What is Candida? In biological terms, Candida is a genus of single-celled fungi in the yeast family. However, the frequently used candida definition often refers to the overgrowth of Candida, most often the Candida albicans species.3
What is Candida albicans? – Candida albicans (C. albicans) is the most prevalent species in the Candida genus of yeasts. In humans, small, harmless populations are normally found in the mouth, throat, digestive tract, vagina and on the skin.3
For this reason, Candida albicans is classified as commensal, meaning it benefits from another organism (in this case, a person) without causing harm. However, if conditions within the body change, a person may develop candidiasis, an infection caused by fungus overgrowth.3,4
For those who suspect they have candidiasis, overgrowth can happen quickly and needs to be addressed. But with normal amounts present all of the time, how do you get candida? Candidiasis is the result of an overgrowth of Candida albicans or other Candida species.
Overgrowth that occurs in mouth or throat is commonly known as thrush. Candidiasis that develops in the vagina is frequently referred to as ‘yeast infection’. Candida species can also enter the blood stream and become invasive and lead to serious, life threating infections.3 But what creates overgrowth conditions? The most common candida causes are:5,8
- Change in immune response (i.e., stress, other infections)
- Oral contraceptives
- Environment changes (i.e., variations in pH levels or nutrition)
- Weakened immune system
- Uncontrolled diabetes
Candida overgrowth can play a toll on mental and physical aspects of the body. The most-often reported symptoms of candida include:
- Chronic mental and physical fatigue
- Recurring yeast infections in vagina, bladder, and/or mouth
- Digestive issues such as bloating and gas
To better answer the question ‘do I have candida’ review the full list of Candida symptoms.
Candida Spit Test
There is a popular belief that the “spit test”— a simple DIY candida test — can diagnose candidiasis. According to those who promote the test, the way your morning saliva interacts with a glass of water will tell you if you have candida overgrowth.
However, there is peer-reviewed evidence to support this method as a reliable candida test. While it’s possible that people with candida could get “tell-tale signs” of a positive test, such as spit that sinks or appears stringy, that observation isn’t exclusive to candida. Inflammation from an allergy, virus, or ordinary overnight dehydration could also affect the appearance of your saliva.
There are several options for how to get rid of candida. The most well-known is following a candida diet to starve the excess C. albicans and nourish helpful gut flora.
Other Candida albicans treatment plans can be used alone or in conjunction with a candida diet. How to treat candida often depends on symptoms, which indicate where in the body the overgrowth is occurring.
Coconut oil has potent antimicrobial properties that can be effective at combating candida. In a 2007 in vitro study, researchers noted that coconut oil was active against various strains of Candida when undiluted. 2
While human studies are ongoing, coconut oil may be ingested as a natural candida treatment or applied topically as a candida rash treatment.
If you have thrush or candida esophagitis, treatment usually includes antifungal agent.6 Since candida in the mouth and/or esophagus can make eating painful and reduce the ability to properly process nutrients, it should be treated quickly.
Some health practitioners may begin treatment with a coffee enema. Candida overgrowth in the intestinal tract may promote inflammation. The belief is that by conducting a coffee enema, the coffee’s acidity will helps neutralize and clear out a large amount of C. albicans, subsequently easing inflammation.
People who receive a coffee enema commonly report fewer symptoms related to intestinal inflammation for a short time after the enema. Many consider this a useful practice before starting a candida diet.
Despite the use of coffee enemas, coffee as a beverage should be avoided while combating candida.
It can take time and several kinds of treatment for a true candida cure. Remaining aware of symptoms and sticking to treatment plans will help individuals get back to normal.
There are anecdotal reports that certain nutritional supplements may help reduce the amount of C. albicans in the digestive tract. Using candida supplements may offer a natural or alternative way to prevent and combat candida infections. Ongoing use may help also maintain healthy amounts of C. albicans. Some of the most popular candida supplements include:
- Candida Freedom
- Kyolic Garlic Candida
- Purely Holistic Candida Capsules
- NOW Candida Support
- NusaPure Candida Support
Probiotic supplements may also help restore healthy gut flora.
Candida Die Off
Candida die off is a stage of candida overgrowth treatment. As the excess C. albicans begin to die and return to normal levels, patients may experience a Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction (JHR). This is well-known phenomenon is related to the initial start of antimicrobial treatments and often produces short-term mental or physical side effects.10
Candida Die Off Symptoms
The symptoms of candida die off are often reported as similar to those of a bad cold or flu. While individuals experience candida die off differently, patients may encounter one or more of the following candida die off symptoms list:
- Headache, light-headedness
- Muscle and joint pain
- Swollen glands
- Bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea
- Rapid pulse
- Hives or rashes
In short, candida die off can often leave a person feeling down or fatigued. However, this is considered to be a natural part of the process and may indicates changes in candida levels.
When Does Candida Die Off Start?
The timing of the onset of candida die off depends on a few variables. The extent of the Candida fungus overgrowth is the most significant factor. If you have chronic candida or lived with the symptoms for a while before treatment, recovery will likely take longer than if you treated the condition right away.
Secondly, the kind of any candida medicine prescribed affects how quickly you’ll begin to experience die off. Plus, how closely you adhere to a candida diet and what, if any, supplements you take can affect outcomes.
This uncertainty about when die off begins can be a frustrating aspect of candida remedies. To help identify improvements, make daily note of your symptoms. You’ll likely see a moderate decrease in the severity of symptoms before die off begins.
How Long Do Candida Die Off Symptoms Last?
Candida die off symptoms can last a few days or a few weeks. By many accounts, the candida die off symptoms gas, bloating, and diarrhea are the most uncomfortable and enduring. Sometimes reducing probiotic supplements can provide some relief from these symptoms.
Other ways to help ease candida die off symptoms include drinking more water, and increasing vitamin C intake, which helps support the immune system.
For serious pain or discomfort, talk to your healthcare provider to discuss how to reduce candida die off symptoms without jeopardizing treatment.
Scientific Research Referenced in this Article
- Lesourd, B., Winters, W.D. (1982). Specific immune responses to skin test antigens following repeated multiple antigen skin tests in normal individuals. Clinical and Experimental Immunology. 50(3). 635–643. Retrieved September 4, 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1536834/
- Ogbolu, D.O., Oni, A.A., Daini, O.A., Oloko, A.P. (2007). In vitro antimicrobial properties of coconut oil on Candida species in Ibadan, Nigeria. Journal of Medicinal Food. 10(2).384-7. DOI https://doi.org/10.1089/jmf.2006.1209
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017, August 7). Candidiasis. Retrieved September 6, 2017 from – View Reference
- Mayer, F. L., Wilson, D. & Hube, B. (2013). Candida albicans pathogenicity mechanisms, Virulence, 4(2),119-128. doi:4161/viru.22913
- Nobile, C. J. & Johnson, A. D. (2015). Candida albicansBiofilms and Human Disease. Annu Rev Microbiol,69. 71-92. doi: 1146/annurev-micro-091014-104330
- Mayo Clinic. (2017, July 22). Oral thrush – treatment. Retrieved September 6, 2017 from – View Reference
- Mayo Clinic. (2017, July 22). Oral thrush – symptoms & causes. Retrieved September 6, 2017 from – View Reference
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: Medline Plus. (2017, September 5). Candida infection of the skin. Retrieved September 6, 2017 from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000880.htm
- Candida.(n.d.). Retrieved September 6, 2017, from – View Reference
- Miller, W., Gorini, F., Botelho, G., Moreira, C., Barbosa, A., Pinto, A., . . . Da Costa Nery, J. (2010). Jarisch–Herxheimer reaction among syphilis patients in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. International Journal of STD & AIDS, 21(12), 806-809. doi: 1258/ijsa.2010.010281.