Yeast is a fungus normally found on your skin but it is also found in your digestive system.
There’s a strain of yeast, Candida, that’s good in small doses but can throw your body off balance if you have too much.
Candida helps you maintain a healthy balance of bacteria and viruses both in your body and on your skin.
It also supports your immune system, aids in digestion, and promotes vitamin and mineral absorption from food.
What are the risk factors for yeast infection?
Anyone can get a yeast infection. Those at higher risk for it include:
- People with diabetes
- People who wear dentures
- People taking antibiotics
- People getting cancer treatment
- People taking estrogen hormone therapy
Most yeast infections are seen on the skin.
But yeast on the inside?
However, there are symptoms that will tell you there is too much yeast in your gut.
These symptoms are:
- Weight gain
- Cardiovascular or heart disease
- Autoimmunity Skin changes (like acne and eczema flares)
- Bowel issues (like constipation and diarrhea)
- Mood changes (like brain fog, anxiety, or depression)
- Inability to lose weight
- Fungal infections of the skin and nails
(PRO TIP: If you are diagnosed with an autoimmune disease did your doctor check your gut for candidiasis overgrowth? The test is a stool sample you need to give to your lab)
5 Causes of Candida overgrowth
There are many different diets, lifestyles, and medical factors that can cause Candida to grow out of control.
Use of antibiotics
If you recently took antibiotics, you may develop yeast overgrowth or even a yeast infection. Why? Because antibiotics kill bacteria that normally keep yeast from overgrowing. So, now yeast goes crazy with growth.
A diet high in processed foods and sugar
You may also be more likely to develop yeast overgrowth if you eat a high-sugar, high-carbohydrate diet. Yeast loves sugar, so foods that are higher in sugar and starch will lead to yeast overgrowth.
Women with higher levels of estrogen can worsen yeast overgrowth. Women who take estrogen hormones from these “pop-up” clinics and pregnant women are especially prone to yeast overgrowth. Studies prove that increased estrogen hormones will increase vaginal yeast infections. Estrogen is like a fertilizer for yeast. Women who want to “stay young” and take hormones like estrogen should understand that they may stay gaining weight, without much success in losing it.
(PRO TIP: If you choose to take estrogen therapy, did your provider at least test for overgrown yeast in your gut before proceeding to give you hormones?)
A weakened immune system
Yeast also loves opportunity. So if yeast sees that your immune system is down or trying to fight a current infection, like COVID or the flu, it takes advantage of this and will overgrow. Remember that adding antibiotics is going to make overgrowth even worse at this time.
Too much stress can create changes in the gut environment and the yeast and bacteria that live there. If your intestine is already out of balance due to the foods you eat, stress could make this worse, and help fuel the overgrowth of yeast.
What test is needed for yeast
The most common type of overgrowth test is a stool test to find out what types of yeast — including Candida — may be overgrowing in your GI tract.
4 Skin areas where yeast is found
Skin folds – such as under the breast and patches on the arms and legs may itch.
Itching may occur with patches of redness or only itching in certain spots at certain times of the day or night.
For example, one patient itched her upper arms every evening. Never during the day. Moisturizing cream never helped.
Private areas – Both men and women have to be careful of yeast overgrowth in these dark areas.
While there is itching, there may be pain and even smell.
Mouth and throat – Yeast can make it difficult to swallow and yeast in the mouth and esophagus is very painful. A white coating is usually seen with this.
You may also notice cracks in the corners of your mouth. These can be very dry and painful.
Nails – Both fingers and toes can have yeast overgrowth can cause the nailbed to separate from the nail itself. The nail might turn yellow. Some folks call this “fungus” but remember…yeast IS a fungus.
For other factors that can interfere with your A1C goals, see my Reverse My Diabetes Now manual.