Part 1: Candida – The Most Misunderstood Chronic Health Problem
Part 2: Is Your Sugar Addiction Feeding Your Intestinal Candida?
Do you find that after eating a meal your stomach bloats up and your pants feel tight? Does your belly swell up at the end of the day and, despite what you eat, you just can’t prevent it? Do you suffer from embarrassing gas? If any of these scenarios sounds familiar then you may have intestinal yeast over-growth, or Candida. In this article I will briefly examine possible causes of gas and bloating before looking in greater depth at an often under-diagnosed cause, Candida. I will explain how we get Candida in the first place, how it causes this uncomfortable and embarrassing bloating, how to treat it and what happens when you don’t.
Causes of Intestinal Bloating
There are several reasons you can get chronic gas and bloating other than Candida, here are just a few:
Constipation or sluggish bowel movements
When you don’t have a bowel movement regularly all the undigested food particles, bacteria and waste in your intestines produce more gas. More frequent elimination reduces the gas produced from slow moving stool. Constipation may also make it harder to pass gas and therefore lead to increased bloating and abdominal pain.
Insufficient or low pancreatic enzymes
The digestive enzymes, amylase, protease and lipase that are produced in the pancreas break down (or digest) the protein, fat and carbohydrates in the food we eat while it is travelling through the small intestines. If we do not have sufficient enzymes then they are unable to properly break down our food. This poorly digested food will cause increased gas and bloating when it reaches the large intestine.
Either gallstones or sluggish bile from the gallbladder will cause gas & bloating. Similar to the pancreatic enzymes, the bile stored in the gallbladder works like a detergent on our fats to help us digest it. When we don’t digest our fats properly we will have increased gas and bloating.
Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO)
The small intestine does not house as much bacteria as the large intestine and if they overgrow this can also cause increased gas and abdominal bloating. SIBO can be triggered by certain medications, for example over-use of antacids. Other possible causes are anatomical or structural defects and surgeries done in the small intestine.
If you feel like your symptoms are not caused by a Candida overgrowth then each possible cause can be diagnosed and treated by your Naturopathic Physician, if you would like to discuss your symptoms with me you can contact me!
Candida – How Did It Start?
Candida is a fungus, or yeast, that lives naturally in all our bodies. When it is in the right balance with our good gut bacteria there are no problems – it is when things get out of balance that the trouble starts. For many people, the initial imbalance occurs when we take our very first round of oral antibiotics (that is those we swallow not those we are given in hospital via an IV drip).
Unfortunately, the good bacteria in our intestinal tract are an innocent casualty of the sweeping effect of antibiotics. The job of antibiotics is to kill the bacteria that are making us sick however, because there are so many species of bacteria present in our intestines, both good and bad, antibiotics will not just kill the bad bacteria but will indiscriminately kill the good ones too. This leaves more room for the Candida that lives in our gut to grow and over-populate the intestinal tract causing a whole raft of seemingly unconnected symptoms including gas and bloating.
Once you have an imbalance in your gut bacteria there are several things that can contribute to its over growth including:
- Excessive consumption of sugar
- Oral birth control
- Oral steroids
- Food sensitivities
Why Does The Swelling Happen?
Gas and bloating occur when bacteria in the intestines digest the sugars and starches we eat. Different bacteria produce different levels of gas so, when our intestinal bacteria (flora) are out of balance we can have more of the bacteria that produce high levels of gas and this will cause more bloating. In addition to the imbalance in intestinal flora, the sugars in our diet feed an abundance of yeast in our gut causing it to ferment and, just like when making bread, our intestines begin to “rise” resulting in uncomfortable swelling and bloating.
How Do I Know The Cause Of My Gas And Bloating?
There are a couple of tests we can do to determine if you have Candida overgrowth:
*A simple IgG blood test can tell if you are reacting to yeast; if the body is irritated by yeast it will show up as a positive reaction on the test results.
*Stool testing can also be done to look for the species of yeast that is causing your problems and the quantity of overgrowth.
However in my experience, the best way to determine if Candida overgrowth is causing your symptoms is to do a Candida cleanse.
What is a Candida Cleanse?
As Candida is so often found to be the culprit when patients come to me with a range of seemingly unrelated, untreatable symptoms, I have designed a special Yeast and Candida Detox Program. This is a three-tiered treatment that:
*Eliminates the foods that cause the yeast to grow
*Kills off the yeast
*Repopulates the intestines with healthy bacteria
When you treat the Candida, your gas and bloating, as well as other symptoms such as skin rashes, toe nail fungus, brain fog, food allergies and leaky gut should all disappear.
What Happens If I Don’t Treat My Candida?
Chronic yeast overgrowth in the intestines will lead to increased leaky gut syndrome. This is where the cells of the intestinal wall, that should be tightly packed, swell up causing tiny gaps to appear in the tight junctions. These gaps allow food particles that are not properly digested and broken down to be absorbed into the blood. Any food particle in the blood shouldn’t be there and is therefore considered an antigen and the immune system will trigger an immune response, attacking the foreign body just as it would for a virus that was making you ill. This is a vicious cycle that will lead to more leaky gut, more food reactions and more Candida overgrowth and more unpleasant symptoms.
How Will I Feel After I Treat It?
When you treat intestinal overgrowth of Candida the first improvement you notice is that you no longer have the chronic gas and bloating. With the good bacteria growing in the intestines your immune system improves so you get fewer infections. Your regularity of bowel movements is restored and both diarrhea and constipation either resolve or improve. In addition to this, creating a well-balanced gut ecology that is full of good bacteria means that we heal our leaky gut so food sensitivities decrease. And if all that isn’t enough you should also notice your energy improving, you should start losing weight and any red, itchy skin will clear up. Finally, amazingly enough, your cravings for sugar will go away too.
If you suspect you might have Candida overgrowth and would like to find out more about my specially designed Yeast and Candida Detox Program, please book an appointment today.
I love to read your comments; if you have any thoughts or experiences you would like to share, or if you have any questions, please use the comments box below.
Next time we will look at the connection between Candida and skin rashes. To be sure you don’t miss it you can subscribe to this blog on this page and have it sent directly to your inbox.