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Missing diagnosis

Yeast syndrome should be suspected in anyone with chronic sinus and upper respiratory conditions and allergies, runny nose, postnasal drip, mucus in the throat, itchy ears or chronic sore throat, according to C. Orian Truss, a physician, who wrote “The Missing Diagnosis.” Unfortunately, yeast syndrome continues to be the missing diagnosis that doctors seldom discuss with their patients.

It may take decades of suffering before you come across a health-care provider who will suggest that yeast overgrowth could be causing your problems. Such was the case with me. I am nearing the end of one month since being diagnosed with intestinal candidiasis, or yeast syndrome. As my health returns, I am wondering why it took so long to hear that missing diagnosis.

Candida is the most common type of yeast found mainly in our intestines. It is a normally harmless fungus that is kept under control by beneficial bacteria, also found in our bodies. Unfortunately, the relationship between fungus and bacteria is knocked way out of whack by repeated courses of antibiotics. The drugs kill bacteria without discriminating between good or bad bacteria, and the candida comes to rule the roost.

Some may wonder how something in one’s gut could contribute to allergies and upper respiratory conditions, like sinusitis. The explanation is the overgrowth of candida results in a comprised immune system which triggers numerous health problems.

Typically, individuals with yeast syndrome have undergone many courses of antibiotics. Other common factors are having taken cortisone medications (such as prednisone) or other medications that weaken the gastrointestinal tract. Hormones or birth control pills can contribute to the problem which is why it is more prevalent in women than men.

Once the scale is out of balance, candidiasis is fueled by sugar, a staple in the typical American diet. Just like us, yeast considers sugar to be a favorite food. Symptoms of yeast overgrowth are usually noticed in the gastrointestinal tract first, with bloating, feelings of fullness, diarrhea, constipation, gas and cramping. As the yeast thrive, they continue to impact the immune system and branch out, causing new symptoms such as chronic sinus and upper respiratory problems, chronic fatigue, bladder infections, joint swelling and muscular weakness, multiple food allergies and chemical sensitivities.

By the time, I heard my diagnosis I had all of these problems and more. Treatment consists of taking prescription antifungal medication, eating a low-carb diet and adding in beneficial bacteria with probiotics. Treatment is a long-term process but understandingly so, as it took many years to get to this point. One of the first improvements I noticed was the end of my three-month-long sinus infection and painful sinus headaches. Now, I am looking forward to additional positive changes in my health.

You may have yeast syndrome if you:
•Feel bad “all over,” but no cause can be identified, and treatments of many kinds have failed.
•Have taken prolonged courses of broad-spectrum antibiotics.
•Have eaten a diet with plentiful yeast and sugar.
•Crave sweets, other carbohydrates or alcohol.
•Notice that sweets make the symptoms worse.
•Have taken birth control pills or corticosteroid drugs.
•Have had multiple pregnancies.
•Have had recurrent problems related to the reproductive organs.
•Have chronic gastrointestinal symptoms.
•Have had continued problems with athlete’s foot or fungus infection of the nails.
•Feel bad on cold days or in moldy areas.
•Are made ill by chemicals, tobacco smoke or fragrances.

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