Let me just start off by saying, if you’re here because you’re dealing with Candida overgrowth or chronic yeast infections- I feel you. And, I know how difficult the road to recovery can be.
My experience of healing Candida overgrowth was so much more than physical. It was a soulful journey back to self- I’m not going to lie to you- it wasn’t easy.. This fungus has a way of eating away at your self-esteem, making you feel self-conscious in your own body, and playing tricks on your mind. I struggled to feel sexy, or desirable as I constantly battled yeast infections. The pain was from embarrassment (even though no one could even see or know just by looking at me), as well as discomfort from the infections themselves.
I felt isolated, alone, and ashamed of my body. And it took me a full 8 months to finally stop the yeast infections from occurring. It took another 5 months to clear up the skin issues, joint pain, and fatigue.
While healing is incredibly empowering, and teaches us so much about our inner resilience and strength- it can also be a very isolating experience. Yes, even when you have a support system. This is a huge reason why I share as openly as I do. Because I know that if even just one person reading this feels less alone, then this post has served its purpose.
This post will cover what Candida overgrowth is, and how it manifests in the body. It will also cover the top 5 wellness practices I implemented to treat my own experience with Candida overgrowth and chronic yeast infections.
What is Candida Overgrowth?
Candida is a fungus that is naturally occurring in the body (usually in warm, wet areas like the gut or mouth). This means everyone has Candida in their system. So what’s the problem?
The issues with Candida really tend to only occur when there’s an overgrowth of it, meaning there’s TOO MUCH of it.
Maybe you’re wondering if you have Candida overgrowth as you’re reading this. Don’t worry, your body will definitely tell you if you do. It’s not exactly something that hides silently.
Common symptoms of Candida overgrowth are:
-Gential yeast infections.
-Oral yeast infections.
-Recurrent UTIs or infections
While some of these symptoms can also be a result of countless other health issues, in my experience- they tend to occur sort of all at once. Rather than playing the guessing game, the easiest way to know for sure is to do a blood culture or stool sample.
5 Wellness Practices To Treat Candida Overgrowth and Chronic Yeast Infections
Many of you already know that I tend to lean on the natural path when it comes to treatments and healing. However, I also have a ton of appreciation for modern medicine, as it’s saved my life several times. I am not anti-science, nor am I opposed to allopathic treatments. What I will say is that many experiences I’ve had in traditional doctor’s offices haven’t felt exactly helpful.
When we feel like we’re not getting the help we need, then we tend to seek other options for treatments, right? This is how we land in the more fringe arenas, woo woo practices, and holistic therapies. Well, that’s at least how I landed there.
Although there’s a likelihood that not every single one of these practices will resonate with you as the right choice for you and your health, I appreciate you being open in reading about my experience, nonetheless. Like anything in life, what works for me might not for you, and vice versa. We don’t have to agree in order to listen to one another. And staying curious is an expansive way of being.
Cheers to being open!
My most obvious symptom of Candida overgrowth were the chronic yeast infections I had every freaking week. You read that right. Every week. I was popping over-the-counter medication, and using antifungal washes like it was my job, because I just wanted the discomfort to go away. While the medication would help, it was only momentary. The next week, it was back again.
Naturopathic and allopathic doctors ALIKE suggested that I go on the “Candida Diet” to treat the severity of the overgrowth. When I learned more about what this diet was, I did everything in my power to get rid of it in any other way. Why? Because this diet is basically where foodies go to die.
I’m a Taurus. I love food. Truly, I get pleasure from eating delicious meals. Mealtimes are quite honestly the highlight points of my day. Needless to say, changing my diet to essentially steamed greens sounded like hell.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a green girlie. I have no problem eating loads of veggies on a daily basis. But the Candida diet was more about what you couldn’t have, as opposed to what you could have. To name a few: No grains, no gluten, no sugar (not even from fruit), no starches (even starchy veggies like sweet potatoes and carrots).
There was no part of me that wanted to go on this diet. And there was no part of me that wanted to believe that carrots or fruit were BAD for me. However, when you get to the point of desperation that I did- then you realize you’ll do anything. Even if it means eating steamed greens for months on end.
I’m not going to lie, and say I did this perfectly- because I certainly didn’t. For instance, I never stopped eating fresh fruit. I simply changed which fruits I was eating, and cut dried fruits, instead. I also for sure still had carrots and sweet potatoes once in a while, I just tried to get more greens than anything else.
The thing with Candida overgrowth is that it feeds on sugar. And grains and starches break down into sugar in the body, which that little fungus monster thrives on. Honestly, I don’t even have a sweet tooth. Like, I’m a salty gal. But when I had Candida overgrowth, I felt like a meth addict feening for my next hit when it came to sugar. This wasn’t the usual craving of eating something sweet after dinner. This was craving from beyond. I felt like I had been possessed. All of which is a tell-tale sign of Candida overgrowth.
While the Candida diet wasn’t the end all and be all for my cure, I know it did help a lot with stabilizing my gut and digestion again. An important thing to note here is that this diet is not a sustainable way of eating indefinitely. I say this because while I went on the Candida diet to heal my yeast infections, I ended up with extremely disordered eating and fear around food when it came time to integrate them back in.
There were positives of going on the Candida diet, too. Not only did my Candida eventually clear. But also this was really what kickstarted my choice to cut gluten, alcohol, and refined sugar from my life. All of which, I can say with certainty I feel a lot better without.
Candida is naturally occurring in the gut, which means when there’s an overgrowth of it in the gut, then you’ll probably be having some sort of gut issue or digestive problem. While my digestion is quite strong in terms of frequency for bathroom visits- a variety of blood and stool tests revealed that my actual gut health was pretty imbalanced.
Since gut health has become trendy in the last few years, most people think of probiotics when they think of helping their gut. And, yes, probiotics are so important! However, the source does matter. No, I’m not about to give you an affiliate link to the *best brand ever,* because I literally have prescription-grade probiotics that I can only get from my TMC doctor.
While probiotics are all the rage, prebiotics don’t really get the hype they deserve. Adding prebiotics into my routine has helped me gut health tenfold, as my absorption of nutrients has increased significantly (this has been proven through blood tests). This time I do have a shameless plug, because this is the one that I use, and the one that was recommended to me by my doctor. Digest Gold is my fave, and one I still use to this day when I need a little reset.
To get a more accurate understanding of what’s going on in your gut, I highly recommend getting a stool test. While pooping into a cup isn’t exactly fun, the intricacy of the results that come back is worth the weirdness of the delivery. Promise.
Acupuncture has been a saving grace for me in so many areas of my life. I’ve actually been receiving acupuncture and TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) for about 15 years now. I’ve found this to be my preferred route of medicine thus far.
Acupuncture is so much more than someone sticking a bunch of needles into your body, and calling it a day. In fact, it’s about treating the patient holistically- on a mind, body, soul level. They won’t just ask you about your physical symptoms, they’ll ask you about your emotions, your relationships, and your childhood.
Similar to a really good yoga class, you might experience different releases in your acupuncture settings. This might look like laughter, tears, pleasure, or pain. It’s amazing what the needles show you when you’re open to receiving.
Try to get a recommendation for a good practitioner, rather than just hiring someone on the internet. The treatment will vary massively depending on who is administering it. The same way you want to connect with your therapist, you’ll want to make sure that you’re comfortable with this person, there’s trust, and ease in your relationship.
Ideally, look for someone who’s also a talented herbalist, too. Many of them are, as herbalism is an important limb of acupuncture. Herbs are a great way to nourish the body, to treat gut health, and to ADD IN to your diet, rather than restrict.
The mind-body connection is wild, right? I mean, I always knew that they were connected, but it really wasn’t until my Candida overgrowth experience that I witnessed firsthand just how intertwined they were.
During the peak of my chronic yeast infections, I was in a relationship with someone that I thought- at one point- I was going to marry. The funny thing about thoughts versus feelings is that while my mind was telling me I could marry this person, my heart was really asking for something else.
I knew, deep down, that this wasn’t my person. But, I was also too scared to let him go, because I loved him. And what if it was the best I’d ever get? What if no one else came along? What if…what if….what if. We’ve all been there.
Turned out my body started getting pretty pissed that I wasn’t listening to my heart, and started speaking out. In the form of yeast infections.
Now, I’m not saying I only had the yeast infections because of this person. I also had a clear amount of Candida overgrowth in my gut, after all. What I am saying is that the health of our relationship was *lacking* to say the least, which was contributing to the overall deterioration of my physical and mental wellbeing.
On a very physical level, we kept passing Candida back and forth to each other when we’d have sex. He didn’t have symptoms of it right away, but after a few months, he started showing signs of thrush and irritation, too. We’d thought that the other one would be over it, but whenever we hooked up, it’d just come back again.
Beyond the physical, my heart was literally rejecting this person through my body. I had an inkling that our relationship was contributing to my overall health, and broke up with him. I moved out of our apartment, and actually left the country. While I was heartbroken, I noticed right away that the yeast infections had radically reduced from weekly to twice a month.
About a month later, we reconnected. I was still in a different country, and we only talked on the phone. One thing led to another, and we had phone sex. No physical connection. Only the power of the mind imagining the physical intimacy. And guess what? I got an infection the very next morning.
This was enough to open my eyes to the need of healing beyond the physical.
Psychedelic therapy has become quite mainstream nowadays, which is great because it’s truly changing lives. However, I can’t mention psychedelics without also mentioning that this style of treatment isn’t suited for everyone depending on their mental health status. If you’re not sure, talk to your trusted doctor for advice based on your needs.
Candida overgrowth struck me in the depths of my Saturn Return, when I was detoxing from hormonal birth control, getting sober from alcohol, breaking up with the person I thought I was going to marry, and essentially hitting rock bottom. I was going through it, to say the least.
When I decided to go on an Ayahuasca retreat, I was going for my mental health- not understanding the way in which it would also impact my physical health. I didn’t sign up for this retreat thinking that this was going to cure my Candida overgrowth, and finally get those damn yeast infections to go away. Far from it.
For a little context, by the time I went on the retreat, I had been battling the yeast infections for 8 months, getting acupuncture weekly and on the Candida diet for 4 months. Since going on the diet and getting regular acupuncture, the infection has reduced from a weekly occurrence to then twice a month. By the time I landed in the jungle of Peru for my retreat, I was only getting yeast infections once a month (when I ovulated). While the yeast infections had dramatically decreased since starting my healing journey, I couldn’t kick that once a month resurgence.
Until I went to Peru.
I had 4 ceremonies there in the jungle, and the very first one was….a lot. Too much to describe right here, at least for now. I experienced what can only be called a womb reconstruction. By little alien light beings, no less. This was just as surprising to me as it probably is to you, because number one- I don’t have a fascination with aliens, nor did I think or WANT to see them in my experience. And number two- because I didn’t go on this retreat to heal my womb. I didn’t even know it needed healing!
I didn’t have the awareness at the time of what was happening exactly. I didn’t think: That’s it! My yeast infections will be gone now.
It was only once I was at that dreaded ovulation point in my cycle, and a yeast infection never reared its ugly head that I started to connect the dots. Maybe, I thought. Just maybe.But, I didn’t want to get my hopes up. And I was still a little freaked out about the alien thing, so I brushed it off as a coincidence.
The next month- no infection. The next month- nothing.
To this day, four years later, I have never had a yeast infection again.
The mind-body connection is very real. My physical body had Candida overgrowth, as evidenced through lab testing and numbers. And, my mind, heart, and soul were contributing, as well. Joy, pain, trauma, sadness, excitement, love – these are all things that live in our bodies. The same way that untended wounds get infected, untended emotions or trauma can be just as toxic.
Regardless of if you take the routes that I did to heal, if you’re struggling with Candida overgrowth, I highly encourage you to look at all of your layers- not only your physical one.
Listen to your heart’s whispers, before it makes your body scream.
You’ve got this.