Candida Overgrowth : A Gastrointestinal Disorder

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Candida Overgrowth - A Gastrointestinal Disorder Definition: Candida albicans is an opportunistic fungal infection, part of the yeast family. In a healthy individual, C. albicans lives synergistically within the digestive tract, vaginal tract, and to a lessor extent on the skin. However, when the immune system is weak or beneficial flora is eliminated, C. albicans colonizes, invading healthy mucosal tissues (Berman & Sudbury, 2002, p. 919). Etiology: Candida is a group of about 150 yeast species with C. albicans accounting for 70-80% of all candida infections. Candida resides on skin and mucous membranes, including the GI tract (Aaron, 2015). In normal circumstances and in healthy individuals, C. albicans is controlled by beneficial…show more content…
80). When untreated, C. albicans may eventually enter the bloodstream, an infection known as candidaemia. This infection in the blood then has the opportunity to progress to the growth of fungal masses in the kidney, heart or brain and can become life threatening (Berman & Sudbury, 2002, p. 919). Although men suffer, women are eight times more likely to experience over growth of C. albicans due to the effects of estrogen, birth control pills and more frequent use of antibiotics (Murry, 2000, p. 56). Contributing factors for C. albicans overgrowth include the use or prolonged use of antibiotics, birth control pills, steroid medications and high consumption of sugar. The use of these drugs creates an imbalance of flora in the digestive tract overpowering the beneficial bacteria (Lipski, 2012, p. 80). Other contributing factors include decreased digestive secretions, dietary factors, impaired immunity, nutrient deficiency, and impaired liver function (Pizzorno & Murry, 2013, p. 463). In the case of a depressed immune system, triggers (e.g. antibiotic use or nutrient deficiency) allow the C. albicans overgrowth to burrow further within the lining of the GI tract. Thus, allowing the overgrowth to compete with cells and the body for nutrients, leading further into a nutrient deficit. As the overgrowth continues to flourish, C. albicans secretes mycotoxins and antigens further depressing the immune system (Pizzorno & Murry, 2013, p. 464). Symptomatology: Symptoms can
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