Candida Overgrowth: Diagnosing + What to Expect

women's health Jul 17, 2020

Candida albicans has become well-known in the medical community, but it can be more difficult than expected to diagnose as it can manifest in many different ways. Symptom manifestations are expected in the gastrointestinal tract, but there are often symptoms arising in the nervous, immune, endocrine, genitourinary systems, as well as the skin. 

Candida itself isn’t a problem - it lives peacefully with other bacteria in our GI tract and in the vaginal canal of women. The issues arise when there is an overgrowth of the yeast. This situation can be made worse by an underfunctioning immune system and intestinal damage as the yeast can be absorbed from the intestinal tract and cause health issues. A general feeling of being “unwell” is common, presenting as fatigue, mental health issues, intestinal issues, allergies, decreased immune health, and skin issues.



Testing for candida is most commonly done with us by live blood cell analysis. Urine testing can also be warranted if frequent yeast infections or UTIs occur. Although blood testing is available, symptomatology is very important in identifying candida overgrowth. If you have candida, you won’t identify with all of the symptoms listed, but through consultation it can be more apparent. Some of the common symptoms of candidiasis are:

  • Chronic fatigue, low energy
  • Malaise
  • Bloating/Gas
  • Vaginal yeast infections
  • Frequent UTIs
  • Irritability
  • Low concentration
  • Menstrual and premenstrual complaints
  • Decreased libido
  • Cravings for: sugar, alcohol, high-carb foods



One of the primary and most common causes of candida overgrowth is the improper use or overuse of antibiotics. Prolonged or general antibiotic use can create a situation where candida and other bacterias become resistant to antibiotics and that is when overgrowth occurs. Lifestyle and what you eat are also major factors, and just because you lead a healthy lifestyle does not make you immune to an overgrowth! 

While no single one of the following can cause candida overgrowth, more than one can create an environment where the yeast and thrive and become too abundant:

  • Stress
  • Poor diet (high in sugar, dairy, refined carbohydrates)
  • Decreased immune function
  • Too much exercise
  • Low digestive enzymes
  • Intestinal microbiota imbalance 
  • Food poisoning
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Oral contraception use
  • Nutrient deficiencies



Making dietary and lifestyle changes are two of the best ways to control candida - the dietary changes are strict and require elimination of many foods that feed the yeast. That being said, it is important to test for candida before undertaking any of these protocols as they can be quite a commitment (but very worthwhile), difficult to follow without guidance, and can vary from person to person!

Dietary protocols and supplementation are used to create an environment where the candida can no longer thrive and will eventually die-off. This can take anywhere from 2 months to 6 months, with the most common timeline being 3-4 months. While this can seem intimidating, anyone that goes through with these protocols will say that they haven’t felt so awake and energized, less hangry and bloated, and overall more healthy!

After completing a candida protocol it is important to then work with gut health and healing the intestinal lining as cleansing (even when structured) can be a lot for the gut to handle. The goal once candida overgrowth has subsided is to remedy any leaky gut situations that occurred due to the overgrowth - which will both optimize intestinal health as well as decrease likelihood of another overgrowth!



An anti-candida diet focuses on starving the yeast of foods that it feeds on, things like certain fruits, starches and grains, rice, corn, coffee, alcohol, all sugars, some nuts, and basically all packaged foods. Again, this can seem daunting but it is all about forming routine around it and getting excited/creative with recipes, and that is exactly what we are here for! Here are some of my favourite foods and supplements that are typically part of an anti-candida diet:

  • GREENS! (Spinach, kale, collards, romaine)
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Green apples
  • Pineapple
  • Lemons/limes
  • Cabbage 
  • Avocados
  • Limes
  • Broccoli/Cauliflower
  • Sprouts and microgreens
  • Zucchini
  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Cilantro
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne
  • Tamari
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Coconut milk
  • Coconut oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Tempeh
  • All of the nuts/seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, chia, hemp, flax, almonds, walnuts)
  • Quinoa
  • Lentils
  • Brown rice



Supplementation has a great impact with candida - helping to heal the gut lining, detoxify, and boost immune function. Some go-to’s are:

  • Turkey tail mushroom
  • Pau D’arco
  • Probiotics
  • Grapefruit seed extract
  • Oregano oil
  • Bee pollen
  • Spirulina



The main thing most people think about following one of these protocols is that it’s restrictive and strict - and while it can be, there are really accessible and flavourful recipes, and a lot of variety within any plan! Here are a few recipes we love sharing with people as examples of what types of meals go into an anti-candida protocol:

Black Bean Wrap

Raw beet salad with Coconut sauce (omit sweetener)

Grain Free Granola

Chickpea Cauliflower Curry (omit sweetener)


Stay well! 


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