To successfully treat it, you need to do three things: stop the yeast overgrowth, build up the friendly bacteria, and heal your gut so that candida can no longer enter your bloodstream.
First step: getting rid of the overgrowth, which mainly requires switching to a low-carbohydrate diet.
Sugar is what feeds yeast. So start by eliminating sugar in all of its simple forms — such as candy, desserts, alcohol, and flours. At the same time, cut back to just 1 cup a day of the more complex carbohydrates, like grains, beans, fruit, bread, pasta, and potatoes. This will help prevent the candida from growing and will eventually cause it to die.
I also recommend eliminating all fermented foods. That’s because, while it’s common knowledge that these help to feed the good bacteria, most people don’t realize that bad bacteria feed off of these as well.
Still, using diet alone could take three to six months before it is back under control. So, I often recommend that my patients use an anti-fungal medication, such as Diflucan or Nystatin, for at least a month.
If you are self-treating, you can also take a supplement of caprylic acid. Caprylic acid, which comes from coconut oil, basically "pokes holes" in the yeast cell wall, causing it to die.
And while some people recommend using herbs like oil of oregano, I don't recommend it since it can also kill the good bacteria.
Next, you should rebuild the good bacteria that typically keep your population under control. Taking anywhere from 25 to 100 billion units of probiotics on a regular basis should help to reduce the levels and restore your levels of good bacteria.
Finally, heal your gut. Eliminating inflammatory foods that can harm your GI tract — and introducing foods that help — will prevent the yeast from working its way through your body, and dramatically improve your overall health.
Want to find out if you have overgrowth? Consider seeing a functional medicine doctor who is trained in detecting and treating it.
More information below: This article has been updated as of November 1, 2016 by mbg editorial to include new studies, information, and data on candida.