People who are suffering with Candida overgrowth can often be misdiagnosed. The most common misdiagnoses seem to be fibromyalgia, depression, ADHD, food allergies, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. These diagnoses may seem kind of random, but the Candida symptoms encompass such a broad spectrum, it becomes easier to see why this happens.
Here are the symptoms I was experiencing: (not all of these would occur simultaneously)
Sore throat, headache, sore tongue, extreme fatigue, deep muscle aches, especially from my hips down to my feet, lower back pain, brain fog, emotional extremes, intense anxiety, feeling weak/strength loss, feverish, cold, loss of appetite/loss of taste, nausea, difficulty thinking of the right word, slurred speech/stuttering, concentration issues, vaginal yeast infections, rectal irritation, bloating
How does Candida overgrowth have such an effect on the body? It was mind-blowing at first. I read a book from the library called Candida: A Natural Approach by Shirley Trickett and Karen Brody. This is not an affiliate link.
The reason I started reading this book was to gain more of an understanding of Candida. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I was already on The Ultimate Candida Diet.
This diet was working very well. The interesting piece of advice I got at the beginning of the book Candida: A Natural Approach was there are many different Candida diets out there and it will make you crazy trying to follow all the different ones. Shirley’s approach was to find one that fits you and stick with it. That is exactly what I did. Even though I did not follow Shirley’s diet, her book helped me understand more about what Candida was doing to my body and mind.
As Candida multiplies, it forms chains that become parasitic. The Candida actually starts to change the PH in your gut. This allows an increase in Candida growth. Candida then causes your large intestine to become more permeable. If you have heard the term “leaky gut”, you know what I am talking about. The wall of your intestine starts to allow more objects to travel in and out. These objects may be bacteria or food that is not completely digested. Once these objects get into your blood stream, your body exhibits any of the symptoms I mentioned above. Then your immune system tries to attack these foreign objects. As the Candida gains more of a foothold, it travels throughout the body, and eventually becomes detectable in your blood. It alters your body chemistry and your immune system function.
So let’s flash back to October last year. This was pre-candida treatment. This is not my finest moment……
I went to get a haircut at the beauty school with my kids in tow doing their school work. I had a tight schedule that day, and the beauty school usually takes about 2 hours to finish my hair. (They are students, so it’s a process) I knew it was going to be difficult to get out of there, head home to wash my hair (30 minute drive), and head to work (35 minute drive). I was determined to get it cut though because I was too tired to do my hair anymore. I needed a shorter cut. The stress was mounting as the hair cut was taking more time, and my daughter kept reminding me that I had to be at work. The teacher that was helping, cut my hair shorter than I wanted and that was causing me anxiety as well. When I finally got out of there, I was stressed to the max. My kids were complaining that they had to sit there during all this. As we got in the car, I went off on a yelling tirade. I was crying and yelling “nobody asks the mommy what she wants, nobody cares about the mommy”, and on and on I went. I was so upset, I continued driving down a road I don’t normally take. I really had no idea of time and space. I just kept yelling and crying. In fact, the loud voice I suddenly heard did not make any sense nor did I know where it came from. A car had flashed me from the opposite lane, but I thought he was crazy. Anyway, turned out that a motorcycle policeman had been following me for a while and was pulling me over. I had no idea what was happening, so I pulled over. Apparently, I was speeding in a school zone. I told him I had no idea, and that I don’t usually travel this way. I was still crying, and now I was shaking. I could barely get my license out. After all this, he still writes a ticket and sends me on my way. Now, I am completely stressed and on my way home. Oh, and did I mention, my husband had called right before I got pulled over, I clicked my headset on and forgot he was there. So he heard the crying, yelling, and the policemen. My husband called back as we were almost home. He asked how I was doing and I said not well. I asked him to call work and tell them I would be late. At this point, I was a mess with no hope. Out of control, crushed, and now worried about how I was going to pay at least $300 for a speeding ticket.
That is a moment that stands out for me. There were a lot of moments that made me think I needed help. Maybe I was going crazy. There were so many times I thought I was crazy. I started to think that people were being malicious behind my back. That people didn’t really like me. I had all this “noise” in my head, that didn’t allow me to think clearly anymore. Not only was there like a constant “white noise”, but there were also constant terrible thoughts circulating. I couldn’t stop it, and it became the norm in my head. Most of the time, I didn’t recognize it was there. I remember being in church one morning during worship, and it lifted. It was gone. I thanked God for the relief and the revelation. The absence of all that junk, brought me the awareness of what I had been living with. It had been robbing me of joy, making me withdraw from people, and changing my relationships in general.
Reading Candida: A Natural Approach, helped me understand what was going on mentally. When I read this part, I cried:
“The waste products of candida can escape from the bowel into the bloodstream and ‘poison’ the brain. When the biochemistry of the brain is seriously affected it gives rise to psychological symptoms. In this instance, however, the symptoms have their foundation in a physical cause. It is therefore useless to treat the ‘brain’ symptoms of candidiasis–which can range from feelings of hopelessness, irritability, confusion, anxiety, and depression to a schizophrenic-like state– with tranquilizers, antidepressants, or psychotherapy.”
I finally understood that this was temporary. I was not crazy, and I could get better. I also understood that it was not just a battle for my body, but a battle for my mind as well. I learned that although no one could “see” that the battles raging in my body, they were real.
I was also very disturbed with how my doctor had handled my sickness. I had gone repeatedly, being treated only for vaginal yeast infections. I was getting worse, and asked him if I should try the Candida diet. He didn’t think I should. We ran test after test and everything came back normal. Candida wasn’t detectable in my blood yet. The horrible words that echo in my mind from the doctor appointments are “You know, many women start experiencing a lot of yeast infections before they get fibromyalgia. You need to let me know if you start experiencing more joint pain.” At the time, I clung to those words like a life sentence. It was very discouraging. I was so desperate for things to change, that I started the Candida diet on my own. After I seeing progress with the candida diet, I knew fibromyalgia was nonsense. I started to read more about Candida and decided that I needed to help others out there. I kept thinking “how many people are suffering because they are misdiagnosed?”
The bottom line is: You have to be your own advocate, even when you’re sick and tired. Doctors bear a heavy load. Each person knows their own body the best. It is in our best interest to educate ourselves, test our bodies with natural approaches, and document everything. Then we can go back to our doctor or go to another doctor and share what we have learned.