Yeast infections, or yeast overgrowth, are a common result of antibiotic use. Yeast is also considered normal flora at low populations, since it is often found in the digestive tract.
However, remember that normal does not necessarily mean good. Yeast, especially the most common type called Candida, invades tissue and is a general irritant. Its growth inhibits the growth of good bacteria, and its life cycle produces the toxic effects of IBS symptoms in its host – you. Candida will take advantage of every opportunity it has to flourish. If your system has been wiped clean of friendly bacteria due to antibiotics (which do not kill yeast), Candida will likely pounce, either in your digestive tract or elsewhere in your body. Once it gets hold, it can be difficult to get rid of.
Candida can cause a huge variety of symptoms, including but not limited to all the symptoms of IBS, making it one of the most frustrating and confusing conditions to describe, not to mention endure. The average Candida sufferer reports about twenty different symptoms. Many sufferers give up trying to find out what is wrong with them because their symptoms seem unrelated. Diet can affect Candida symptoms too. Since yeast feeds upon sugars, a diet high in sweets, alcohol, starches, and refined carbohydrates may increase its growth. As a result, some health practitioners recommend special Candida diets that are low in sugar and refined carbohydrates.
If you think you may be suffering from a Candida infestation, it is very important that you undergo proper testing as soon as possible, as it can become a chronic condition if the fungus is allowed to take hold. If your tests are positive, you will be treated with the correct antifungal agents.
The best way to treat a yeast overgrowth is, of course, by preventing it in the first place. Make sure your friendly bacteria are well established, so that Candida has no chance to grow and spread. After using antibiotics, you should always replenish the intestines with good bacteria.
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Dr. Stephen Wangen is the award winning author of two books on solving digestive disorders, and a nationally recognized speaker on IBS. He has been on ABC, NBC, and Fox as well as public radio. He was recently named one of Seattle’s Top Doctors by Seattle Magazine.