The Candida Connection Could Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Candida Overgrowth be Related? What is Candida? The overgrowth of candida, a type of yeast, in the body is called candidiasis. Candidiasis in the mouth is called oral thrush, which is more common among children than adults. Diaper rash in babies can be caused by candida. yeast infections common to women are vaginal yeast infections. Growth of candida in the digestive tract is a highly controversial subject, and is not generally accepted by the medical community. It has been suggested that some incidence of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) could be caused by candidiasis. There are physicians that do treat candidiasis, and there are personal accounts of people who have benefited from treatment for candidiasis. What Causes Candidiasis? There are a variety of theories on how candidiasis can occur. Some of the culprits are listed below. Oral antibiotics kill off the "good" bacteria in the intestine, which allows candida to proliferate. Diets high in sugars. Use of oral contraceptives, steroids, antacids, and anti-ulcer medications. Having a repressed immune system due to medication or disease. Diabetes. Chemotherapy. Multiple pregnancies. Symptoms of Candidiasis There are many symptoms of candida overgrowth in the intestinal tract. These include: Allergies and allergy symptoms, chemical sensitivities. Anxiety, Hyperactivity, Attention Deficit Disorder. Avoiding food helps to alleviate symptoms. Chronic inflammation and irritation of the eye and conjunctivae. Diarrhea, chronic gas, and abdominal cramps alleviated by bowel movements, Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Extreme lethargy. Eye fatigue. Facial rash. Frequent urination. Frequent yeast infections in women. High sugar or mold foods drastically increase symptoms. Hives. Inflammation of the hair follicles (candidiasis folliculitis) of various parts of the body (feet, legs, arms). Lactose intolerance. Muscle weakness and bone pain. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Panic attacks. Psoriasis/seborrheic dermatitis/dandruff, dry, itchy skin. Rectal itching. Sinus problems. Swollen lips/face. Symptoms worse after waking. White tongue and a white coating. Diagnosis of Candidiasis Since candida is a normal resident of the digestive tract, it can be difficult to determine if there is an overgrowth. Some of the tests that might be used to diagnose the problem are listed below. Stool candida culture: Checks a stool sample of the presence of candida. Serum candida antigen titer test: Blood test that measures the concentration (titer) of candida antigens. Serum candida antibody tests: Tests for IgG, IgM, and IgA, which at high levels could indicate candidiasis. Treatment of Candidiasis Once the diagnosis is made, treatment can begin. Treatment usually involves a strict diet along with some anti-fungal medication and acidophilus and bifidus supplements. There is no definitive candidiasis diet that every practitioner and sufferer agrees upon. A list of the more common foods to avoid appears below. Alcoholic beverages. Caffeine. Cheese. Chocolate. Fruits (except for grapefruit, lemon, lime, tangerines, strawberries, cranberries, kiwi, currants, mangoes, bananas & fresh pineapple). Includes fruit juices. Refined Sugars. Left over food (which may contain mold even if refrigerated). Mushrooms Nuts. Soda Pop Yeasts. Foods enriched with yeast (crackers, pasta, etc.). Breads that contain yeast. A prescription anti-fungal medication might be prescribed by the diagnosing physician. Some of the common medications are listed below. Diflucan (Fluconazole) Lamisil (Terbinafine HCl) Nystatin Sporanox (Itraconazole) The use of probiotics may also be effective in treating candida overgrowth. As the candida is scaled back to it's normal levels, the "good" bacteria will need to be replenished. Probiotics can be found in dietary supplements, and in foods. Lactobacillus acidophilus )the "good" bacteria) supplements can be found in natural food stores, or increasingly, even in your local grocery store. Yogurt also contains probiotics. Check the label to be sure that the yogurt contains "live, active cultures". Yogurt products that do not have live cultures will not be beneficial to replenishing healthy bacteria. The Controversy Some physicians maintain that candida is not related to IBS, and that the only people who are considered to be at risk for candidiasis include those whose immune system is repressed through illness or medication. However, as evidenced by the sheer amount of information and personal stories found on the Internet, there are many people who have apparently suffered from candidiasis and found relief through treatment. The debate will most likely continue for years to come as evidence on both sides of the issue is accumulated. However, for people who have gotten a diagnosis and treatment for candidiasis and then experienced a reduction of IBS symptoms - the evidence is clear.