September 14th, 2016 | Posted By: Magdalena Wszelaki | Posted in Anti-Candida, Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How Candida Yeast Overgrowth Creates a Hormonal Havoc | Part 1: Surprising Symptoms, Causes and Tests

How Candida Yeast Overgrowth Creates a Hormonal Havoc | Part 1: Surprising Symptoms, Causes and Tests

Have you ever taken antibiotics, steroids or birth control pills? Or experienced one or two vaginal yeast infections or recurrent thrush?

Do you feel like sugar controls you so much so that you can’t walk by a bakery without stepping in?

Do you find it impossible to shake chronic health symptoms such as bloating, skin rashes, sinus problems or tummy troubles, even though you’re doing everything to eat right and live a healthy lifestyle?

And what about fermented foods? Have you tried to boost your health by eating sauerkraut and drinking Kombucha, only to find that your health problems flared up?

If you experience any or all of these symptoms, candida overgrowth could be to blame. It could be sabotaging your efforts to achieve hormonal balance, without you even joining the dots.

Candida’s Cascade of Health Problems

We all carry the fungal strain called candida albicans in our bodies. For people with healthy immune and digestive systems, it causes few health hiccoughs. But candida is an opportunistic micro-organism and it likes to party in big numbers so any chance it gets, this hardy yeast will multiply.

This overgrowth most often occurs in areas like your skin, digestive tract, mouth and vagina. Candida also helps other unhealthy bacteria and parasites take hold and thrive your body. And as your candida population grows, it starts to affect everything from your hormone balance to the function of some body systems and organs.

Not Eating Sugar? You’re Still At Risk

Just because you steer clear of sugar doesn’t mean candida won’t affect you.

Did you love lollies as a kid? Or devour cookies and soft drinks? Most days did you eat processed breakfast cereals, pancakes with maple syrup, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or take-away and snack-foods? Then even if you don’t eat much sugar now, you could still have candida overgrowth.

Around 70% of the women I work with have health issues caused by candida. When we look back at their health history, we can often trace the beginning of candida-related symptoms to their twenties or even earlier, in their teens, tweens or when they were a baby.

It’s important to remember that candida is not only kick-started by food. Many other lifestyle factors can give candida a leg-up.  

How Estrogen Helps Grow Candida (and How Candida Degrades Progesterone) 

Many women experience an increase in thrush infections (and issues like bloating and flatulence) during pregnancy. Ditto when they take birth control pills.

This is not just happenstance. Pregnancy and birth control pills lead to a spike in the body’s estrogen levels and estrogen can help candida grow. If certain types ofestradiol are added to candida cells in a science lab, the estrogen helps increase the number of germ tubes and appears to trigger longer germ tube length – both developments that support candida to germinate and thrive.

Another study has tested three different strains of candida in the lab and found that when estradiol (the antagonistic form of estrogen) was added to the mix, the candida showed an increase in growth and survived, even when temperatures were raised. The estrogen also helped to strengthen the Candida’s multi-drug resistance compared with cells not exposed to estrogen.

Further research at Louisa State University Health Sciences Centers looked at the effects of both estrogen and progesterone on candida and concluded that:

 “Estrogen is the dominant reproductive hormone that supports and sustains an experimental vaginal Candida albicans infection and reduces the inhibitory activity of epithelial cells against Candida. Progesterone, on the other hand, has no demonstrable effect on the vaginal infection or on systemic and/or local immune responsiveness associated with the infection.”

These studies are wake-up calls for women – reminding us about the importance of hormonal balance. When women develop estrogen dominance there are many knock-on effects and one of those is clearly the risk of triggering or worsening candida issues.

In our modern world most women complain of living on the run, 24/7. And ED can sometimes kick in simply because women are so stressed that their immunity is constantly weakened and their progesterone levels drop. This makes sense, because progesterone is a calming hormone and your body doesn’t really want that on board when it thinks you’re about to fight a sabre-toothed tiger!

By contrast, when estrogen and progesterone are balanced, women enjoy the health perks of progesterone, which helps lower anxiety and stress responses. Candida can be a constant roadblock to that balance.

There is also evidence that candida can bind to estrogen and prevent it from being taken up by estrogen receptors. Women who then take progesterone to deal with hormonal issues may not feel better. In fact, many integrative practitioners believe that a negative reaction to progesterone cream is a sign of candida issues. That’s why if you suspect you suffer from chronic yeast issues, it is important to treat both candida and hormonal imbalance at the same time.

Interested in learning more about how to find hormonal balance with proper nutrition? Join our exclusive full program viewing below:

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Spotting Candida Signs

According to the University of Maryland, around 75% of women will develop at least one episode of vaginal thrush in their lifetime.

When this happens, we are taught that the fungal problem is isolated to that part of the body. In reality, a yeast infection is a sign of candida overgrowth in the gut as well. And it’s highly possible that once you had your first thrush infection, your body never got on top of that overgrowth from that point on.

Unfortunately, candida is not always easy to recognize. You may get thrown off the trail because the symptoms don’t appear to be linked or may be caused by numerous other conditions. For example, bloating can be related to food sensitivities, thrush can be a sign of diabetes Type 2 and chronic exhaustion may point to thyroid troubles.

That’s why it is important to consider patterns of symptoms rather than isolated signs. If you recognize many of the following, it’s likely candida overgrowth is undermining your wellbeing or healing:

Signs of Candida

General Health

  • Constantly craving sugar or carbs
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Brain Fogginess
  • Exhaustion
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Aches
  • Constant colds

Women’s Symptoms

  • Recurring vaginal discharge, itching, stinging or thrush infections
  • Recurring cystitis or urinary infections


  • Bloating
  • Flatulance
  • Stomach cramps
  • Acid reflux
  • Indigestion and burping after meals


  • Hives
  • Acne
  • Fungal nail infections
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Tinea
  • Psoriasis


  • Bad breath
  • Cracked tongue
  • White coating on the tongue
  • Cracks at the corners of the mouth


  • Chronic sinusitis or nasal congestion
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Hayfever
  • Asthma


  • PMS
  • Erratic periods


  • Irritability or mood swings
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Depression


  • Fluid retention
  • Weight gain
  • Inability to lose weight

Other Symptoms

  • Itchy ears, eyes or anus
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Body odor
  • Sensitivity to smells such as chemicals and perfumes
  • Feeling tired, slightly drunk or bloated after drinking kombucha
  • Stuffy nose or itchy ears after a glass of wine
  • Dinner does not feel complete without “something sweet”

How Candida Grows

Many aspects of our modern lifestyle are bad for your body but good for candida growth. This robust fungal infection can be triggered by:

  1. Food Choices

Candida loves to feed on foods high in yeasts (e.g., wine, kombucha and mushrooms) sugars (in all forms, including honey and certain fruits) and carbs (think bread and pasta). It can also thrive if you eat plenty of foods that have been fermented, pickled, malted, highly processed or exposed to mold in the production/growing process.

If candida growth has been triggered by other lifestyle factors (such as a course of medication), eating the wrong foods can cause further flare-ups and population surges. This means that the seemingly healthy sourdough or Kombucha tea you’ve been consuming to boost your gut health may be having the opposite effect. Yet even if you have candida, I believe you can still consume some fermented foods – if you know the right starter cultures to use (more about that in Part 2 of this series).  

  1. Poor Gut Health

Your body works a little like a garden, but instead of different kinds of plants and insects, it is home to different kinds of micro-organisms that make up your microbiome (also called the gut flora or microbiota). If there is an imbalance between good and bad bacteria (which is common due to our Western diet and lifestyle), then candida growth can snowball and the fungus spreads like a noxious weed.

That spells trouble for your health. A compromised digestive system can’t absorb the nutrients you need, such as vitamin B12 and magnesium. In addition, candida steals some of your body’s nutrients to help it grow and thrive. Research from the University of Aberdeen in 2012, showed that candida binds to zinc.

Candida also sucks up some of your body’s iron stores, according to German research.

And all of these knock-on effects impact your hormonal balance.

Up to 95% of your serotonin (the happiness hormone) is produced in your gut. And sufficient populations of good bacteria are necessary for that serotonin production to occur. But the more candida you have the less serotonin you may be making, which may increase low mood or anxiety.

On the flip side, serotonin appears to help combat candida growth. In fact, 2005 research by the Medical University of Innsbruck, showed that serotonin actually works like an anti-fungalSo too little serotonin cannot only slam-dunk your mood, it may also leave you with one less fight-back strategy to put a stop to candida overgrowth.

  1. Stress

If you’re always rushing, stressing feeling overwhelmed or on the verge of tears, then it’s likely that your adrenals are on high alert, constantly pumping out the cortisol hormone. Cortisol manages the immune system which is instrumental in keeping candida at bay. A stressed out person often experiences poor immune function, inviting candida to thrive.

Secondly, when in a state of stress, your body is likely to have more acidity – which is an often-overlooked side effect of stress. I will be explaining more about Ph in the next article, Candida 2.

Interestingly, science is even starting to get wise to some impacts of acidity in relation to candida. At Johns Hopkins and Harvard University researchers have been looking at drugs that render candida harmless by reducing the acidity of the vacuole, a little sac that stores nutrients the candida cells need to survive.

This research aims to help alkalize candida through medications. But food is a far more effective and body-friendly method for combating systemic acid issues. Keep an eye out for my alkalizing food suggestions in part 2 of this Candida series (even if you’re eating vegetarian or paleo you may still have too much acid in your body).

  1. Antibiotics

These knock out the good bacteria and the bad, creating the perfect conditions for candida to enjoy a population boost all over your body. That’s why treatment with a course of antibiotics can often lead women to develop vaginal thrush and more.

  1. A Compromised Immune System

In a healthy, balanced body, candida is kept under control by your immune system, which can work through mechanisms such as the saliva in your mouth or neutrophils in your bloodstream. But apart from the immune impacts of poor gut health, the following factors can also compromise your immunity:

  • Food Sensitivities
  • Pollution
  • Regular alcohol intake
  • Chronic worry and anxiety
  • Bacterial and viral infections
  • Parasites
  • Smoking
  • Sleep issues
  • Loneliness
  • Chronic health conditions such as thyroid disease
  1. Chemicals

The culprits range from toxic metals to chemicals in your food, cosmetics and environment. A good case in point, is chlorine, which you can absorb through drinking unfiltered water. This can kill off good bacteria in your gut, making your belly ecosystem even more-candida friendly.

  1. Medications

Apart from antibiotics (which can kill off your good bacteria), taking the following medications can trigger candida overgrowth in some women because of impacts on the liver, hormones and microbiome:

  • Birth Control Pills
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Steroids
  • Antacids
  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  1. Illness

It’s well known that candida is a problem for people who are immuno-compromised, for example, with cancer or HIV. People with chronic conditions like herpes, hepatitis, pre-diabetes (also called Syndrome X) and diabetes are also at higher candida risk. In addition, garden-variety health problems like tummy bugs (by altering bacteria composition) and high inflammation can also lower your body’s ability to stop candida overgrowth.

A Clever Shape Shifter

Candida would not be out of place in an episode of Stranger Things or the X Files. To adapt and survive, it can change from a single-celled round yeast into a long stringy shape (by producing long filaments called hyphae). These act a little like worms. They can enter your bloodstream or migrate along your mucous membranes. They can also burrow down deep into tissues, particularly in areas like your digestive system where they start to multiply, setting up little candida cities.  

Other ‘virulence traits’ include candida’s ability to engage in unisex reproduction and also hide from detection by your immune system.

Interested in learning more about how to find hormonal balance with proper nutrition? Join our exclusive full program viewing below:

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 Why Your Doctor May Not Recognize Candida

Many traditional Western doctors treat candida as though it is a ‘made up’ condition or claim that even discussing it is quackery. Yet the reality is that medical science is only just catching up to the knowledge of integrative practitioners, who take candida overgrowth very seriously. For example, the link between candida and chronic sinus issues has only recently been confirmed by research at the Mayo clinic in the US:

“Up to now, the cause of chronic sinusitis has not been known,” say the Mayo researchers: Dr. David Sherris, Eugene Kern and Jens Ponikau, Mayo Clinic ear, nose and throat specialists. Their report appears in the September issue of the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

“Fungus allergy was thought to be involved in less than ten percent of cases,” says Dr Sherris. “Our studies indicate that, in fact, fungus is likely the cause of nearly all of these problems. And it is not an allergic reaction, but an immune reaction.”

The results, the researchers say, clearly portray a disease process in which, in sensitive individuals, the body’s immune system sends eosinophils (white blood cells) to attack fungi and the eosinophils  irritate the membranes in the nose. As long as fungi remain, so will the irritation.

You can read more about the study here

This sinus-candida connection is not news to integrative practitioners who have been recognizing the wide range of candida symptoms since the late 1970s (and even earlier). Yet many ‘traditional’ doctors don’t acknowledge the millions of anecdotal cases of people who have successfully used lifestyle changes to treat their candida overgrowth and symptoms.

Diagnosing Candida

Systemic candida is notoriously difficult to diagnose (and treat).

Blood Tests are not reliable. You may have a negative result for an IgG, IgA and/or IgM blood antibody check, even though you have classic or terrible candida symptoms. If your doctor is willing to run these tests, it’s a good starting point but do not conclude you are candida-free just because they come back negative. Let your symptoms speak louder than the tests!

The Spit Test is my preferred method for candida detection. Though it has not been studied scientifically, I have found in my own practice that the test is very reliable.

When women I work with have issues with candida, their tests show the candida indicators. And if they re-test after treatment and lifestyle changes, in 9 out of 10 cases, the test shows a profound change. I have also encouraged a partner to take the test out of interest because he didn’t have any candida symptoms – it came back negative.

To do the Spit Test you:

  1. Do not eat any dairy the day before you test.
  2. Fill a clean glass with filtered water at room temperature.
  3. Spit some saliva into the glass in the morning before you have eaten, drunk or cleaned your teeth.
  4. Check the glass every 20 minutes over the next hour to look for:
  • Result #1: The saliva floats on top and nothing happens – it’s a great sign that you most likely do not have candida.
  • Result #2: The jelly-fish effect, where strings start to grow, stretching down into the water from the saliva that is floating on the top, or specks of saliva suspended in the water – either one could be a sign of candida (that was my saliva!) 
  • Result #3: The saliva sinks to the bottom – very likely it’s a serious case of candida yeast overgrowth. 

How To Interpret Results of Candida Saliva / Spit Test

Candida Solutions

When you start to treat candida you need a multi-layered approach that goes well beyond avoiding sugar and yeast and may include other protocols, including anti-fungal medication.

Candida can be an incredibly frustrating and extremely resilient fungal foe to fight. But I want to assure you that it is completely reversible. And while you’re undergoing a process to conquer and heal from candida, chronic symptoms can also be managed and minimized.

I’ve had clients clear their candida through lifestyle changes and as a result, they have suddenly lost large amounts of weight, been cured of longstanding allergies and became free of anxiety or depression for the first time in or decades.

I myself was in denial about my candida symptoms for many years because I had a thyroid autoimmune condition and was so busy, traveling and working in advertising. Then I suffered a terrible, raging case of thrush that lasted for months due to a parasitic infection that impaired my immune system’s innate ability to clear candida.

Only after trying many different treatments, did I realize the main cause of my candida (in my case: a parasite) and once I addressed it, my thrush (along with some other health issues) quickly resolved. It was an enormous relief and made me feel like a new woman.

If you want to know more about my recovery,  sign up for my newsletter (you can do that by signing up for the 15 Breakfasts to Rebalance Your Hormones gift), and check out Part 2 of the Candida series where I discuss my own healing from candida. I will also take a thorough look at effective candida solutions and offer tips about candida die-off, which can occur as you start to get your candida under control.


111 Comments to How Candida Yeast Overgrowth Creates a Hormonal Havoc | Part 1: Surprising Symptoms, Causes and Tests

    • Hi there,

      This article is really fantastic – thank you for posting! One question:

      You mention that ‘it is important to treat both candida and hormonal imbalance at the same time’.

      I have symptoms of low estrogen, high cortisol, and raging case of candida. How would I address these symptoms? (I will be getting tested soon).

      I know how to combat my candida (and have even done some tests to identify which anti-fungals would be most harmful to it). But how would I address the hormone issues, if adding bioidentical estrogen would just help my candida to thrive? It seems like candida can bind to everything…. 🙁

      I have reduced my stress significantly (even dropped down to a part time stress-free job), go to bed much earlier, cut out sugar (dairy, gluten, grains, etc – trying to heal my gut!) and I am exercising when I can but feel quite weak at the moment.

      Sorry if this is a silly question! Just would like to stop both hormone and candida damage at the same time, as I am really suffering physically!

      • Hi,

        I suffered with Candida in my gut after a round of amoxicillin in May. After researching and changing my diet drastically, I consulted a naturopath that came highly recommended. She did a complete blood panel and it showed no candida (this was a month after changing diet to fight it), and no auto immune disorders. We did discover I was in deep in early menopause. (I’m 47) Not shocking as I had an inkling this may be the case. I started bioidentical cream treatment in July. Very low level of estradiol (1mg) and then added progesterone a few weeks later (100mg at night). It has been a very stressful year and I have had a flare up of something: either digestive or candida. My eyelids seem to always be swollen and this has been happening since June. My diet is so streamlined that it’s confusing. We just did a second blood test to see how my level have changed since June. I believe the hormones are helping. I’m just tired of feeling off.

        • Hello Mary, I would be interested to know who your naturopath is. I am suffering fatigue in menopause.

      • Hi Tonia,
        It is not a silly question-it is actually very good! It is also not always easy to do both at once. It is quite a complex situation. She has links at the end of her article for more resources on this topic.
        ~Deanna HB Team


    • I had a parasite kit done last year and I was found to have a “moderate” candida infection. I was on antiobiotics for a month and had some major die off symptoms. It’s a year later and a lot of the symptoms are still there. I’ve had a major case of estrogen dominance, bio identical progesterone makes me worse, I have a thyroid issue, low energy, brain fog, sleep problems and depression as well an numerous gut issues. I never know what sets them off. Thank you for this article. It cleared up some things for me but I still need to figure out how to fix this. I hardly eat sugar or dairy. I am organic and paleo/keto. I need a clean and reset. I will read your site carefully.

    • I am on month 19 of candida yeast over growth in my small intestines. Been expelling white mucus almost everyday. Using parasite free and zencleanz enzymes. Many health problems resolved.
      Had ulcerative colitis for over 30 years.

  1. Thank you for sharing. I feel like my tongue is on fire all the time. None of my doctors know what is causing it. I do have Hashimoto Disease and have horrible sugar cravings all the time. I did at one time stop eating sugar, dairy and grains. I felt better but dropped so much weight. I just wish I knew what I could eat so I can and be healthy.

      • Hi I believe I have a zinc deficiency how much and what type of brand should I supplement? please advise thank you!

    • Hi Karen,

      It sounds like you may be dealing with Thrush. It may not be only about removing foods but adding something in to help you clear it.
      ~Deanna HB Team

  2. Thank you this information because I have been feeling just down right sluggish, moody for some time now. Just this morning I did the saliva test and the result was #3. So I do need assistance clearing this up.

    • Good that you are getting closer to finding some answers. We hope you have found a practitioner to help. ~Deanna HB Team

  3. Thank you for this article Magdalena, I really enjoy your work. I am in the thick of this now, and trying to fight the good fight. I am having a horrible time with sinus and histamine intolerance issues, but have many other symptoms as well. I think this may have originally occurred do to mold exposure in an old house I lived in several years ago, but my recent pregnancy, c section, two rounds of antibiotics, and postpartum hormone imbalance caused a huge flare when I started eating fermented foods. I have been knowingly dealing with this for 6 1/2 months now. 🙁 ugh! I am looking forward to part 2 so that I can maybe try a new approach or incorporate some new ideas in my current approach.

    • Hi Jami,
      You have been through some real challenges. Thank you for sharing your experience. We hope you have found someone to help you clear this. ~Deanna HB Team

  4. I thought fermented foods boost your immunity to fight diseases including candidiasis.

    • Hi Ana,

      Magdalena believes that you can still consume some fermented foods – if you know the right starter cultures to use (see more about that in Part 2 of this series).

  5. I had a blood test (it was a food allergy and candida test) that showed I had a low level of candida. However, I do not have problems with weight gain, in fact, I have gone off dairy (I had a low level allergy to dairy) and have lost a large amount of weight. I have never had sugar cravings, but there was a time when I was drinking quite a lot of wine. I have cut that way back; only once in awhile. I have drastically reduced sugar.
    I originally took this blood test because I have antibodies to my thyroid; I have Thyroiditis. I usually struggle with hyperthyroid symptoms, not hypo, so I do not have sluggishness. I have had fungal infections in my large toenails only.
    I have been trying to heal my gut (I have been gluten-free for several years). I have been on an elimination diet for 6 months, although a vacation in the middle of my diet, threw me off a bit (consumed some sugar). I have only recently added probiotics, which I hope don’t cause the candida to reproduce.
    I did the spit test and my saliva showed legs. Can I have a candida problem even though I don’t have many of the symptoms? I was told that some candida exists in all of our bodies.

    • Hi Nancy,

      Yes, candida is present in all guts but it is in proportion to our good bacteria that counts. If there is overgrowth and it is taking over than one can start to exhibit signs. Toe nail fungus is one of those signs and it could have contributed at least in part to development of hormone imbalance that caused thyroiditis.

    • Hi Robyn,

      This would apply to teens just the same. Even at a young age one can experience candida overgrowth.

    • Hi Robyn,
      Yes it applies to people of all ages. Even infants can be born with Candida overgrowth.

  6. Hi, re the spit test I’m confused by my results, some sinks to the bottom immediately & stays there & done floats on top – no strands. Does this warrant further investigation?

    • Hi Jenny,

      If there are no strings from the top spit that have formed you are testing ok as far as this test is concerned. If you want further testing there is blood work that can be done.

  7. When you say that candida binds to zinc, does that mean I should or should not be taking zinc supplements?

    • Hi Jill,
      Candida binding to zinc means that it is keeping your body from having access to or absorbing zinc properly. Many become zinc deficient because of this. So, taking extra zinc can help in this situation if you feel you are low.

  8. I really enjoyed this information. I believe I almost died from Candida Infection and of not I atleast felt like it. You seem quite informed on the topic and as I am now about 60 percent healed and need to get this right. How do you feel about thr Microbiome Diet. I bought a book on it. Do you feel it was a good guide back to a full microbiome health? Its expensive tp buy the foods but i have spent so much already but hoped you might know about it? Thanks! Im from Kansas City

    • Hi Rachel,
      I’m glad you are taking some steps to work on your candida issues. There are many diets out there and Magdalena believes that food is the best and first approach to heal the body. She has a Candida protocol in her Cooking for Balance program. Please sign up for the free workshop to learn more.
      Warmly, Angela HB Team

    • A year ago I had been eating really healthily but think I overdosed on sauerkraut and suddenly started craving all sorts of sugary desserts. It really knocked me off track and I ended up feeling tired, bloated and got a recurring yeast infection (I had them in my 20s). It took ages to recover to where I finally felt able to do a cleanse so I did the Jason Vale smoothie cleanse and felt amazing for a good few days but then suddenly the yeast infection reoccurred. So now I’m very confused. Was it because of the fruit in the smoothies (bananas, berries as well as spinach and kale)? I see some people saying fruit (with fibre in smoothies rather than juicing) is fine and others saying it’s the enemy. Some people have said that jason’s Approach has cured them of Candida! But then I’ve read that too much alkalinity in the gut can cause it to multiply (but you’re advocating that and I know anti-cancer treatments advocate it too. I drank a lot of lemon water for a few days before it flared up. And now I don’t know what’s actually right or wrong to consume and it all feels very helpless. Please help!

    • How do you get better if it is coming out of everywhere on your body and is in your brain

      • Hello Tonia, I am menopausal and have been treating my Candida for a few years. However, I tried HRT a couple of years ago and it did seem to make some symptoms worse. I came off it but still experienced fatigue. I thought I would try it again to cure menopausal symptoms but my fatigue is possibly worse. It would be good if we could compare notes on the hormone links. I read that progesterone is good for Candida control but not oestrogen but others disagree. I really want a hormone test to see if I have low testosterone. Will speak to GP in a couple of weeks.

  9. Have a lot of questions but ran I to this article late to to work so hopefully get to address this evening.

    • Hi Corrine,
      I hope you get a chance to read the article. Let us know if you have any questions.
      Kindly, Angela HB Team

  10. I was diagnosed with Candida 8 years ago. I took diflucan and it went away. I now have candida flare again. I’m taking diflucan and there has been no change this time. I was wondering if there could be a connection between Candida and the spironolactone I’ve been taking? I’m desperate and my doctor listens to me but she isn’t well versed in this matter . I’m getting worse despite diet change and diflucan. The spiro is the only thing I can think of that could be contributing .

    • Spironolactone can down-regulate the Th17 immune response which is vital for controlling Candida. Spironolactone does this by reducing aldosterone, which is a promoter of Th17.

  11. Hi,
    I feel like there might be a bit of chicken/egg syndrome going on for me. I too have a similar life long struggle. Same food issues gluten/dairy/egg. Where this gets confusing for me is that in an effort to balance my hormones I was told by my MD turned bio-identical Naturopath to discontinue natural hormones altogether because I broke out on my face with soars that released clear liquid that would not heal. His instant response was “you have an overgrowth of candida”. So at that point I was under the impression that the Candida did in fact CAUSE the hormone imbalance. Where here it seems as though ED is the contributor to Candida overgrowth, He said the progesterone was the reason for the break outs due to candida. Once I stopped the hormones I was prescribed fluconazole 10days on 10days off for months. Obviously that did not work. I could go on about what seem to work but just recently have been on the most effective supplements to treat the Candida. I believe in my core that the candida are the reason for all of the problems mentioned in this site.
    I deeply believe and have read many research studies that state they truly are one of highest contributing factors to most health issues. I believe their toxicity is what stresses the liver and it’s function, the bodies ability to maintain normal sugar levels, disruption of the guts ability to produce serotonin, and just plain function properly leading to vitamin deficiency (obviously from inadequate digestive and absorption). etc.
    It so incredibly overwhelming. I realize there is no one simple answer to all of these issues but there are some who believe as I that when the gut heals the body heals. I definitely know there are other invaders that need to go as well. Again what came first ED or candida…my guess candida.

  12. Hi my name is Jennyfer

    I have suffered from chronic yeast infections for 8 years now, every month before my period.
    Now I’m getting thrush and super itchy left ear.
    No doctor takes my case serious they just prescribe diflucan and send me away, well of so much diflican it looks likey body is immune to it.
    I don’t know what to do next.
    And to be honest I don’t think no doctor is willing to help a stay at home mom and low income family with Medicare. And to add doctor’s here near Boston area have little knowledge of candida albicans.

    I have months now all I think about is suicide is the best option for my case. I just don’t think I can take this anymore.
    I need help and don’t know where to even go or get it.

    Thanks for this article. Confirms why I feel so horrible right now. When I eat certain foods like with mushrooms.

  13. This article is really fantastic – thank you for posting! One question:

    You mention that ‘it is important to treat both candida and hormonal imbalance at the same time’.

    I have symptoms of low estrogen, high cortisol, and raging case of candida. How would I address these symptoms? (I will be getting tested soon).

    I know how to combat my candida (and have even done some tests to identify which anti-fungals would be most harmful to it). But how would I address the hormone issues, if adding bioidentical estrogen would just help my candida to thrive? It seems like candida can bind to everything…. 🙁

    I have reduced my stress significantly (even dropped down to a part time stress-free job), go to bed much earlier, cut out sugar (dairy, gluten, grains, etc – trying to heal my gut!) and I am exercising when I can but feel quite weak at the moment.

    Sorry if this is a silly question! Just would like to stop both hormone and candida damage at the same time, as I am really suffering physically!

    • Hi Tonia,
      It is not a silly question-it is actually very good! It is also not always easy to do both at once. It is quite a complex situation. She has links at the end of her article for more resources on this topic.
      ~Deanna HB Team

  14. To have Candida infection one must have sugar cravings? Can one loose weight fast while infected with Candida? Does eating sugar will make you more bloated if suffering from Candida?

    • Hi Umber,

      Yes, most people with candida issues have some form of sugar cravings. There are those that lose weight and some people gain. It is possible sugar can make someone with candida bloated.
      ~Deanna HB Team

  15. Very Interesting. I have suffered for many years, I got better in 2014 but it is now back with a vengeance and I am two stone heavier. I look forward o reading more tips.

    • Hi Lisa,

      Thank you for your feedback and sharing some of your experience. We know it is a challenging situation.
      ~Deanna HB Team

  16. Hi Jennyfer,

    I know how you feel… The hopelessness and even suicidal feelings. I’ve been on a torturous cycle of antibiotics and antifungals, steroids, antihistamines for “allergies” because doctors don’t know and even when I tell them about candida overgrowth, they dismiss it or refuse to acknowledge it. What you can do is change your diet to cut out sugars and carbs. I notice when I eat carbs, my ears and feet itch more. Do yours? All the advice here is good. You’re not alone.

    For the ears, try mixing half alcohol, half vinegar, and putting drops in your ears. Keep them dry if you can with Vaseline on cotton before showers. I also put clotrimazole solution in my ears.

    Please don’t give up.

    • Jennyfer,
      For vaginal thrush, try mixing half clotrimazole cream (over the counter) with betamethasone (need prescription from doctor) or hydrocortisone steroid cream and apply with q-tip for 1-2 weeks. It gave me relief at times.

      It feels like there’s something crawling on my skin and I’m not sure if that’s the candida or the die-off.

      I’m so relieved to find people who know my struggle because doctors don’t believe you and they give you this look like you’re strange.

      If you can, get these supplements: milk thistle, coconut oil, pao Darco tea, ginger tea, add garlic to meals, do Epsom salt baths, there’s more. Let me know if you want more info.

      • Hi there! I have been (I think successfully) lowering my candida levels but have been feeling symptoms of low estrogen. Could it be that now that I have lower candida levels, this caused the estrogen levels to decrease?

  17. Hi Jason

    I don’t understand why you say the spit test is BS? Would it not make sense that if you have a candida overgrowth in your gut that overnight it might have a better opportunity, especially if it has already compromised the digestive system causing reflux. to be be involved in the silent reflux that happens overnight ? It has less chance in the daytime I think, as we are drinking and eating many things which might discourage that part of the proliferation. It then makes sense to me that if you have a candida gut overgrowth the first spit in the morning would have traces of candida in it. And what happens with diet would decide whether or not you get a full blown case of oral candidiasis. Personally I think the spit test must be a good indication of candida infection in the body, which invariably starts in the gut.

  18. hi there i thought eating meat was bad for hormones because the more fibre you have the better your liver can digest the hormones but in your recipes they have meat?

  19. Hello, excellent article and information. Thank you. Regarding the spit test; do you just put a little foamy spit from the tip of the tongue or a big blob from the back of the throat? If you know what I mean. Also, which parasite did you have, how did you find out and what did you take to kill it?
    Thank you!

    and no sugar (including fruits) or carbs of any kind, and no vinegar
    SAVED MY LIFE!!!!!!! read the Yeast Connection!!!!

    • I have systemic candidiasis everywhere on my body coming out of everywhere
      I have parasites as well
      Leaky gut and low stomach acid
      I need help please

      • borax powder, 1 teaspoon a day in water, sip it throughout the day. Remove sugar and carbs also

  21. BTW this is the most thorough and well written article I’ve read on the subject, it just doesn’t tell you what to do!!! so see below before you read part 2!!!!

  22. I’m in dire need of advice. Without getting into my whole health journey- I need to know. Is it possible to have a major candida problem if it didn’t show up on my comprehensive stool test??

    I have every single symptom, diagnosed with lyme, on antibiotics for over a year. Get yeast infection every month around my period. Showed up in my blood and not stool. I get violently sick with probiotics. I have developed gastroparesis and am really struggling. I’m convinced it’s all because of candida. If you could let me know if it is at all possible to have 2 negative stool samples but still have a candida problem it would put my mind at ease. Thank you!

    • I believe you would have to kill the candida before introducing probiotics or fermented foods as it will only feed it and make it grow until you get it under control then start your probiotics

      • There are probiotics that kill and or inhibit fungus. DE111 (Bacillus subtilis) is a patented and clinically studied probiotic proven to kill candida and other intestinal fungi. You may try introducing a daily supplement with it as part of a comprehensive candida clearing strategy.

    • Hi Kayla, Are you working with a functional medical practitioner? Ask your doctor about a comprehensive stool test. This is a multiple-day collection that provides a more complete look at the microbiome and can uncover fungal, bacterial, or parasitic overgrowth, as well as beneficial bacteria levels.
      If you need help locating a functional doctor in your are, here is a helpful tool:

      ~ Jeanne HB Team

      • This is exactly what I’m dealing with now. SIBO treatment not going quickly because Candida isn’t controlled yet. Working on it…

    • I finally found a probiotic that doesn’t make me sick. It’s by Microbiome Labs and is a spore probiotic made from plants. My integrative gastroenterologist has me on a gut microbiome rebuilding program, I am hoping to naturally decrease the candida, because antifungal medicines cause horrible Herxing side effects. Just two days of diflucan for a vaginal yeast infection triggered fibromyalgia, costochondritis, debilitating fatigue, itching, and flu-like symptoms.

  23. This post was very helpful and I was impressed by you backing your statements with evidence… until you referred to serotonin as the “happiness hormone” …..
    You should do you your research on serotonin! Firstly, it is not a hormone, it’s a neurotransmitter, and secondly, saying it’s a “happiness” inducing neurotransmitter is incorrect according to the most recent research on serotonin.

    I hope you see this as constructive criticism!

  24. […] Candida overgrowth symptoms are varied: fatigue/exhaustion, insomnia, depression & anxiety (decreases serotonin production), brain fog, dizziness, aches, regular colds, recurring UTIs, acne, psoriasis, athletes foot, bad breath, coating on the tongue, sinusitis, post-nasal drip, hay-fever, asthma, weight issues, tinnitus, food sensitivities, digestive disturbances like gas, bloating, indigestion, and a feeling that your meal is incomplete without something sweet. […]

  25. Hello, I was wondering if candida overgrowth can also cause premature ovarian failure/pre-menopause? If so, can the POF be reversed once the candida overgrowth is treated?

    • HI Sue, there are some studies that show a connection between the two. Yes, healing candida can do wonders for our hormonal health, our digestion and reproductive health. – Jen HB Support

    • I am currently battling an oral thrush infection. I’m working with ENT doctor. They have tried treating it 5 times now and it is not going away. Lab work has been run several times and everything looks normal. Any advice? It’s scary to have this infection not going away with treatment. I mentioned hormone imbalance and my primary care doctor put me on birth control to see if it helped me. I wonder if that made it even worse. Should I seek help from a special doctor other than ENT?

  26. I have had horrific systemic candida for 9 years – insane. I have found that post menopausal hormone fluxes have aggravated the devil out of it. I have tried no carb, sugar, dairy, fruit diets to no avail found temporary solace in drinking garlic tea for obscene rectal itching. Hair has thinned way out. Tired, depressed, you name it. I have heard that infectious disease doctors can really help. Many patients that have AIDS or have had cancer get this. Does anyone have experience with this. What about anti-fungal IV drips?

    • Look into Dr Robert Morse “the detox miracle sourcebook” and watch his you tube video on “the great lymphatic system” … your body needs a major detox! Xoxo

        • HI Jewel,
          It’s somewhat the opposite effect. Those with blood sugar problems may see more Candida effects, especially those who have high blood sugar. Yeast feeds off sugar so it can be a bad combo. Hope this helps.
          Healthy regards,
          HB Team

    • Please contact Michael Biamonte in New York. Can do everything over the phone. It’s not easy and it’s somewhat expensive. I’m going through your pain. Don’t waste your time, you cannot be your own doctor. God bless

    • Go to and order a product called Mycostat Complex. This product plus the avoidence of sugar, simple carbs, alcohol, and caffeine, significantly reduced my candida levels. I have taken six bottles of it over the course of about a year.

    • You need to go on an all-alkaline diet. It will help to do intermittent fasting too & take vitamin D3 iodine and iron flourine or sea moss.

  27. Candida is at epidemic levels. People everywhere are having so many different symptoms all related to yeast overgrowth. Functional medicine doctors are the best people to help you.

    There is a direct relationship between heavy metals and yeast overgrowth. Do not forget glyphosate is in all of our food supply now causing impaired liver detoxification pathways. Glyphosate acts as an antibiotic when it gets into our digestive tract that is how it kills the weeds in roundup.

  28. Thanks for sharing ❤️ this info. I recently had to be prescribed antibiotics for a sinus infection, so I already knew I would get a yeast infection because I always do whenever I have to take antibiotics. Diflucan gives me a lot of relief (so happy 😊 I search google for ‘NOCND247’ and got it a way cheaper). What many people may not know is that antibiotics can cause other medical issues to develop while taking them, such as diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps, excessive gas, yeast infections, etc. Taking antibiotics this time resulted in me having a vaginal and anal yeast infection. I hate itching worse than being in pain!

  29. So clearly, I’m a basket case but at least I’m not as alone as I thought I was here. One of my struggles is that I’m have hypoglycemic tendencies (… possibly another symptom??) and not eating carbs of any sort will make the room spin every time I stand up and make me feel heavy, nauseous, and tired all the time. I also lose weight really fast that way and I’m a little person as it is. Low carb dieting is NOT for me, but I also have a stubborn, miserable candida infection.
    Please help.

  30. I hope someone will help me with my daughter’s on going candida symptoms. She has a disability that includes seizures, and had had to take bio identical progesterone to stop seizures related to her menses.
    It has taken us about 10 years to finally put the candida puzzle together, but she started with a toenail fungus that would not clear.
    As the years went on, she’s developed strange skin symptoms, such as a patch of psoriasis on back of head (it’s gone now), a small bald patch that flared up into a ringworm looking patch (it’s dormant at the moment), flaky skin on toes that cleared on it’s own, and now the latest, a red patch that comes and goes on outer ear, extreme itching inside that ear, and finally, intense vaginal itching without discharge, that lead us to take her to Urgent Care, due to lack of sleep from the itching.
    She was put on a three day course of Diflucan (150 mg), which seemed to ease the symptoms for a couple of days, but within a few days, we had to give another round. We will be giving her the last dose today, and my fear is that it will return, but I fear the liver damage possibility, as she is on heavy duty seizure medications as well.

    We have kept her on a strict keto/low carb diet through the years, but we can’t avoid the bio-identical progesterone, as she will have estrogen-related seizures, along with very heavy and very painful menses. We had to put her on the progesterone to stop menses and hormone fluctuations.
    At this point, I am not sure what to do. Her regular GP does not believe in candida overgrowth and treating it in “naturopathic” way,
    Caprylic Acid tends to make her seizures breakthrough, but I have started her on a really good probiotic.
    Thank you for any help you can give.

  31. Thank you this has been very helpful. I have tried the Candida diet twice before but not managed to eradicate it, but I am certain its causing hormonal havoc thats more complex now I am menopausal so I am about to attempt the diet for the third time and hoping this time I can cure myself once and for all! I shall look into anti-fungal drugs to help get rid of it.

  32. Hi
    your article is very interesting. I have a question. Along with all the symptoms you have mentioned my daughter also gets seizures during her periods. Could yeast be a cause? Do you know anyone who can test and help her. She is on high AEDS but they do not help her seizures at times of prriods.

    • HI Keerthi, We are sorry to hear she is going through this. Seizures are not something we are educated on unfortunately. So we don’t really have any further resources for you. We would recommend finding a functional medicine practitioner that specializes in Women’s cycles. Here is a link for you: Take care – Jen @Hormones Balance

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