Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by a yeast (a type of fungus) called Candida. Some species of Candida can cause infection in people; the most common is Candida albicans. Candida normally lives on the skin and inside the body, in places such as the mouth, throat, gut and vagina, without causing any problems. Candida can cause infections if it grows out of control or if it enters deep into the body (for example the bloodstream or internal organs like the kidney, heart, brain). Candida albicans yeast is a naturally- occurring intestinal inhabitant. Ordinarily held in check in a properly balanced.
Intestinal biosphere, Candida infestation (Candidiasis) becomes a concern only when the intestinal population of beneficial bacteria are eclipsed by an overgrowth of this tenacious yeast. When present in a flourishing overabundance, Candida can enter the bloodstream via the enteric cycle and give rise to systemic yeast infection symptoms: poor appetite, persistent coughing, fatigue, insomnia, dizziness, difficulty in focusing and concentrating, tinnitus, decreased immunity, an assortment of body aches and digestive anomalies.
The most common manifestation of Candida overgrowth is vulvovaginitis, a vaginal yeast infection. Women’s will experience a vaginal yeast infection at some point over their lifetimes, with at least half of these individuals suffering persistent and recurrent infections.
Oropharyngeal thrush is another form of localized Candida infection found particularly after oral antibiotic use and with people using dentures or inhaled steroid-based inhalers. Skin fold infection, occurring especially in warm weather, as well as diaper rash are commonly occurring localized skin yeast infections. Recurrence is common, and each successive occurrence is harder to eradicate. Successful treatment depends upon reducing the proportional size of the yeast population in the body, building up the beneficial bacteria populations, limiting and controlling yeast triggers, and strengthening overall health and immunity.
Ayurvedic protocols are designed to address the underlying cause of the yeast infection. In Ayurvedic medicine, illness due to a systemic invasion of Candida albicans are not identified as such. Most practitioners believe candidiasis is caused by a combination of factors, including a diet high in refined sugar and refined flour products, antibiotic therapy, environmental stresses that weaken immunity, sedentary lifestyles, obesity, the presence of immunodeficiency diseases, the use of immunosuppressant therapies including inhaled corticosteroids, and a variety of endocrine disorders including diabetes, hypothyroidism and adrenal insufficiency.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, Improper functioning of Samana vayu, (a subdivision of Vata dosha) along with deficient Pachakagni (digestive fire) cause a systemic malfunctioning of the digestive process. The result of this deficient digestion is the production of ama, undigested and partially digested food materials that becomes en lodged in the alimentary canal and ultimately migrates throughout the body. Accumulations of intestinal ama result in the defective processing of food into utilizable nutrients needed for the proper nourishment of the tissues. Ama is absorbed into the subtle channels of the body known as srotas, creating toxicity and are the basis for the initiation of the disease process. As ama accumulates in the small and large intestines, it will putrefy and ferment, thus inhibiting the normal flora to proliferate and finally resulting in the change of proportionate populations of normal intestinal flora. It is because of this variation from the normal flora balance that a Candidiasis occurs.
The next stage of a candida infestation is a result of the migration and absorption of ama into different parts of the body. Candida infections can be chronic and stubborn in nature, and if not treated, can possibly spread systemically. The disorder is influenced by a multitude of factors including an imbalanced digestive tract, low agni, ama, low ojas, hygiene, diet, lifestyle factors and past or current use of antibiotics.
While primarily a kapha disorder, it can include the other doshas as well, and many times the condition is caused by two doshas, rendering it a more difficult problem to treat successfully.
Management include increasing and regulating agni, modifying one’s diet to decrease sugar, yeast, and fermented foods and addressing hygiene and lifestyle issues.
The three most important strategies in the treatment of candidiasis are
- Reduce the individual’s toxic load
- Ensure the integrity of the digestive agni
- Build ojas (immunity) back into the body. This enables the body to rid itself of this pathological yeast permanently.
Ayurvedic management for Candidiasis at Ayurvedic Bliss– Let’s talk to know more:
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Ayurveda Bliss Therapeutic Program
Ayurveda recommends a holistic approach to restoring the balance that includes diet, lifestyle management and herbal medication. It is a life-changing protocol that requires patience, discipline and a full commitment to one’s health to restore and stay in balance, but the results are well worth the effort.