Candida Overgrowth When it comes to interstitial cystitis and candida overgrowth, they can often run congruently. However, that is just the beginning. Many people with IC also suffer from additional problems such as digestive issues, autoimmune diseases, hormone imbalance, brain fog, chronic UTIs, fatigue, food intolerances, and histamine intolerance. It’s believed that these are often caused by gut dysbiosis. Considering the American Diet is high in sugars and carbs, it’s no surprise that Candida's overgrowth is at an all-time high.
Candida (yeast) typically lives in small amounts in your mouth and intestines, and its job is to aid in digestion and nutrient absorption. When your body is balanced, the good bacteria in your gut keep your Candida levels in check. However, when Candida overgrowth occurs (overproduction), the situation can wreak havoc on the body. At this point, the intestinal wall becomes compromised, which in turn permeates the gut lining causing leaky gut. Candida can be difficult to eradicate due to its sophisticated ability to change shape to protect itself. Once in the bloodstream, Candida can begin to attack other tissues, colonizing areas such as the skin (eczema), mouth (thrush), brain (brain fog), vagina (yeast infection), and elsewhere.
Unfortunately, once a leaky gut is in play, candida is not the only thing breaching the barrier. Substances such as undigested food particles, toxins, viruses, and bacteria can suddenly pass through the intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream. In response to these invaders, the immune system steps up and begins to fire off inflammation as it makes an all-out effort to kill the offender and protect you, the host. Without addressing the situation, a long-term problem occurs, and the immune system loses the ability to handle the stress. At this point, the immune system becomes weakened by the onslaught of invaders, eventually becoming so taxed that it no longer fires accurately. With enough time, one’s autoimmune condition can become a full-fledged autoimmune disease as the immune system becomes confused and begins attacking its own tissues.
Signs of Candida Overgrowth
Vaginal, jock, or rectal itching
White coating on the tongue
Cravings for sweets and carbs
Chronic allergies or sinus issues
Digestive issues (bloating, gas, constipation, and/or diarrhea)
Urinary tract infections
Signs of Histamine Intoerlance
Digestive issues (diarrhea, bloating)
Skin reactions (hives, itching)
Respiratory symptoms (runny nose, sneezing)
Headaches and migraines
Cardiovascular symptoms (rapid heart rate)
Anxiety and nervousness
The best and most effective approach is to get to Candida's root cause and remove all offenders. As mentioned above, Candida overgrowth is fueled by a diet high in sugar and carbs. However, fermented foods and alcohol also feed active Candida infections. Other factors that can alter the gut’s microbiome include certain medications like birth control pills, steroids, and antibiotics. The imbalance can provide the perfect environment for the growth of Candida.
The histamine connection Let’s take a moment and dive a little deeper into this topic. Certain people with interstitial cystitis (IC) also have Mast Cell Activation Disorder (MCAD). This condition is characterized by either the accumulation of genetically altered mast cells (mastocytosis), overactive mast cells (mast cell activation syndrome), or both. Mast cells are white blood cells found in connective tissues throughout the entire body, and they play a significant role in how the immune system responds to certain bacteria and parasites, including candida. When triggered, mast cells release their granules, including histamine, heparin, and cytokines. Research shows that candida triggers histamine release. Many clinicians now believe that MCAD is a more accurate description of histamine intolerance. Aside from excessive histamine production, several contributing factors play a role in histamine intolerance. These include genetic mutations, poor methylation, and an enzyme deficiency of diamine oxidase (DAO).
The IC connection
Both candida and histamine can contribute to bladder irritation in individuals with interstitial cystitis (IC). Remember, candida overgrowth can cause histamine production as part of its metabolic processes. Additionally, histamine is naturally present in various foods and can be produced by certain gut bacteria, including those involved in candida overgrowth.
For individuals with IC, who already experience heightened sensitivity and inflammation in the bladder, both candida and elevated histamine levels can exacerbate their symptoms. The release of histamine can trigger local inflammation and activate pain receptors in the bladder, intensifying discomfort, pain, urgency, and frequency.
Managing candida overgrowth and histamine levels becomes crucial in effectively addressing IC symptoms. A comprehensive approach may involve addressing candida through dietary adjustments, antifungal treatments, and lifestyle changes. Additionally, managing histamine intake, avoiding histamine-rich foods, and possibly exploring histamine-reducing strategies can help alleviate bladder irritation and improve the overall quality of life for individuals with IC. For some individuals, addressing candida overgrowth and its histamine-related effects emerges as a proactive and effective strategy for confronting interstitial cystitis head-on.
Testing options for Candida include a blood test to check IgG, IgA, and IgM Candida antibodies in your blood, A Comprehensive Stool Analysis with Parasitology x3, and a urine Organix Dysbiosis test. It’s important to note that even these tests are not 100% definitive.
Steps to Addressing Candida Overgrowth
The best and most effective way to treat Candida overgrowth is to starve it. This means you need to remove foods from your diet that feed them. By cutting out refined sugar and alcohol and limiting the amount of fruit (1-2 servings), natural sweeteners, carbohydrates, grains, and vegetables high in starch, you remove the very “food” that Candida needs to thrive. Avoid antibiotics or steroids if possible, and opt for high-quality supplements to support the body and bioidentical hormones to address hormone imbalance.
Researchers at Tufts recently found that a diet rich in coconut oil reduces the amount of Candida albicans in the gut of mice by 90%. This means you will need to consume foods rich in coconut oil, which may be even more effective than focusing solely on a candida diet. You may also find focusing on a low-histamine diet far more beneficial than the candida diet since histamine intolerance. You can also use coconut oil topically if needed.
An additional approach to attack Candida can be through several supplements. Caprylic Acid creates an inhospitable environment for yeast to live in; oil of oregano has antibacterial and antifungal properties and is effective against Candida. Garlic is antibacterial, Berberine fights harmful microorganisms, curcumin & turmeric are antifungal, Milk Thistle cleanses the liver aiding in detoxification, and clove oil and Thyme oil have shown to be effective against candida biofilms. This, of course, is not a complete list, but it should effectively address candida overgrowth.
If you struggle with histamine intolerance, you may need additional support. A genetic mutation or DAO deficiency will impair your body’s ability to eliminate excess histamine. Histamine Scavenger from Methylgenetic nutrition aids the body’s ability to support normal histamine levels. Dr. Amy Myers sells a supplement called Histazyme that contains diamine oxide (DAO) that helps break down food-derived histamine and supports the immune system’s response. You also may want to consider quercetin with nettles.
You may benefit from digestive enzymes. Pure encapsulations Digestive Enzymes with Betaine HCI helps support digestion, nutrient bioavailability, and absorption. If you take the Digestive enzyme with Betaine HCI but experience a mild burning sensation in your stomach after taking it, you have stomach acid. You should decrease your dosage or stick to the digestive enzyme without HCI.
You will need a good probiotic to help repopulate the good bacteria in your gut. I highly recommend MegaSporeBiotic, which is currently one of the best on the market.
Remember that it is crucial to get to the root cause of whatever the issue is, and when it comes to Candida Overgrowth, it can play a role in interstitial cystitis symptoms and in UTIs and histamine intolerance. Diet and Lifestyle changes are your first line of defense and can be your strongest armor against autoimmunity and chronic inflammation. And finally, consulting a healthcare professional experienced in treating interstitial cystitis (IC) and related conditions is recommended to create a tailored plan for managing these factors.