Got Fungus? Ten Tricky Signs of Chronic Fungal Overgrowth
I know, fungus is gross.
Mushrooms are okay sure, but any discussion about fungal infection seems to be a pretty embarrassing and taboo topic. The problem is that chronic fungal overgrowth is a really common issue that leads to some really common symptoms. The most typical offender is a fungi called Candida.
Candida is normally found in places like the mouth and the digestive tract in small amounts, and it part of our normal flora. However, with our modern western diets we are frequently seeing this fungus growing out of control in many of our patients, causing quite a few symptoms. While some of these symptoms are pretty classic “fungal symptoms”, others are really broad and can cause the sufferer to go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for years before getting to the root of the issue. So it’s really important to be aware of the top ways that our bodies express an overgrowth of Candida.
Top 10 symptoms
1. Sugar cravings. Yup, you heard that right. These sneaky little fungi will hijack the feedback loops in your digestive tract, sending your body signals that it needs more sugar (their favorite food). They’re basically sitting in there ordering GrubHub while you deal with the cravings, weight gain and upset belly.
2. Recurrent vaginal or urinary tract infections (UTIs). When people come to me with chronic recurrent infection in the genitourinary tracts I immediately look towards Candida. This is one of those “classic” signs.
3. Chronic Fatigue. Candida in the gut is known to cause nutrient deficiencies. Especially when it effects B vitamin levels it will contribute to a feeling of fatigue. The constant dependence on carbohydrates will also lead to that fogged out carb coma type feeling.
4. Sinus Infections. Say what? I know, sinus infections are bacterial…or are they? While it would seem that acute sinus infections are definitely bacterial, there has been some new research showing that longer term or recurrent sinus infections are actually caused by fungal infection. A compounding factor is that Candida infection can be caused by overuse of antibiotics, which is the common prescription for a sinus infection.
5. Skin Infections. Remember your old friend athlete’s foot? That’s right, it’s most often caused by fungal infection, usually candida. Since candida likes moist areas (mouths, guts etc.) sweaty hands, feet and groin areas are prone to a takeover by these little buggers.
6. Aches and Pains. Got achy joints? Believe it or not, candida can actually infect the joint spaces causing inflammation, swelling and pain. Most people will get diagnosed with arthritis and be given some type of NSAID medication to decrease the symptoms. This is only a temporary fix though if the issue is really a fungal joint infection. While this only generally occurs when someone has had chronic Candida overgrowth for a long time or possibly after a surgery, it can still be a sign you’re dealing with Candida.
7. Gut problems. Digestive issues are another thing seen really commonly with Candida. As it grows out of its normal amounts, it starts to create an imbalance in your gut microbiome (your little inner ecosystem of bacteria, viruses and fungi). This system, when in balance, does a large portion of your digestion and nutrient gathering for you. Unfortunately, when it gets out of balance it can lead to poor digestion, gas, bloating, nutrient malabsorption and much more.
8. Nail Fungus. That crinkly yellow nail that never gets better…you betcha, it’s probably Candida.
9. Thrush. This is an oral Candida infection that causes a white coating inside the mouth. Typically seen in infants, it can also spread to the mother from the babies’ mouth and can be tricky to get rid of. This may also occur in adulthood people with weakened immune systems.
10. Autoimmune disorders. There have been links in the research that overgrowth of yeasts/fungi are commonly found in people with autoimmune disorders such as Psoriasis, Ulcerative Colitis, Hashimoto’s Thyroid disease and more. It’s a place I commonly start when someone comes into the office with autoimmune issues.
There really are so many signs of Candida overgrowth it’s borderline ridiculous. If you suspect this might be an issue for you, stay tuned as next week I’ll be reviewing my Anti-Candida Protocol to get you on the path to health!
Dr. Caroline Ricker has been passionately helping people avoid unnecessary medications and surgeries since 2009. She combines a very logical functional medicine approach to digestive disorders and more using a more alternative holistic approach, utilizing standard lab tests and in-office evaluations as well as nutrition, acupuncture and homeopathy.
Whole Health & Wellness
10807 Big Bend Road
St. Louis, MO 63122
P: (314) 269-3847