Candida testing is one of the most frustrating aspects about candida because of it’s varied symptoms – many of which seem unrelated. Unfortunately, that makes it easy for someone with candida to be thought of as a hypochondriac. People may think you’re someone looking for sympathy, or think you’re crazy.
Travis has had those wonderful experiences – doctors quirking their eyebrows at him and suggesting it was all in his head. When you’ve visited doctors, specialists, had several tests, scans, and ER trips worth thousands of dollars… it’s pretty insulting to be told that you’re making it up.
But thankfully, there are ways you can test for candida. Determining which test you take depends on what you’re looking for: reliability, ease, or simply a way to curb your curiosity. You might be satisfied looking at the list of symptoms and coming to your own experienced conclusion, you might be willing to experiment with some easy tests at home, or you might want to invest time into lab tests.
I’ve listed various tests below, their pros and cons, and my thoughts on each.
The spit test
The spit test is probably the most common test you’ll hear about. You test by spitting into a glass of water as soon as you wake up – without eating anything first. Then you let it sit for about an hour, checking it every 15 minutes or so. Your saliva should stay floating at the top. If you have yeast issues, you’ll see string-like legs dangling in the water. If there isn’t a yeast issue, there will be no dangling legs.
Cons: It doesn’t seem reliable. I’ve done this test myself, several times, while I had tinea versicolor (fungal skin rash) – and the test continually came up negative. My experience is that it will more often show a negative result, even if candida is an issue.
Pros: No cost method, it’s easy to do at home, and can make a fun science experiment for the kids. 😉
The tongue test
This is another commonly used test. With this test, you open your mouth and stick your tongue out as far as you can. Look in a mirror and notice the color of your tongue. Does it have a white or yellowish coating? Is it nice and pink? The general consensus about this test is that If your tongue has a coating, you could have candida.
Cons: This test can tell you if something is going on in your body, but it may or may not be candida. Are you going through a detox protocol? Do you have bad breath? Do you have poor gum health or gingivitis? All of these things can affect the color of your tongue as well.
Pros: Testing is free and easy to do in the comfort of your home.
The symptoms test
Let’s say you want to look over the list of symptoms to determine the likelihood of candida. You look through the list and can identify 15 symptoms. Does this mean you have candida? Not necessarily. If you only have one or two symptoms, does that mean you don’t have candida? That’s not necessarily true either.
Here’s why: Let’s assume you have several neurological issues. You deal with depression, headaches, irritability, anxiety, and brain fog. “Wow”, you think, “I have a lot of symptoms, I must have candida.” But all of those symptoms can be linked to other health issues. It might be hormonal, gut health, or deficiencies.
Now let’s say you look over the list and the only one that really sticks out is yeast infections. That’s one you could talk about in your sleep! Maybe you have yeast infections once or twice a month, they’re painful and have a distinct smell. Maybe the medications that first worked for them are ineffective and your doctor has to prescribe you something stronger this time, yet they still come back. In my opinion, this would be more likely a case of yeast/candida – even if you’re only dealing with one symptom.
Cons: Candida is a health issue with a wide variety of symptoms. Checking off several symptoms as opposed to one or two isn’t going to tell you for sure if candida overgrowth is something you’re dealing with.
Pros: This test doesn’t cost anything, and you can quickly check off the symptoms you have or don’t have.
Before the age of the internet, Dr. Crook, author of The Yeast Connection created a questionnaire in his book to evaluate symptoms, medications, lifestyle, etc. Today you can find it and other questionnaires online:
Cons: If you need candida to be ‘proven’, a lab test is more reliable in the eyes of the medical community than a questionnaire.
Pros: Again, this is easy to do at home and in my opinion better than the tests mentioned above as they take into consideration several lifestyle factors and not symptoms alone.
You might lean toward a blood test if you need to have results ‘on paper’ or want a more solid answer. A blood test looks for high levels of candida antibodies. This means your immune system is already reacting to candida. However, candida lowers your immunity, so false negatives can result simply because your immune system isn’t able to create high enough antibodies to be detected.
The easiest way to test is to order a kit from a lab, prick your finger and place drops of blood on their designated lab slide, and mail it back. The best tests will test for IgA, IgM, and IgG candida antibodies and will have a doctor available if you have questions after getting your results.
Cons: These tests are based on statistics/math rather than symptoms. So while you have candida’s symptoms, the test may show a false negative.Your immune system isn’t able to create high enough antibodies to detect it. On the other hand, if you had a bad case of candida in the past, a test may pick up any lingering antibodies and show a positive when you’re dealing with a mild case.
Pros: This is a more ‘scientific’ test that can still be done in the privacy of your home. I can get you set up with a test, and after you receive your results, you and I can set up a time to talk about your results as well. There is also a doctor on staff should you have further questions.
The stool test is another test that’s easy to do in the comfort of your home. You order a kit, it’s mailed to you, you collect your samples and send it back. There’s no need to try to collect it in a clinic or hospital setting.
There are several tests that can test for candida. My recommendation is to choose a stool test that gives you the option to take three samples instead of just one. This will provide more accuracy since one sample alone may not contain yeast and your test could then show a false negative. Some of the better tests like this one will also test for inflammation, immune function, parasites, etc. as well as giving you the option to talk with an on-site doctor about your results.
Cons: A more expensive option. Reliability isn’t 100% since your stool is coming from your large intestine so any candida that appears will only be from that area. If you have candida in the small intestine or other areas, it may not show up.
Pros: Easy to do at home – no need to try to collect it in a clinic or hospital setting. A comprehensive digestive stool analysis will be able to test for more than just candida. This test will give you a broader picture of your overall health. The analysis should also be able to tell you the species of yeast which would help in finding more effective treatment. A stool test will likely be more reliable than a blood test.
Several ways to test
There are several candida tests available, but unfortunately, none can guarantee 100% accuracy. I would first recommend that everyone use the questionnaires. These are quick, non-invasive tests.The results can reveal a yeast problem. From there, you can determine which of the other tests will be a good option based on your preferences.