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Candida is a term that refers to a large family of yeasts (one celled fungi) that under normal circumstances, harmlessly inhabit the tissues of humans. This is because a balanced intestinal tract from mouth to colon contains a preponderance of beneficial bacteria that keep Candida in check.
When not enough beneficial bacteria are present in a given body tissue to keep Candida under control, Candida transforms from a harmless state into an invasive species. In this rapidly growing state, Candida puts out long stringy hyphae or “roots” which can penetrate through the tissues of the body.
Candida overgrowth can occur in many tissues of the body such as oral candidiasis known as thrush, the scalp as dandruff, or vaginal yeast infections.
What Causes Candida Overgrowth?
Candida is an opportunistic pathogen that can rapidly take over when a person is under a course of antibiotics. Antibiotics decimate beneficial gut flora but have little effect on Candida, giving this normally harmless yeast the chance to take over dominance of the gut environment very quickly.
Many women don’t realize it, but oral contraceptives imbalance the gut in the same way as antibiotics giving Candida an open door to take control.
A diet of processed foods high in sugars and simple carbohydrates also encourages Candida overgrowth as yeasts thrive on sugars.