Guest post from Dr. Eric Bakker, ND
Conventional Medical Tests for Candida
As I mentioned in our previous post on Candida, I’m a huge fan of diagnostic and science based medicine and I truly feel these mainstream diagnostic tests are critical in the quick diagnosis of a Candida overgrowth. Three of the most common conventional tests for the Candida yeast organism are via blood testing, urine testing, and stool sample testing.
There are actually two blood tests your doctor can order for you. The first is the Candida antibody blood test. This is considered a qualitative test and will show if you are currently experiencing or have had a past systemic Candida infection; it will also show how severe your current condition is. The second is the gut fermentation blood test. This particular test will test the level of ethanol in your blood one hour after you consume glucose (sugars) to see how the sugar is converting in your bloodstream. If the level of ethanol is high, it indicates that there is a yeast overgrowth in your intestines and that the organism is fermenting carbohydrates during the digestive process.
Stool and urine testing aren’t uncommon methods of testing for a wide variety of conditions, but they’re often overlooked in terms of Candida. A stool sample can determine if the level of yeast in your digestive tract falls into a normal range, although it is important to remember that each individual’s “normal” may vary. A stool test can be performed microscopically to determine the presence and numbers of yeast, in addition to a yeast cult
The urine tests will look for the level of tartaric acid or the organic acid called D-arabinitol in your body. High levels of either indicate a Candida overgrowth. I have only the past few years started to use these forms of urine testing, and have found them to be an excellent way to assess dysbiosis (bad bacteria build-up) and a yeast infection. The main yeast and fungal dysbiosis marker in the urine I check for elevation in particular is D-arabinitol.
If I had to choose a mainstream approach to diagnosis, I’d opt for the comprehensive stool test. Blood and urine samples are not necessarily bad, but they’re not always as accurate as the stool test and can leave a lot of room for interpretation and error. The comprehensive stool test tends to be more reliable, because it gives the clinician considerably more information in the way of “biomarkers”, for example a comprehensive stool test will reveal inflammatory bowel markers, immune markers, a yeast panel, what levels of beneficial and non-beneficial bacteria are present and even more. No other test offers this level of information for those with a yeast infection. Like all functional tests, I have found that by carefully evaluating a patient’s case history as well as their stool test results, I can pinpoint their particular metabolic dysfunction and then tailor-make a comprehensive, customized treatment plan for each individual patient. And so can your experienced naturopath or integrative doctor.
Home Tests for Candida
If you’re merely curious, or if you’re not quite sure you want to approach a mainstream practitioner quite yet, there are several things you can do to test yourself at home before looking for options for treating Candida naturally. I’ve developed several tests you can do at home, for free. These tests include the itch test, the smell test, the sound test, the craving test, and more.
The itch test is relatively simple if you are able to remain focused on it for a couple of days. Your goal is to become ridiculously aware of your body for 48 to 72 hours. During this time, you need to pay attention to any part of your body that itches. Do you absentmindedly itch your scalp? Do your eyes always itch? How about your toes? Your groin, arms or legs, ears, etc.? Write down every single time you need to itch or scratch and exactly what part of the body was involved. You’ll be able to take this information to your naturopath or doctor and use it to aid in your diagnosis.
The craving test is also simple. We all tend to enjoy foods with carbohydrates, but those who have Candida absolutely feel as though they need and want carbs. The main indicator is the craving (conscious or not) for sweet foods between and especially after your meals. Sweet or carb-laden foods include breads, chocolate, sugar in your coffee, and desserts. You’d be surprised if you knew how many people eat sugary foods without realizing or even thinking about it, and sugar definitely fuels Candida. For this test, you’ll write down exactly what you eat (what foods you really love), what times you eat, and how often you are eating. After you’ve done that for a couple of days, spend 2 or 3 days eating a diet with absolutely NO processed sugars and carbs. See how you feel. Are you feeling alert and well or are you suffering from insane cravings?
One of the most interesting home tests is the spit test. When you wake up in the morning, grab a clean glass of water and spit into it. Don’t brush your teeth, eat, or drink anything before doing this. Watch the glass of water for about an hour. Is your spit cloudy? Is it growing tendrils that are hanging down into the glass? Has the cloudy spit suspended mid-glass in specks? Has the cloudy spit sunk to the bottom of the glass? Clear spit is healthy spit. Cloudy spit that does any of these things indicates an overgrowth. It’s important to note that this test can give a negative result, on a rare occasion, in those who do have Candida, so if you’re experiencing symptoms, you should still get checked out.
There are a couple of other home tests you can do. One involves smelling your body and the other involves a home blood test kit. You can read about several home tests on my site if you’re interested, but you will need to get the Candida Crusher book if you want to study all of them, and also utilize my Candida Home Test Tracker. Obtaining a diagnosis as early as possible is crucial to your Candida treatment. The longer the yeast organism thrives in your body, the harder it will be to kill off later on, and the worse the infection may become. You’ll ultimately need to work hard to eat a healthy diet and you’ll end up taking some high quality supplements to deal with the overgrowth while at the same time boosting your weakened immune system.
Don’t be discouraged if your mainstream physician isn’t giving you the answers you were hoping for, or if he doesn’t seem interested in your questions about Candida. There are many qualified natural practitioners and experienced integrative doctors out there. Start looking for one in your area, get the testing you need, and move on with your life. In the end, you’ll probably feel better over time than you have in your entire life.
About the Author: Dr. Eric Bakker, ND, is a naturopathic physician from New Zealand and author of Candida Crusher. He has spent the past 20 years dedicated to the study, diagnosis, and treatment of Candida. Visit him at yeastinfection.org to learn more about how yeast infections can impact your health.
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