|Thrush in the mouth Copyright: adam88x / 123RF Stock Photo|
Yeast overgrowth is extremely common in ME/CFS, due to the particular type of immune dysfunction inherent in our disease. Yeast or candida is a type of fungus that lives naturally in the gastrointestinal tract, including the mouth, and also in the vagina. However, yeast overgrowth occurs when that yeast grows out of control and takes over. This can occur anytime in your life but is especially prevalent for anyone with immune deficiencies (like those with ME/CFS) and anyone who takes (or has taken) antibiotics because they kill off all the good bacteria in the gut that normally keeps the yeast under control.
Yeast overgrowth is one of those sneaky aspects of our disease - it may be a big contributor to your symptoms without you even being aware that you have it! That's how it is for me - when it flares up, I get extra-exhausted with horrible flu-like aches, brain fog, mild sore throat and wonder why, when I haven't overdone and don't seem to have been exposed to any infections. It sometimes takes me a while to realize it's the yeast flaring up again. I get thrush in my mouth when it gets really bad, but some women get vaginal yeast infections and some don't have any obvious signs other than the worsened ME/CFS symptoms. Severe brain fog is a very common sign of yeast overgrowth (or other infections behind the scenes).
This blog post, Treating Yeast Overgrowth/Candida explains all about how to know if yeast overgrowth is a factor for you, why it occurs, and mostly how to treat it. It includes a long list of the treatments my son and I have tried over the years (many of which we still maintain now). I just updated this post this year, to explain how we've maintained control over yeast overgrowth now for many years.
Since yeast overgrowth in ME/CFS stems in part from our immune dysfunction, Treating Immune Dysfunction can also help to control it. That post includes several treatments that have helped my son and I immensely, with all aspects of ME/CFS, including yeast overgrowth.
Loads of high-quality probiotics, some supplements, and sometimes medication can all help to control yeast overgrowth, but diet is a very important aspect of its treatment. This post, Eating Paleo for Immune Disorders: Our Approach, explains all about our diet, which is a modified Paleo diet, with a heavy focus on reducing sugar, yeast, and grains (those things all feed yeast) to help keep our yeast overgrowth under control (our diet also helps with metabolism and mitochondrial function for better energy and brain function). That post includes lots of ideas, links, and recipes for low-sugar treats that are delicious!
So, those are our experiences with yeast overgrowth and the treatments that have helped us to get it under control.
Do you struggle with yeast overgrowth? Is it possibly a factor you weren't aware of? What has worked best for you to get it under control? Please share your experiences in the comments below, so we can all help each other!