Welcome to Week 9 of our Beautiful, Healthy You series!
This summer we’ve been tackling some important topics pertaining to women’s health and well being; so far we’ve talked about Embracing Womanhood, Rejecting the Lies, Wacky Hormones, Natural Family Planning, & Fertility, Are You a Control Freak?, Treating Varicose Veins Naturally & Effectively, Beautiful & Modest Styles for When You’re Breastfeeding, A Beginner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning (guest post from Rachel) and Natural Hair Care, DIY Recipes & Beautiful, Healthy Hair.
Today my friend Meagan from Growing Up Herbal is sharing-
My Story On Overcoming Candida Naturally While Pregnant
Meagan is a registered nurse, herbalist, and passionate natural mama! Her blog, Growing Up Herbal, is one of my favorite resources for info on holistic health, herbs, and being a healthy mom. Drop by and give her some Cottage Mama love! 🙂
And here’s Meagan’s story-
Overcoming candida and other yeast-related issues is the pits, especially if you don’t know what you’re dealing with, and it can be a long, hard battle to get the body back into balance.
Now don’t worry mama. It can be done… and naturally too!
Today, I wanna share a bit with you about overcoming candida naturally. I’ll be sharing what it is, the most common reason people develop candida overgrowth, and my story of how I got rid of yeast in myself while I was pregnant, including the natural steps I took to get there.
Are you ready to learn so you can live well? Let’s go!
What Is Candida?
Candida is yeast, and it naturally occurs on our skin and in our GI tract. It’s part of the normal community of microbes that live on and in our bodies, and when balanced it works with all the other microbes to help our bodies function in a healthy manner. The problem for most people is when this yeast gets out of balance and a candida overgrowth occurs.
Candida overgrowth can result in a wide array of symptoms… most so common that many people don’t even recognize something is off with them. Things like bloating, occasional constipation or diarrhea, fatigue, brain fog, mood swings, and sugar cravings can all be signs of candida overgrowth. It’s not until bigger symptoms start showing up that candida is identified as the problem.
What are these “bigger symptoms” you ask? Well when it comes to women, the most common symptom is recurring vaginal yeast infections, but eczema can also be a sign. Both of these things are signals that something isn’t right in the body. People notice these symptoms and wonder what could be causing them. Candida overgrowth can!
What Causes Candida Overgrowth?
There may be many reasons that candida gets out of control in a person, but from my research it seems that candida overgrowth is most often linked to some sort of gut imbalance.
Remember that community of microbes I mentioned? Well, the body works hard to keep these microbes in balance so that they are beneficial to the body instead of harmful. When the beneficial microbes get out of balance, the more harmful microbes (yeast included) can start to mutate or reproduce and get a bit out-of-control. This leads to the above symptoms. The symptoms start small at first, and as I said before, people don’t recognize these symptoms as signs that something is wrong. It’s not until the bigger symptoms start showing up over and over again that people pay attention and start looking for answers.
What Leads To Gut Imbalance?
Have you heard the saying “all disease begins in the gut?” Well the more I learn about the body, the more I see truth in that statement. It seems that if our digestive system is in good shape, our bodies have a better chance of staying healthy. I’m not gonna branch off into good gut health much here because this would be a LONG post, but I will highlight a few things as we go along.
First off, things like antibiotic use (for infections or prevention for group-b strep), long-term use of NSAIDS (ibuprofen), hormones imbalances (think birth control and pregnancy/postpartum hormones), warm, moist environments (mouth, vagina, skin folds), diet (high carb, high sugar), and gut disorders (irritable bowel, Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, etc.) can all lead to gut imbalance which in turn can allow candida to overgrow and cause problems. As you can see from this list of things, the majority of people are susceptible to candida overgrowth.
Next, I wanna share my candida story with you, the short and sweet version, and then I’ll talk about what I did to overcome candida naturally.
My Story of Overcoming Candida Naturally
With my first pregnancy, I was so excited, and I did everything right. I took my prenatals, ate very healthy, and went to all my doctor/midwife appointments. When I was pregnant with my second baby, I did the same things, but I was a bit more lax with my diet. Sure it was healthy, but I wasn’t as strict on myself as I was with my first pregnancy.
With my third pregnancy… I was tired… all. the. time. I didn’t feel like taking my prenatals every single day, cooking was a huge task so eating out was way more appealing, and doctor appointments–why on earth did I need to drive an hour to have my blood pressure checked, my belly measured, and asked if I had any questions again. This was my third pregnancy, and I’m an RN. I figured I’d know if something wasn’t right. I really didn’t feel like going to every single doctors appointment while dragging two little kids along.
Now don’t get me wrong. My third pregnancy was an uneventful and healthy one, thank the good Lord. I’m so grateful that my biggest issue during all of my pregnancies was with this one and it only involved candida.
During this pregnancy, I had my first-ever yeast infection, and I was miserable.
Now I’m a natural mama and all for using herbs and natural remedies for little things, but this caught me off guard. After consulting with my midwife on what to do, I opted to use an OTC cream for yeast infections. You know, one of the mild ones that takes 7 days instead of the strong 3 day or 1 day treatments. Thankfully it worked, but not for long. I got another one right after that except this time I recognized it coming on, and I used an herbal anti-fungal cream I made instead of the OTC cream.
I knew that my diet had to be what was causing these infections. I’d never had one before, and it was the only thing I could think of that could be causing this–that and the fact that I was pregnant which meant my hormones were making me more susceptible to yeast infections at the moment. At that point I began to researched what I needed to do to deal with candida overgrowth from a natural perspective in order to prevent another yeast infection!
In my research I came across a diet called “The Candida Diet,” and I’ll just be honest with you–it’s a tough diet of limiting certain foods for 30 days in order to rid the body of excess yeast. I figured my candida overgrowth wasn’t that bad, and instead of going on an extreme cleanse/diet while pregnant, I chose to focus on supporting my healthy gut flora instead of trying to drastically eliminate the yeast.
I learned about foods that I needed to increase in my diet like cultured and fermented foods in order to replenish the beneficial microbes in my gut, and I also learned about foods I needed to cut back on such as too many processed grains and sugars seeing as how those things fed the candida.
I began eating more homemade yogurt and sauerkraut, and I limited myself when it came to carbs and sugars… even healthy ones like sweet vegetables and natural sweeteners.
As far as supplements that would help me with my candida overgrowth, I chose to increase my daily probiotic supplement from 1 pill to 2 pills a day, and I used a supplement from Beeyoutiful called Yeast Assasin which uses several different supplements to rid the gut of too much candida while at the same time adding in beneficial bacteria.
In doing all of this, my hope was that my body would be flooded with beneficial microbes in an effort to get the overgrowth back under control. In the end, it must have worked because I didn’t have any other yeast symptoms for the remainder of that pregnancy.
“An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure”
Benjamin Franklin hit the nail right on the head when he said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It’s so much easier to prevent sickness than it is to cure it!
After my experience of dealing with candida overgrowth during my third pregnancy, I’ve learned to take better care of my gut on an ongoing basis by knowing what foods to eat a lot of and which foods to limit, and I’ve also learned that the healthier my digestive system is, the less I’ll need to worry about candida.
So what about you? Have you ever overcome candida naturally? If so, tell me all about it in the comment section below. We mamas can use all the tips and advice we can get, right?
Meagan Visser is a wife, mother, registered nurse, and herbalist who shares her journey of natural living and teaches natural-minded mamas how to take charge of their children’s health naturally on her blog GrowingUpHerbal.com and in her Letters To Natural Mamas emails.
Kristy Howard is a pastor’s wife, second-generation homeschooling mom of five, and a passionate believer in friendship, coffee, and quiet time! Kristy writes about motherhood, ministry and life at KristysCottage.com.