In the part of your digestive tract known as your lower intestine, or bowels, there are billions and billions of organisms (collectively collected as flora) that help us digest food and serve other functions as well. There are many different strains of these organizations, over 100, in fact. Candida just happens to be the most 'notorious' of these. In fact, there are also a number of different strains of candida. For the sake of illustration, let's oversimplify a minute and divide all of the flora into two camps, the 'bad guys' and the 'good guys'.
While all of these strains are necessary for a healthy functioning body, if some strains of flora increase in numbers and others diminish in numbers, an imbalance is created in your bowel flora. When this condition becomes chronic (or long-term), the medical term for it is Bowel Dysbiosis. Candida is just the 'poster child' for dysbiosis (remember? The most notorious one).
The populations of 'bad guys' – including candida – grow incredibly large and give off many, many toxins. Basically, they're reproducing, living, pooping and dying in your system. Billions and billions of them. Is that too much information? Sorry. But do you see why those little bitty guys can wreak so much havoc?
At the same time, 'good guys', which are necessary for good digestion and absorption of nutrients from food, greatly diminish in numbers. As the condition worsens, characteristic symptoms develop such as heartburn, gas, bloating, anal itching and vaginitis, much of this from the toxins generated.
More and more toxins accumulate – faster than your body can eliminate them. As they accumulate, body defenses weaken. As body defenses weaken, candida and other organisms like bacteria can infect other body areas, causing athlete's foot, jock itch, skin and nail infections, fatigue, low energy, the other symptoms listed below – and more.
Do I Have It? – The Candida "Spit Test"
When you wake in the morning, before you put anything into your mouth, work up some saliva and spit in into a clear glass of water. Within 1-30 minutes, look in the glass. Your saliva should disperse because saliva is water-soluble. But, you may have a yeast concern if
- there are strings coming down from your saliva
- the water turned cloudy
- there are specks or flecks are suspended in the water
- your saliva sank to the bottom
A Significant Related Issue
Both bowel dysbiosis and candida irritate the bowel lining and can create a condition known by the colored term "Leaky Gut Syndrome" (literally, holes in the intestine). Once leaky gut has developed, the stage is set for other invasions. The bowel will allow toxins that should stay in the intestine to penetrate the protective barrier of the gut, allowing both food and chemical sensitivities to come into play. But this will have to wait for another article.