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This post originally appeared on The Zoe Report

We know a ton of women who complain of the same chronic symptoms—fatigue, brain fog, inexplicable but persistent tummy troubles and assorted issues, ahem, down below reminiscent of the ones that caused Sex and the City’s Charlotte to be diagnosed with a depressed you-know-what. While myriad factors could be to blame, the culprit many holistic doctors will point to is candidiasis. Keep reading to learn what it is, how it happens and what you can do to heal if you find yourself suffering from this affliction.

What is Candidiasis?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by the overgrowth of candida yeasts, which generally live on the body’s mucus membranes without causing any harm.

What factors contribute to Candidiasis?
Refined carbohydrates, sugar, alcohol, excessive antibiotics and oral contraceptives are all thought to contribute to candida overgrowth and infection. Stress is also believed to be a factor.

What are the symptoms of Candidiasis?
Candidiasis can cause mood disorders (especially irritability and mood swings), chronic fatigue, bloating, cramping, sinus infections, sore throat, congestion and chronic yeast or urinary tract infections.

How is a Candidiasis diagnosis confirmed?
This is a tough one. You can have your doctor order a diagnostic candida test, but these aren’t always accurate. Shape recommends this test, which is worth a shot. The good news is that the recommended steps for healing candidiasis are mostly just cogent health advice you should follow anyway and will absolutely not be harmful to you if you don’t actually have an overgrowth.

How is Candidiasis healed?
There’s no quick fix for a candida overgrowth, and one of the most frustrating effects is that when afflicted, you tend to crave the very foods that feed the fungus and make you feel worse. Fixing the issue requires time, diligence and patience.

You should avoid processed meats, dairy, most fruits, starches (anything made from flour), sugar, fermented foods, cheese, mushrooms and caffeine.

What to add to your diet? Probiotics, organic meats, vegetables, quinoa, millet, oats, brown rice, seeds and nuts, cold-pressed oils (virgin coconut, olive, sunflower, etc.), turmeric and tea.

Some doctors and nutritionists also recommend a course of prescription anti-fungal medication such as Diflucan or, for a more holistic approach, caprylic acid supplements.

More reading from The Zoe Report

How to pack a healthy breakfast for work
5 reasons you should try a solo vacation
How to fight off oily skin

By Erin Nicole for The Zoe Report
This post originally appeared on The Zoe Report

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