Believe it or not, the common thread that links the development of a yeast overgrowth to your overall health is the state of your immune system.
Let’s start with the basics. The Candida albicans organism, or the yeast organism, lives in your body – it’s in there right now. Other organisms, especially good bacteria, keep the levels of yeast under control. Different events in your life can cause those levels to enter a state of imbalance, allowing the yeast organism to grow, spread, and thrive. You then end up with a yeast infection.
So what factors can cause a yeast infection?
Antibiotic use is huge. Antibiotics kill the good and bad bacteria, without discriminating, which immediately give the yeast organism free reign within your body. The low levels of antibiotics found in our non-organic food sources can contribute as well.
The use of certain medications can alter the environment within your body. Inhaled steroidal medications are a huge contributor, as are birth control pills.
Hormonal fluctuations within the body can cause yeast infections as well. This is particularly true in women, who have natural estrogen and progesterone fluctuations each month. Candida actually loves to feed on progesterone.
Individuals with diabetes, especially if it is uncontrolled, may be more prone to the development of yeast infections because of high blood sugar levels.
Immune deficiencies are a huge contributing factor as well – especially in those with severe deficiencies like HIV or in those who have undergone cancer treatments.
Yeast infections can manifest in a number of different ways. They’re definitely not just a “girl thing.” Women can get vaginal yeast infections, but men can get jock itch. Anyone, including children, can get oral thrush, ringworm, a skin irritation, or even a systemic whole-body infection.
Not sure if your symptoms are caused by yeast? Make an appointment to see your doctor or naturopath so you can get the right diagnosis. The sooner you start treatment, the easier your yeast infection will be to treat.