Last updated March 11, 2024 by Lisa Richards, CNC   Reviewed by Katie Stone, ND.

Has Your Candida Been Misdiagnosed?

Candida misdiagnosis - it can be confused for Crohns, IBS, yeast infections, headaches and more.

Candida overgrowth is one of the most widespread health issues today, but few people understand much about it. Worst of all, many doctors and other health professionals don’t understand it very well either.

Candida albicans is a type of yeast that lives naturally in the body, usually without causing any harm. However, when the immune system is compromised or certain species of bacteria in the gut are lost, Candida can progress into an infection.

There are multiple different types of Candida infection. For many people, it originates in the gut. Others may also find themselves suffering from oral thrush or superficial infections elsewhere on the body.

Candida overgrowth has been linked to many chronic illnesses, especially those related to poor digestion. Some of the symptoms of Candida overgrowth include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Inability to concentrate or brain fog
  • Poor digestion
  • Recurring yeast infections
  • Oral thrush
  • Respiratory infections, sinus infections
  • Food allergies/intolerances
  • Fungal infections on the skin and nails
  • Weak or compromised immune system
  • Joint inflammation and pain
  • Low mood or depression

One of the most obvious signs of Candida overgrowth is gut dysbiosis. This, too, is not well understood, although it affects a high proportion of adults and children. If you suffer from several of the symptoms mentioned above, it is very possible that you are also suffering from a Candida overgrowth in your gut.

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Unfortunately, not all doctors are able to recognize gut-related conditions such as Candida.

If you go to a doctor complaining of fatigue, you may end up with a diagnosis of depression. Chronic sinus infections are often treated with antibiotics. Yeast infections are treated with steroid creams or prescription antifungal medications.

Although these pharmaceutical treatments may be effective for the short-term, they rarely get to the root of the problem, and they often come with both short-term and long-term side effects.

Why Does Candida Misdiagnosis Occur?

As with many cases of misdiagnosis, it usually comes down to time. Doctors only have time to focus on the most obvious symptoms – that is, the ones that seem to stand out more than others. This is often the case with conditions such as IBS, arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and other chronic illnesses. All of these may in fact be linked to gut imbalances like Candida overgrowth.

When this happens, a doctor will usually send you home with a prescription for antibiotics, pain relief or corticosteroids to ease any inflammation. These may provide relief – but only temporarily.

Another difficulty in diagnosing Candida overgrowth is that it is difficult to test for. Even if your doctor assesses your intestinal Candida levels with a stool test, it’s almost impossible to know ‘tolerant’ your body is to the Candida yeast and its byproducts.

Some people can tolerate higher yeast populations better than others: someone with a strong constitution may be able to host large populations of Candida yeast and only suffer minor symptoms. Someone with a yeast intolerance may suffer terrible symptoms from only a mild Candida overgrowth.

How to Avoid Candida Misdiagnosis

If you’ve been researching your symptoms and you believe that you have Candida overgrowth, be sure to share your suspicions with your doctor. It may help them to understand how you’re feeling and give them the groundwork for making a better diagnosis.

Explain all your symptoms (bring a written list!) and why you think they could be related to a yeast imbalance in your gut. Most importantly, tell your doctor how your symptoms are making you feel and your general level of discomfort.

Remember, it’s still possible that your symptoms can be caused by something else, so allow your doctor to check this, too!

Dealing With A Candida Diagnosis

If you’ve been to your doctor and received a diagnosis for something other than Candida overgrowth – but you think it’s definitely Candida you’re suffering from – you may need to seek a second opinion.

it’s a good idea to consider seeing a natural health practitioner. A naturopath, for example, is a health professional who will try to treat your condition holistically: that is, by examining the cause rather than treating just the symptom.

A naturopathic consultation will take much longer than a doctor’s visit, and will cost more, but it will mean that you get a comprehensive investigation into your health. Your diet, lifestyle, health history and other relevant factors will be discussed, as well as whatever symptoms or concerns you have.

Instead of a ‘quick fix’ treatment, you will be given a full treatment plan that aims to heal your entire body. In the case of an intestinal Candida overgrowth, this could involve changes to your diet, supplementing with natural antifungal medicine and probiotics, engaging in certain other therapies, and, most importantly, regular checkups on your progress.

If visiting a naturopath is not an option for you, you can still try to heal yourself. Candida overgrowth is not going to go away on its own: you need to be active in treating the cause of your symptoms. In many cases, this will begin with a Candida diet.

Whether you suffer from yeast overgrowth or not, a low-sugar diet is generally a healthy option. Sugar is the number one ‘food’ for Candida albicans, but it can also wreck your health in multiple other ways. There are very few benefits to your health from eating added sugars.

Candida Misdiagnosis: A Tricky Situation

While we tend to rely on doctors for their professional advice, they don’t always get it right. At the same time, the internet doesn’t always get it right, either! It really comes down to knowing what symptoms to look for, and examining the factors that could be contributing to your ill health.

There is plenty of information available for treating yeast overgrowth or gut dysbiosis.

Diet is one of the biggest factors. Your first steps should be in restoring your gut health with a wholesome diet containing anti-inflammatory, low-sugar, high fiber foods.

Don’t forget to take the right supplements too. Natural antifungal herbs and probiotics can be just as effective as any antifungal medication a doctor gives to you, with far fewer side effects.

For lots more information on diagnosing a Candida overgrowth, as well as lots of delicious recipes to use on your Candida diet, check out our Ultimate Candida Diet program.

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  1. Mary Dew says:

    I am disabled and was so sick of being told by my doctor that my legs and feet were so swollen because of the disability. Because of this I searched for and took a saliva and a urine test using special pads which changed colour when spat on or peed on. The colour results were then sent to a medical group to compare with their diagnosis of possible illnesses. My diagnosis of Candida albicans was very interesting and I immediately took the advice given and changed my diet which was sugar free etc and to eat garlic with probiotics. The result was the loss of 32 lbs in weight, mainly water. This was approximately 10 years ago. I am again suffering with the illness because I have been eating the wrong things, which proves the test results were correct. I have changed my diet again to follow the Candida Albicans. I have told my doctor many times but that is as far as it goes as no interest is taken. I am given diuretics which do not work so I will be following a diet which does. My symptoms have been bad indigestion, very many food allergies causing migraines, swollen legs preventing me from standing, fatigue, brain fog and cellulitis. In the last 4 months my doctor has prescribed me 5 courses of antibiotics which only initially work. I know from experience that I am going to become well again following the Candida Albicans diet.

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