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What to Know About Candida Cleanse

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on May 11, 2021

The Candida Cleanse (or Candida Diet) has become a popular fad diet. The goal of the diet is to reduce the amount of Candida fungi in the body. Candida fungi can cause infections such as vaginal yeast infections.

The Candida Cleanse is said to reduce symptoms related to candida growth, such as fatigue. However, there is currently no proof that the Candida Cleanse directly affects the amount of Candida in your intestines. Therefore, the Candida Cleanse may not reduce symptoms related to candida overgrowth.

How Candida Harms Your Health

Candida is a yeast, which is a type of fungus. There are several types of Candida. Candida lives in the environment, on your skin, and in your body without causing issues. However, some types of Candida can cause infections in humans.

Candida becomes a problem whenever it grows uncontrollably or grows deeper into the body. Candida in the bloodstream or vital organs — which are organs that people need to stay alive — can cause serious infections. Infections of Candida are called candidiasis.

Types of Candidiasis

The type of candidiasis is decided by where the fungus grows and how severe it is.

Vaginal Candidiasis. This is a common type of candidiasis caused by the growth of Candida in the vagina. Other names for this candidiasis are:

  • Vaginal yeast infection
  • Vulvovaginal candidiasis
  • Candidal vaginitis

Symptoms of vaginal candidiasis include:

  • Vaginal itching
  • Pain during sex
  • Pain and discomfort when peeing
  • Unusual vaginal discharge

Some women can also develop symptoms such as swelling and cracking of the vaginal walls.

One out of five women have Candida in their vagina, but they don’t have any of the symptoms listed above. The symptoms of vaginal candidiasis are similar to those of many other infections, so your doctor will need to make a diagnosis in order to provide proper treatment. Vaginal candidiasis is generally treated with antifungal medications.

Candidiasis of the mouth, throat, and esophagus. This type of candidiasis is more commonly called thrush. Thrush is caused by Candida overgrowth in the mouth, throat, and esophagus.

Symptoms of thrush include:

  • White patches in your mouth including, the inner cheeks, tongue, and throat
  • Redness
  • Cotton-like feeling in the mouth
  • Loss of taste
  • Pain while eating or swallowing
  • Cracking and redness at the corners of your mouth

Thrush doesn’t commonly occur in healthy adults. People with a weakened immune system tend to be at a higher risk for a Candida infection.

Thrush can be diagnosed by checking the mouth and throat. Diagnosis of candidiasis in the esophagus — which is a tube connecting the throat with the stomach — may require an endoscopy.

An endoscopy is a procedure in which a tube with a light and camera on the end is inserted into your mouth and down your throat. The images from the camera provide a closer look at your esophagus.

Invasive Candidiasis. This is a serious infection caused by Candida overgrowth in areas of the body. Invasive candidiasis is an infection of the:

  • Blood
  • Heart
  • Brain
  • Eyes
  • Bones

Invasive candidiasis often occurs alongside other medical conditions. When your immune system is weak, Candida is able to spread more easily.

The most common symptoms include fever and chills. However, if invasive candidiasis spreads to vital organs, you may experience a range of symptoms.

Invasive candidiasis is often diagnosed with a blood test or biopsy. Your doctor will take a blood or tissue sample from the infected body part and send it to a laboratory.

Effects of the Candida Cleanse

The Candida Cleanse aims to clear out the Candida fungi that grow in your intestines. Candida in your gastrointestinal tract — which is a passage that includes the main organs for digestion — is normal. The growth of Candida is generally kept under control by your normal gastrointestinal bacteria and immune system.

The Candida Cleanse removes many carbohydrates that are believed to support Candida overgrowth. Some of those foods include:

  • Sugar
  • White flour
  • Yeast
  • Cheese

People who follow the Candida Cleanse may notice an improvement in their symptoms.

However, the reason for improvements may be that the Candida Cleanse removes processed foods and bad carbohydrates.

Eliminating carbs from your diet may be detrimental to your health as they are a source of energy for your body. Instead of removing carbs entirely, you should eat healthy carbs like whole grains. Added sugars and processed flours are the main causes of tiredness and other symptoms of candidiasis in your digestive tract.

There’s no proof that the Candida Cleanse prevents Candidiasis. However, the Candida Diet can be an effective way to cut out undesirable carbs and processed sugars.

Preventing Candida overgrowth

Even if the Candida Cleanse doesn’t totally prevent Candida overgrowth, it is a helpful diet. The real way to prevent Candida overgrowth is by practicing proper hygiene and eating healthy food.

Practicing good oral hygiene will prevent Candidiasis of the mouth. Keeping your body clean can help prevent the spread of Candida that can cause vaginal candidiasis.

Maintaining a healthy diet can help prevent complications and support your immune system. People with a weaker immune system are at risk for problems linked with candidiasis.

Show Sources

SOURCES:

CDC: “Candida infections of the mouth, throat, and esophagus,” “Candidiasis,” “Diagnosis and Testing for Invasive Candidiasis,” “Invasive Candidiasis,” “Symptoms of Invasive Candidiasis,” “Vaginal Candidiasis.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “Candidiasis.”

HARVARD T.H. CHAN: “Carbohydrates.”

MAYO CLINIC: “What is a candida cleanse diet and what does it do?”

National Health Service: “Endoscopy.”

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