, lean protein and complex carbs. Doctor supervision is advised.
  • Nursing Your New Baby While On The Candida Diet
    You need to be careful what you eat when you are nursing a new baby. Check out this page for some ideas. Getting sufficient nutrition for you and your baby is the most important thing.
  • Why Does My Yogurt Contain Sugar?
    All yogurt contains some natural sugars, but as long as there is no added sugar you should be OK. If you make your own yogurt, there is a way to lower the sugar content even further.
  • Why Are There Bacteria In Your Gut?
    The conventional wisdom used to be that we didn’t need those microorganisms in our guts. Modern research has shown that these symbiotic organisms are essential to our wellbeing.
  • The Link Between Candida And Chronic Inflammation
    An inflammatory response is your body’s way of dealing with Candida and its byproducts. This inflammation contributes to many of the symptoms regularly associated with Candida.
  • What Are Candida Biofilms?
    Candida albicans is a remarkable organism with many different ways to survive. One method it uses is to build protective structures named biofilms, which hide it from your immune system.
  • Candida, Inflammation, And Your Gut Flora
    When most people think of inflammation, they associate it with conditions like arthritis and allergies. But there is also a strong connection between imbalances in your gut flora and the level of inflammation in your body.
  • How Does Candida Penetrate The Intestinal Walls And Cause Leaky Gut?
    Some of the most common symptoms of a Candida overgrowth are food sensitivities. These are a result of Leaky Gut Syndrome, a condition that often accompanies Candida.
  • The Connection Between Sugar And Candida Biofilms
    Biofilms are a way in which Candida albicans attempts to shield itself from both your immune system and treatments like antifungals and probiotics. It needs sugar to build and maintain these biofilms.
  • The Guide to Candida Infographic
    This infographic is a handy quick-start guide to understanding and treating Candida. Check it out, then explore this website to learn more about each section.
  • Why Does Candida Albicans Need Sugar?
    Everyone says that sugar feeds a Candida overgrowth, but why is this the case? Candida needs sugar to build its cell walls, expand through your gut, and create its protective biofilms.

Do You Have Candida?

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of Candida is not always easy. The toxins released by a Candida overgrowth can cause issues in various parts of the body. That’s why symptoms can be as diverse as brain fog, joint pain, and more. Read on to find out if Candida is behind your symptoms.

  • Candida Symptoms
    As a syndrome, the symptoms of a Candida overgrowth can affect almost every part of your body. Typical signs can include brain fog, repeated yeast infections, weight gain, food cravings, fatigue, gas, and a host of other complaints.
  • Testing For Candida
    Not sure if you have a Candida overgrowth? There are lab tests that you or your doctor can order online, which should give you a definitive answer. And there are also some tests that you can try at home.
  • Candida Questionnaire
    Questionnaire can be very useful guides for you and your doctor. They usually focus on the risk factors and symptoms of Candida Related Complex. This page includes Dr Crook’s original Candida questionnaire.
  • Are Yeast Infections Becoming More Common?
    Several studies over the past 10-20 years have noted the increased incidence of yeast infections. To put it simply, yeast infections are becoming more and more common among women of all ages. What is causing this?
  • Hangover Symptoms And Candida: Are They Linked?
    The common factor that we see in both hangovers and Candida overgrowth is an organic chemical named acetaldehyde. This neurotoxin is produced by Candida albicans, and is responsible for symptoms like brain fog.
  • What Is The Link Between Candida And Arthritis?
    A fungal overgrowth can quickly weaken your immune system and leave you vulnerable to infection and disease. But did you know that there are also clear links between those microorganisms living in your gut and arthritis?
  • Oral Thrush And Tooth Decay
    Evidence shows that Candida albicans can contribute to the erosion of your tooth enamel. This really emphasizes the fact that oral thrush should be treated and not be left alone.
  • The Connection Between Gluten Sensitivities And Candida
    Is there a connection between gluten sensitivities and Candida Related Complex? They tend to appear together, and in fact gluten sensitivities are extremely common among Candida sufferers. But is this correlation or causation?
  • Is Candida Causing Your Chronic Sinus Infections?
    You might be surprised to hear that there is a link between sinus infections and Candida. Your regular sinus infections could be caused by the exact same pathogenic fungus that causes digestive problems, yeast infections, headaches, and fatigue.
  • Which Candida Strain Or Subspecies Do You Have?
    Many people struggling with yeast infections or gut dysbiosis often just refer to themselves as just having a problem with ‘Candida’. But the reality is that there are over 150 subspecies of Candida. Thankfully, only 6 are typically associated with problematic infection in humans.
  • Candida And Food Sensitivities: Is There A Connection?
    Leaky Gut Syndrome is a weakening and inflammation of the intestinal wall that is linked to food sensitivities. Most importantly for Candida sufferers, an imbalance in the intestinal flora is often to blame.

What Causes Candida?

There are many things that can cause Candida, but the most common are antibiotics and a high-sugar diet. Let’s take a look at a few of the risk factors. Do you recognize any of them from your own experiences?

  • The 7 Most Common Causes Of Candida
    Antibiotics are top of the list, but they’re not the only trigger for a Candida overgrowth. Other causes can include a high sugar diet, stress, the contraceptive pill, chemical exposure, and diabetes.
  • Should You Take Antibiotics If You’re Sick?
    Antibiotics can be lifesavers, but they can also disturb the vital microorganisms that live in your gut. Candida is just one of the forms of gut dysbiosis that can result.
  • Mold In Your House Can Worsen A Candida Overgrowth
    If you suffering from a yeast overgrowth, you might be more sensitive to the mold in your house. Things like black mold can worsen your Candida symptoms.
  • How Can You Reduce Your Exposure To Chlorine?
    Chlorine can weaken your immune system and cause gut dysbiosis. Avoiding it might be as simple as installing a water filter in your house and minimizing your time in the local swimming pool.
  • Are Antibiotics Overused In Children?
    Young children often have multiple courses of antibiotics by the time they are 5 years old. Evidence is starting to show that there are long term consequences for gut health and overall wellbeing.
  • Can Added Sugars Lead To Depression Too?
    There are so many reasons to avoid added sugars. But did you know that they can lead to depression too? If you feel like your mood has been lower than usual, quitting added sugars might help.
  • Chlorine And Your Immune System
    Chlorine exposure can kill the good bacteria in your gut and weaken your immune system. Are you consuming much more chlorine than you think? Your water supply and your local swimming pool might be the culprits.
  • Are These Supplements Making Your Candida Worse?
    You should check ingredient labels very carefully before you buy a supplement. In this post, I share four ingredients that you really should avoid wherever possible.
  • If You’re On A Candida Diet, Avoid Aspartame
    Aspartame contains no carbohydrates, so at first glance it’s tough to see how it can make Candida worse. But although aspartame does not contain carbohydrates itself, it can still have an impact on your blood sugar.
  • How Can Diet Lead To Repeated Yeast Infections?
    Many women don’t realize this, but eating a consistently high-sugar diet over a long period of time will leave you susceptible to chronic yeast infections.
  • Antibiotics And Your Child
    Antibiotics are one of the major causes of fungal overgrowth and digestive problems like Candida, but they have also been linked to many other serious health problems. This is particularly important in children, whose immune systems are still developing.
  • Candida And Oral Contraceptives
    A University of Michigan study recently suggested typical oral contraceptive use typically doubles the risk for developing Candidiasis. Learn what your options are.
  • Is There Fluoride In Your Drinking Water?
    Just like chlorine, fluoride can also affect the balance of microorganisms in your gut.
  • Can Artificial Sweeteners Lead To Candida?
    Even if you’re on a low sugar diet, artificial sweeteners are not a smart choice. Aspartame and others can disrupt your immune system and destabilize your blood sugar.
  • Are Antibiotics Necessary For Your Illness?
    Do you ask your doctor for antibiotics when they’re not necessary? Does he prescribe them “just in case”? Find out here why taking antibiotics unnecessarily is bad for your health, and why resting up for a few days might be more effective.
  • Here’s Why Processed Foods Might Be Damaging Your Health
    Do you eat processed, packaged food from the supermarket? These foods tend to have little nutritional value and could be worsening your health. Deep fried meals and junk food are just as bad.
  • 16 Important Ways That Sugar Changes Your Body
    It has been estimated that an average adult consumes about 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. Here are 16 ways that sugar will impact your body, including a few that you probably haven’t heard before!
  • Does Stress Affect Your Digestive System?
    What is happening in your brain can actually have a direct impact on the environment in your gut. It can affect the composition of your gut flora, increase inflammation, leave you vulnerable to pathogens like Candida albicans, and slow your digestion.
  • 7 Ways That Alcohol Can Cause Candida
    Alcohol has been shown to weaken the immune system, intensify mood swings, prevent restful sleep, and lower energy levels. If you’re already suffering from an energy-sapping digestive condition like Candida overgrowth, that’s the last thing you need.
  • What Is Stomach Acid, And Why Is It So Important?
    Do you suffer from heartburn, or believe you have excess stomach acid? The reality is that low stomach acid might be the underlying cause. If so, a low sugar diet and probiotics will help.

Reader Experiences

  • Real stories from our readers
    Your experiences of Candida overgrowth. We’ve had thousands of emails from our readers updating us on their progress. With their permission, we’ve reprinted some of them here.
  • Testimonials
    This page contains just a few of the testimonials we have received from readers.

For more detailed information on Candida and how it can affect your health, check out my Ultimate Candida Diet treatment plan. Dr. Eric Wood and I have laid out a detailed plan to beat your Candida and return to perfect health.

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