One of the things I have learned recently through my research is that women with Endo have a higher likelihood of suffering from allergies and a higher incidence of yeast infections. While that was interesting, what I found even more interesting is that allergies are a clear signal that the immune system is not working correctly, and you can actually have allergic reactions to the overgrowth of yeast in your own body which then leads to auto-immune disorders like Endo.
Candida (yeast) is a fungus that feeds on sugars and other yeast-containing foods, such as foods that are aged, pickled, dried, fermented or cured. It can also be caused by stress and the use of antibiotics, steroids, and oral contraceptives. While everyone has yeast in the GI tract, the issue arises when there is an overgrowth of yeast. The yeast gives off toxins which then causes inflammation and various other symptoms throughout the body.
For people whose bodies are sensitive to minor irritants that are attributed to cause common allergies (grass pollen, pet dander, etc.), their immune systems are more likely to react against cells of their own bodies. It is the immune system that causes the reaction to allergens, not the allergens themselves. When this happens, auto-immune disorders result such as Endo, hypothyroidism/hashimoto’s, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease and others. Allergic reactions to yeast are thought to trigger many of these auto-immune diseases. Other yeast-related issues for women are known to be PMS, vaginal yeast infections, vulvodynia, recurring UTIs, Endo, dyspareunia (painful intercourse), and infertility. (There are a whole host of other issues that relate to both sexes, but since that is not the purpose of this post I will not include more here.)
In auto-immune disorders the immune system makes antibodies and T-Cells directed against different parts of the body that it considers invaders. And it makes fewer of the T-suppressor cells that are supposed to slow down the reactivity of the immune system to the body’s own cells. It’s a double-whammy of sorts.
According to Mary Lou Ballweg’s book on Endometriosis, “candida can also bind and use our hormones, including estrogen, progesterone, and the adrenal gland hormone, corticosterone.” For those experiencing estrogen dominance, the yeast can mimic more estrogen, thus exacerbating the issue even further.
A couple of other interesting facts I came across that I will share here:
- Exposure to chemicals, such as formaldehyde, pesticides, and dioxins have been found to lead to candida sensitivity and overgrowth.
- People who have a tendency to experience candida overgrowths, are also typically sensitive to molds.
So what can we do?
- Follow a yeast-free, sugar-free diet (not easy or popular for many, but isn’t it worth trying to feel better?). There are many diet books/sites devoted to this topic that are easily found through a simple google search.
- If you are sensitive to mold, avoid foods that have a high mold content. Examples include cheeses, dried fruits, and frozen fruit juices
- You can take anti-fungal supplements, such as Monolauren (coconut), Olive Leaf Extract, and Oregacillian
- You can take medications under the guidance of your doctor to remove the candida from your body. Some typical ones include Nystatin, Diflucan, Sporanox, and Lamisil, Ketoconazole, Fluconazole. Ask your doctor about a protocol that will help you to minimize or avoid die-off reactions, which can make you sick in the short term.
- Take probiotics, such as GoodBelly, Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics or others to restore good bacteria and rebalance intestinal flora while you are trying to rid yourself of the candida.
- Get tested for allergies and try to desensitize yourself to as many as possible, especially yeast and molds.
- After addressing food, candida and allergens, ask your doctor to help you test and balance your hormones, including estrogen, progesterone, thyroid function, and adrenal hormones (cortisone, testosterone, and DHEA)
You will need to do your own research and work with your healthcare practicioners to determine the best course of action for you.
I am working on the following:
- Change in diet to eliminate sugars, breads, dairy, and anything made in a factory
- I am taking the following supplements each day:
- 1200 mg of monolauren – contains the lauric acid from coconuts, which has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It should kill off candida without die-off effects (so far, so good!).
- 1-2 goodbelly shots (as in small yet non-alcoholic drinks, not injections)
- 2 capsules Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics Professional Formula
- 3 Kang Yuan capsules – these are cordyceps mushroom extracts. They help boost Natural Killer cells, and support the immune system in handling allergens. This was recommended as part of a protocol to support low thyroid function.
- 3 Kelp tablets a day to support thyroid function
My plan is to try these things for 60 days and then revisit my doctor to see the impact it has made.
What are your experiences managing candida? What has worked well for you? What difference has it made in how you feel? In your Endo symptoms?