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Think You Have Candida Overgrowth? Here's How To Know For Sure

Photo by Kayla Snell
September 20, 2017

Candida is a big deal in the world of holistic health. It’s one of those underlying health issues that can go undetected for years, causing a wide range of unpleasant symptoms—many of which you just can’t put your finger on. In other words, you feel terrible, but it’s hard to describe and you can’t quite figure out why. Once you start learning about Candida, it’s normal to have a lot of questions. How do you know, for sure, that you have Candida overgrowth? And if you do, what can you do about it?

Candida is a type of fungus that is present all over the body, but especially in the digestive tract. In normal amounts it won’t cause problems, and in fact, it’s actually healthy to some degree. You see, gut health is all about balance; we actually need some fungi in the gut, as many species have beneficial properties similar to the way bacteria do. But Candida overgrowth and subsequent infection, also known as Candidiasis, can cause symptoms like digestive issues, mood swings, anxiety, depression, irritability, difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, and brain fog—just to name a few.

If I live a healthy lifestyle, am I safe from Candida?

Photo: Duet Postscriptum

Candidiasis has everything to do with what you eat and the current health status of your gut. In other words, the balance of beneficial bacteria and fungi (probiotics) and harmful bacteria and fungi in the GI tract can be affected by any number of things including stress, antibiotics, a poor diet, your immunity getting run down or even too much exercise. Unfortunately, living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you’re immune to this fungal overgrowth, since even if you do all the right things, your genetics may make you more prone to microbiome imbalance (the reason Candida can spiral out of control). That being said, two of the best ways to control Candida is through diet and lifestyle changes, including the Candida diet, which is incredibly strict and requires you to eliminate a lot of fungus-feeding foods. It’s a major commitment, and that’s why it’s important to test for Candida before you make major lifestyle changes, medical decisions, or invest your money in supplements.

How do I test for Candida?

Photo: Susana Ramírez

One of the popular ways to test for Candidiasis is the spit test, which goes like this: In the morning—before you brush your teeth or drink anything—grab a glass of water and spit into it. Let it sit for 15 minutes. If you see cloudiness or small white projections coming out of the saliva, it could be a sign that you have a high level of fungi. Unfortunately, this at-home method isn’t exactly foolproof or well-researched.

Luckily, there’s a better way to test for Candida. With a BIOHM Candida Report, you’ll get accurate information about the types of Candida (Yes, there’s more than one kind!) in your system and the exact levels of each type. In addition, this test goes straight to the source and checks the Candida levels in your digestive tract, not in your mouth.

With your Candida information in hand, you and your doctor are now in a position to make informed decisions based on actual data, not hunches. If you do have high levels of Candida, don’t fret; there are a ton of lifestyle, medical, and dietary changes that can get you feeling better—STAT.