Whether you have some experience with candida infection yourself or whether you are new to them but are concerned that you or your loved ones may be suffering from them, you need to find someone reliable to help you out. If you have skin or vaginal infections from candida, your GP may be able to assess your condition and guide you on the treatment. However, the medical community considers intestinal candida overgrowth only a risk and a possibility in severely immunocompromised patients, like those suffering from AIDS or those who are undergoing therapy for cancer.
Intestinal candida overgrowth in people without severely compromised immunity is recognized by natural medicine. Interestingly, there is not much research done on this topic by the conventional medicine/scientific community to provide any proof of the claim that the condition does not exist.
Some recent research, actually, has been able to show proof of overgrowth of candida in the small intestine. A study by Gong and colleagues from China discovered in 2012 that a very specific strain of candida was present in Chinese patients with dyspepsia (indigestion) and the presence of this particular type of candida could be a sign of susceptibility to dyspepsia.
In 2013, Rao and colleagues from USA showed that dysmotility (impaired contraction and movement of digestive organs) and overuse of proton pump inhibitors (a type of antacids) were independent risk factors for overgrowth of fungi in small intestine. The same research group showed in 2014 that fungal overgrowth including that of candida in small intestine may cause chronic gastrointestinal symptoms like pain, bloating, fullness, nausea and gas in 25% of patients suffering from these symptoms. This research group has found that although fungal overgrowth may cause these symptoms, the symptoms do not always indicate fungal overgrowth – fungal overgrowth can thus only be ascertained by tests. These studies were done on normal patients who were not immunocompromised.
Although the issue of candida overgrowth has recently drawn some attention of scientists and preliminary studies have shown positive results, it may still be a while before more rigorous tests convince the conventional medical community of its existence. So, the right choice would be a good naturopathic doctor/physician who knows how to treat patients with candida infection based on research and experience with a large number of case studies and candida patients treated.
So, how does one go about finding the right candida specialist/expert – someone who has both knowledge and experience and knows how to help you get rid of your candida issues? This page aims to help you find a good naturopathic doctor by addressing the questions that you should be asking when looking for one. Let us start by understanding the difference between a naturopathic doctor and a naturopath.
Is there a difference between a naturopathic doctor/physician and a naturopath?
Although the terms “naturopath” and “naturopathic doctor/physician” are commonly used interchangeably, in modern usage, “naturopath” applies to non-medically trained natural health providers and “naturopathic doctor/physician” applies to a licensed practitioner who has graduated from a naturopathic medical school. A naturopathic physician learns the same basic sciences as a medical doctor, is also trained in diagnostic lab-testing and imaging, pharmacology and minor surgery. They get clinical training supervised by other licensed naturopathic doctors. Apart from all this, naturopathic doctors learn about natural remedies and dietary supplements.
Traditional naturopaths may have got their education in state chartered or proprietary schools, with varying curricula and requirements for graduation. They may receive diplomas from distance learning programs. Some may rely totally upon holistic or alternative medicines and have knowledge about traditional nutrition, supplements and herbs; however, the education may not have the same standardization as that of a naturopathic physician.
Are all NDs the same?
The basic education of all NDs would be the same however they may differ based on the additional naturopathic education that they received, for example traditional Chinese medicine or acupuncture. There are also additional speciality training and certifications that they may have. Also, different NDs may choose one or two different modalities while excluding all others – for example, dietary supplements and plant-based medicines. You might want to know the focus of your chosen ND as that will also help you find out the right ND for your needs.
Is your visit to the ND covered by your healthcare?
Most governmental health covers around the globe do not cover a visit to ND. However, several private insurance companies cover that. Whether you are covered would depend on where you are located and the healthcare insurance plan that you have. Call your insurance company to find out if you will be covered for a visit to the ND.
What a naturopathic physician can and cannot do for you?
You should be clear as to what your expectations should be from a naturopathic physician. Having been trained in naturopathic medicine, a naturopathic medicine can treat many acute and chronic ailments. A naturopathic physician can help you through certain ailments that sometimes a medical practitioner has a difficult time with, for example candida overgrowth issues. This would especially be true if they have enough clinical experience and have treated many patients of a similar type and have also researched the ailment well by themselves. The thing about naturopathic medicine is that being holistic in nature it needs you to learn to listen to your body. A good ND can actually empower you by educating and engaging you in your own health by understanding your body and listening to it.
Under situations like a broken bone or if you need surgery, the naturopathic doctor will not be able to help you. A good naturopathic physician will always refer you to conventional medical treatment whenever needed.
How to find the naturopath that is right for you and your case?
While searching for a naturopathic doctor that is right for you, consider the following points:
- Is the ND licensed or board certified? Practising NDs should have a license or must be board certified. Ensuring this will help you find out if the ND actually has the education that they claim to have.
- Where did he/she go to school? This is information that you should find out to know the quality of education that they have received.
- What is their unique practice style and what kind of treatments they use? What exactly do they practice? Acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy, or a mix of a few different treatments? Would their practice style and treatments suit you – are you comfortable with them?
- Is he/she evidence based? Does he/she use research based treatments? A ND using research based evidence is trying to provide you something that you can depend on. When there is scientific evidence for something, it gives more weight to it. However, not everything that science says is true. For example, in 1970s intake of saturated fats was found to be harmful to health – now there is evidence that not all saturated fat is bad and can actually be beneficial. There is also something as “bad science” and scientists drawing certain conclusions from bad experimentation, political pressure or other such issues. So, evidence should always be weighed in sensible terms. A good ND should be able to give you an opinion after weighing all the information that is available – the scientific and the natural.
- Is he/she friendly? It is rather important that the ND you choose is friendly, is a good listener and is sensitive to your concerns. He/she should not be afraid to field your questions/doubts and help you understand why certain things work in the way they do in a friendly manner. A good doctor knows that he/she is not “all-knowing” and would learn from every patient experience to enrich themselves with the knowledge from many – and thereby help even more people.
- What is his/her area of specialization and expertise? You would want to go to ND who specialises in candida issues and has ample experience with them if you want a cure of candida infections. So, it may be important to find out the expertise of the ND for best results.
- What about integrity? You want someone who is not out there to cheat you, to make false claims. So do your own research and find out about the integrity of the ND. You can look at patient recommendations, maybe even find other patients and talk to them about their experience.
- Are they up-to-date with latest research? It is a really good sign that a doctor keeps up-to-date with the latest research. While a doctor can be really busy with their time schedules, it is their duty as a doctor to know what is happening currently in the field. They should not be giving you something that has long been proven to be ineffective or even bad. They should also be up-to-date on any cutting-edge test that could be used by their patients.
- Do they go to events or give lectures? A presence of ND (or any doctor) at lecture events or conferences shows that they are open to the world – that they are sharing information and also learning themselves from different points-of-views out there. Events and lectures are a great place for specialists to meet and exchange information. This is another way that they could be keeping themselves updated on the latest research.
- Do they practice what they preach? A good sign that your ND practices what they preach if you find them in good health, good weight, high energy levels etc. You would not want to use help of a natural health practitioner who is unable to take care of their own health.
- Are they familiar with clinical pathology testing and how to read your test results? Candida overgrowth, as described above, can only be ascertained with lab tests and your symptoms alone cannot say that you have the overgrowth. Hence it is very important that the ND knows about the clinical tests available for different ailments and conditions. Also important for them is to know how to understand and interpret the results that come back from the lab. They should be able to prescribe individualized treatment to a patient based on the test results.
- Do they have any online presence like on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter? Or a YouTube channel where they talk/share and answer questions related to their topic? The presence of the ND on social media indicates that they are not afraid to share their knowledge – they are out there to help the patients by empowering them with information. That they also address at least some concerns of the people online shows that they are trustworthy. You can also judge their quality of expertise from the information they provide. Not only that, it shows their passion for giving out knowledge and their accessibility.
- Are they affordable? Well, generally good NDs with demand and expertise can be expensive. However, one should always exercise common sense in judging if they are overpriced. Listen to your gut-feeling.
Once/if you have found a fair few potential NDs for your condition, try ranking them based on the above points and choose the one that gets the highest score.
Where to start looking for NDs?
You can start looking for NDs in your phone book.
Alternatively, if you are in USA, you can look up American Association for Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) at http://www.naturopathic.org/AF_MemberDirectory.asp?version=2
If you are in Canada, you can look up Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors at http://www.cand.ca/Find_an_ND.findnd.0.html
A resource for residents in the UK could be the College of Naturopathic Medicine site http://www.naturopathy-uk.com/resources/practitioners-directory/
Google search is a great resource as well and searching with “Naturopathic Doctors” and “your country” together as keywords can give you reliable links.
Why Eric Bakker, ND, is a leading choice for a specialist in candida?
Eric Bakker from www.Yeastinfection.org is your leading choice for your candida overgrowth issues because of several reasons. He has been seeing patients since 1990 and has a lot of experience treating a range of different candida infections. He has even treated HIV patients with candida issues. He has patients in many countries that he is treating currently. He consults both at his clinic in New Zealand and online through Skype.
Eric Bakker fulfils all the criteria that you are looking for in a ND. He has great credentials with Bachelor of Science degree in Complementary Health Care and diploma and degree qualifications in Naturopathy, Herbal Medicine and Homeopathy. He has had continuous post-graduate study from various other countries. He is a member of NZ Natural Medicine Association. He is an international speaker and lecturer who meets both natural and conventional medicine practitioners regularly and has worked with medical doctors in several medical clinics. He also is up-to-date on modern biochemical and physiological tests for diseases and can easily read and interpret the test results. He is extremely well-read, and researching the topic and sharing the knowledge are his passion. He is also the writer of the book Candida Crusher (most comprehensive book ever on topic of candida yeast infections) and creator of the Canxida dietary supplements for candida eradication.
At www.ericbakker.com he has created a resource for natural medicine treatments of many chronic diseases. The site also has recipes and diet handouts which are available free of charge. He has a YouTube channel that has more than 500 videos already, with 3-5 new videos every day, where he answers the questions on candida that he gets from people around the world. In his videos he explains different concepts and treatments in easy to understand language. The viewers have a chance to ask him some questions as well under the video. He has over half a million views on his channel already, with more than 3000 subscriptions. The channel is completely dedicated to answering the questions on candida that no one else has answered. He has active Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages where anyone can find his videos and other educational links. He also consults on Curezone forum. You can check out all these sites and Eric Bakker’s LinkedIn profile to see for yourself why Eric Bakker is a leading expert on candida.