There are a number of factors that allow a yeast infection to go wildly out of control, but there is seldom just one factor responsible for preventing people gaining control of their yeast infection and turning the corner.
I have listed the main risk factors for a yeast infection below, but suffice to say, candida overgrowth is most often due to chronic antibiotic use, particularly the broad-spectrum variety. Antibiotics kill the gastrointestinal bacteria that normally help to keep a yeast overgrowth at bay, and of no surprise, when antibiotic use first became widespread it was soon noticed that yeast infections were on the rise.
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What are the key reasons why a yeast infection is so prevalent in the digestive tracts of people living in the Western industrialized countries? I believe that we principally have our hectic 21st century lifestyles and nutritionally depleted, highly refined & processed and sugar laden diets to blame, but technology is also to blame to a degree and the way we use and abuse science and technology. Here are the major factors that allow candida to get out of hand; there are potentially many more, but these represent the core:
Most probably the number one cause in my opinion of chronic yeast infection is the prolonged, inappropriate, and excessive use of certain types of pharmaceutical drugs like broad-spectrum antibiotics. Antibiotics are used to kill disease-causing bacteria, but unfortunately they also kill normal, protective bacterial flora throughout your body and actually encourage yeast infections. Did you know that most antibiotics are actually made from chemicals found in some fungi species? The fungi themselves make certain types of chemicals that protect them from many different types of bacteria, and this is one of the major reasons why antibiotics work so well against bacteria, but unfortunately also one of the main reasons why they support the growth of fungi.
Antibiotics in Meat
Many different kinds of antibiotics are also found in commercial poultry, pork, beef and other meats. Be particularly careful to avoid commercial poultry, as thousands of chickens are crammed into cages and routinely fed high protein foods full of antibiotics. Buy free range and certified organic chicken just to be sure.
An Underlying Inherited or Acquired Immune System Deficiency
There are several reasons why your immune system may be impaired and an investigation may well reveal the cause. Be sure to have the appropriate blood tests to uncover any potential causes like neutropenia, which means poor levels of neutrophils or white blood cells (get a full blood count), vitamin B12 or folate deficiencies. Nutrient deficiencies are one common source of an immune deficiency. See your health-care professional and get the appropriate medical or functional medicine testing, especially if you have had a chronic yeast infection for some time. If your doctor is resistant and “does not believe” in your self-observations of candida, find yourself another doctor who hasn’t got a hearing problem.
The Liberal Use of Steroids or Other Drugs
Particularly steroids whether they be hydrocortisone or prednisolone. These steroidal drugs can be inhaled, in a tablet, capsule or cream form. Inhaled steroids (asthma) also feature high on this list. The oral contraceptive pill is in this category too, and so are heartburn or anti-ulcer preparations.
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As you can see, these things are pretty common in our everyday lives, so we’re dosing ourselves and making ourselves ill – and there are more main causes to consider (see Part 2).