For many years Candida suffers have reported that their symptoms will worsen during periods of stress. Women typically will report having more vaginal yeast infections during stressful times. Candida suffers notice that skin problems, digestive problems, allergies, ear, nose and throat problems, chemical sensitivities, fatigue, itching, and loss of memory and poor cognitive function and white coating of the tongue all worsen during times of stress. For years this has been observed by doctors and agreed upon, however no one has been able to give a satisfactory theory or explanation. A recent review of patient findings and records have led me to the following the conclusion. Candida worsens during periods of stress due to the adrenal hormone Cortisol! Over the last 10 years I have always observed that patients who were under great stress would not respond to a candida program the way others would. When these patients did improve they would also be the ones most likely to relapse. They always seem to end up being the “failed cases”. I now feel that there is hope for this type of patient to be able to recover. If the cortisol level is very high we must first lower the level so that the candida program has a chance to work. In a case where the cortisol is moderately high we may begin the candida program while we lower the cortisol.
THE CORTISOL CONNECTION
When under stress the adrenals glands will produce the anti-inflammatory hormone cortisol. The physiologist Hans Selye has mapped out for us different stages of stress and how the body chemically responds to them. In one of the stages of stress cortisol is secreted This hormone breaks down tissues in order to release proteins, sugar and nutrients so that the organs and muscles that are working during the stress have nourishment. This action then is balanced by another hormone Dhea. Dhea is secreted in an effort to balance cortisol. As Dhea is released the Cortisol release slows and body starts to build tissues back up. If stress is prolonged however cortisol will continue to be released. Cortisol can also lower the immune system and raise blood sugar. Both of these actions can increase in candida. If the immune response is decreased it will allow the candida that may be occurring in normal amounts to begin to overgrow. There is also some evidence that state that cortisol may inhibit or kill friendly bacteria such as acidophilus our protector against candida. As mentioned cortisol can also raise glucose levels. Candida is notably persistent in diabetics for the reason that they have higher glucose levels. Candida can quickly and easily feed on the elevated sugar levels caused by cortisol and naturally spread.
THE DETECTION OF CORTISOL
The easiest way to detect an increase in cortisol is to perform a saliva test. Saliva testing measures the level of the hormone that is active in the body more easily then blood work. If the cortisol is found to be elevated several nutrients can help to lower it. Gaba is an amino acid like substance naturally produced by the body. It has a calming effect and helps lower cortisol. It is available to take as a supplement. Phosphadtlyserine is another substance similar to Gaba that may help lower Cortisol. Your doctor must determine the dose. Reducing the stress must also be done. In some cases these nutrients will not be able to lower the cortisol if high stress continues.
PROGESTERONE AND ESTROGEN
Several medical texts including the Merk manual warn that hormone therapy can cause vaginal yeast infections in women. Most noted would be estrogen therapy. In my research I have found that any imbalance between estrogen and its partner hormone progesterone may cause candida. Some time ago we believed that too much estrogen would cause candida. They we found some women who would get candida from progesterone. After studying hundreds of cases I have concluded that it is an imbalance between the two that cause the candida overgrowth. It does not matter which is in excess, although it is more common to find estrogen excess in candida. Recently it has been found that the body pulls hormones out of the blood and stores them in the intestinal tract. It does this in effort to adjust the amount of hormone in the blood that can go into the cells and target sites throughout the body. Imbalances between estrogen and progesterone have been found to have a negative effect on the friendly protective bacteria. This in turn causes the candida to overgrow. As in the case of cortisol, both estrogen and progesterone if in excess or out of balance with each other, will have a direct effect on causing candida to grow as well as destroying friendly protective bacteria.
ESTROGEN AND PROGESTERONE DETECTION
As in the case of cortisol I favor saliva testing for estrogen and progesterone. When the levels are found imbalance we would recommend only the natural form of the hormone. The natural form of the hormone is also referred to as bio-identical. This means that the hormone is biologically identical to the one the body itself makes. Because of this it is safer and tends to work more naturally then the common prescribed hormones. Bio-identical hormones do not the side effects that the synthetic ones derived horse urine do. These are usually made from wild yam or soy.
Your doctor must be very careful to repeat the hormone testing after you have begun the treatment to insure that your level comes up to normal. We do not want the level to exceed normal either. Too much hormone will just create another imbalance. Proper testing is essential to fix this problem. When addressing the hormone imbalance great care must be taking not to give the patient any hormone therapy which will worsen the Candida. Standard hormone replacement therapy is usually in the form of a cap or tablet, which is taken orally. These then pass through the intestines and are released. The Candida is also sitting in the intestines and gets hit in the face by these hormones. The bad news is that the Candida eats up these hormones like Pop eye downing a can of spinach and becomes just as strong. Therefore we have developed a special technique of delivery these hormones in a way that will not worsen the Candida.
This is a very important breakthrough as it solves another part of the mystery of why some will not be able to clear their yeast problems.