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Thrush is caused by an imbalance of yeasts and bacteria in the body. We should all have sufficient levels of beneficial bacteria in the body to help keep other bacteria and yeasts in check. We are all exposed to potentially problematic bacteria and yeasts and many of these do not cause problems if they are in balance. When beneficial bacteria levels in the vagina or penis become depleted, potentially problematic yeasts and bacteria can develop in significant quantities. When the Candida species of yeasts grow to high levels, thrush symptoms occur.
 
 What is a yeast infection?
 
A yeast infection occurs when an invading yeast species, one that doesn’t naturally occur in the body begins to thrive. It can also occur when a species of yeast that normally lives in the body grows to a much higher population than is healthy. Candida albicans is a common type of yeast associated with health problems but many other yeast types can also be problematic including the Rhodotorula species, Geotrichum species and Candida krusei. It is mistakenly believed by many people that it is always yeast infections that give rise to symptoms. However, bacteria and parasites can also very commonly be the root cause of problems.
 
Yeast infections can give rise to symptoms such as itching or soreness of the affected area. In some cases, there may be a white or white-grey discharge present. In other cases, people may become more sensitive to foods or develop digestive problems. It is important that you seek medical advice about any symptoms that you do develop. 
 
Why does thrush occur?
 
Thrush occurs due to an imbalance in the body’s natural defences. Anything that encourages the Candida species to grow and/or the beneficial bacteria levels to drop can lead to thrush symptoms flaring up. Stress, a low immune system or a high intake of sugary, sweet foods or yeasty foods (such as bread, mushrooms and many alcoholic drinks) can encourage the ‘baddies’ to grow at the expense of the ‘goodies’. Some people notice thrush occurring more often before menstruation and this can happen due to a change in hormonal balance.
 
There are many reasons why this imbalance in bacteria and yeast occurs but it is important to address these triggers as well as the reducing the levels of Candida through medication or natural supplements. Unless this is done, a long-term solution cannot be found. Working with a health professional who is well trained in this are is recommended.
 
Treatment of thrush
 
There are many over-the-counter and prescription treatments for thrush, as well as countless natural remedies. However, most people don’t know that a critical part in the process is that you must change the environment that has contributed to the growth of the unwanted yeasts as well as treating the problem directly. Unless you consider how to change this environment, you may find it hard to prevent symptoms recurring. There are many different factors that are relevant, including hormonal balance, pH, immune function and adrenal stress.
 
It may seem strange to consider these factors instead of just taking a ‘quick fix’ but it is the only way that you can achieve successful long-term results. In our workshops we discuss the factors that commonly contribute to thrush and also what steps you can take, with diet and other lifestyle changes, to help improve the body’s resistance to thrush. We also discuss how to choose the best natural remedies for your individual needs. There is no one size fits all approach to health but there are many ways to achieve the results that you deserve.
 
Thrush and men
 
The fungal infection, Candida albicans, is the cause of thrush in both men and women. It naturally occurs in our bodies but is normally kept under control by the immune system and beneficial bacteria. Certain triggers such as poor diet, antibiotics and stress can affect the immune system and the beneficial bacteria levels, allowing Candida albicans to thrive. Thrush can affect men in the mouth (oral thrush), on the penis or on the skin. Symptoms on the penis may include redness, itching and a thick, lumpy discharge. In some cases Candida albicans can become systemic but this is far less common.
 
Whilst thrush is common, there are lots of remedies that you can use. It is really important that as well as treating the problem, you also look at the triggers for thrush developing in the first place. In our workshops we discuss the factors that commonly contribute to thrush and also what steps you can take, with diet and other lifestyle changes, to help improve the body’s resistance to thrush. We also discuss how to choose the best natural remedies for your individual needs.
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