Some of you may remember me previously mentioning that I have yeast infections. As I have only explained this briefly before and as I have heard a lot of other ME/ CFS sufferers with the same problems I feel it is important to expand on it to inform others who haven't gone down this root of investigation. I have found what I think is a very informative document about yeast, for which I will be referring to throughout this post. I will put a link for this document (Intestinal candidia & it's relation to chronic Illness) at the end of the post for further reading as it is quite extensive.
I have had a lot of stomach problems over the last 9 months. However it has improved a lot from what it was. A few months ago I was in constant pain with my stomach and it was all swollen like I was pregnant. I was constantly constipated or had diarrhea. I also felt very nauseous and poisonous all the time. My old doctor sent me for an ultra sound, MRI of the abdominal cavity, and stool sample. All I was told was that it appeared I was suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Once I started with my new doctor I was investigated and told I had a very bad yeast infection in my bowels. Below is a good description of a yeast infection,
"The "Chronic Candida Syndrome" also known as the "Candida Related Complex" ( CRC ) is the result of intestinal Candida proliferation. It has recently sparked much attention as being a cause or a factor in various health problems. Candida is a fungus of the yeast category. Although pathogenic strains of Candida share similar characteristics with food yeasts, food yeasts do not carry the same pathogenicity and ability to strongly adhere to and colonize mucous membranes ( Saltarelli ). Previously, the syndrome was incorrectly dubbed the " Candidiasis Hypersensitivity Syndrome." Candidiasis, an infection with yeast, has been most noted in AIDS or cancer patients under chemotherapy in which the body's ability to defend itself from pathogens is weakened. It has been seen to be extremely pathogenic in these immunocompromised individuals, and primarily originates from the gastrointestinal complement of Candida. Infants, diabetics and individuals with various immunological dysfunctions have also been seen to be more susceptible to candidiasis."
"There are many factors that may contribute to Candida proliferation in the intestines. The primary contributing factor is the use of oral antibiotics (esp. tetracycline). It is common knowledge that antibiotics, especially over a period of time or with repeated uses, will eliminate much of the normal microbiota of the gastrointestinal tract. However, there are consequences of the elimination of these important bacteria that compete with other organisms for mucosal epithelial cellular receptor sites. It is recognized by the medical community as a whole that as a result of the elimination of the normal flora defense mechanism, yeasts are allowed to grow excessively in the gut. They may also extend and proliferate in the skin with antibiotic use (Ross). In obviously immunosuppressed patients, antibiotic use often has extreme or even fatal consequences from Candida proliferation due to elimination of the normal flora".
"Antibiotics, which are powerless against yeasts, but destroy bacteria, allow yeasts residing in the gut to grow unregulated. The important ecological factors of the gut are often overlooked due to lack of understanding of gastrointestinal immunity. Antibiotics may also allow various strains of bacteria resistant to the specific antibacterial drug to grow excessively, leading to bacterial overgrowth. In this day and age where many physicians increasingly and liberally prescribe oral antibiotics, often unnecessarily, intestinal Candida proliferation is becoming an ever increasing problem. (Have you ever wondered why so many people recently seem to be suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Irritable Bowel Syndrome?) The treatment of teenage acne with such drugs as tetracycline has been implicated as one of the most important factors in the Chronic Candidiasis Syndrome".The OAM 1996-1997
My problems became very bad when I was on a course of steroids for bad headaches that wouldn't go away. Previous to this I was on antibiotics ( Famvir ) four around four months for Epstein Barr Virus, which I think triggered the headaches. Since my teenage years I was on the pill and antibiotics for my hormones and skin for quite a time also. I suspect all of these played a big part in my yeast problems.
"Stool exams for chronic intestinal candidiasis
Your doctor may not know, but yeast in routine stool exams is not reported unless specifically requested! A gram stain for yeast along with direct microscopic examination is the most accurate diagnostic tool for Candida. This will avoid quantification inaccuracies that appear with cultures.
Negative or positive responses on cultures are inconclusive. Positive stool results are dependant on shedding of Candida from the intestinal walls. Culture negative results can also be the result of the yeast dieing before it can be cultured or improper selection of growth medium. It is also suggested (by Leo Galland, M.D.) that in advanced cases, the sigmoid colon produces a chemical preventing yeast from growing on normal culture medium, therefore he recommends direct microscopic observation and special staining.
It is imperative that the patient do the stool collection at home at a time when their symptoms are worst. Several stool analyses should be performed as many physicians know the difficulties in finding a particular pathogen in any given sample.
The patient must not take antifungal drugs 3 days prior to providing a stool specimen." The OAM 1996-1997
My previous doctor said that nothing was found in my stool when he sent it in to an Irish hospital. However he didn't do any specific tests. When I went to my new doctor he got me to do a 'comprehensive stool analysis' (this is where mine was sent, I also received the whole kit from them, upon request from my doc). You are required to do a few different stools at different times and then you send it off yourself and your doc gets the results.
Something to note,
"Many physicians try to compare the immunology of the gastrointestinal tract to that of other organs and systems in the body including the circulatory system. They simply recall being told in medical school that candidiasis affects the severely immunosuppressed only and fail to think beyond. As any competent physician should know, the immunology of the gastrointestinal tract functions separately as local immunity, the weakest of all immunological activity. Immunoglobulin G has practically no significance in gastrointestinal immunity and the activity of Immunoglobulin A (to help prevent binding to mucosal cells) is under question. "The lumen of the gastrointestinal tract is actually outside the body" and needs to be judged accordingly(Shorter, etc.). The primary defense mechanisms of the intestines are acidity and motility. Although obviously not entirely true today, but still with validity, E. Metchnikoff, in his book, The Nature of Man published in 1908 (Putnam) felt that toxins absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract were the cause of most of the problems acquired by humans. Because of the local immunity and the physiology of the gastrointestinal tract, it is source of a vast number of human afflictions".
Oops people... I'm wrecked right now so I will have to finish tomorrow with treatments I've been on and how I'm doing.