I still remember waking up that first night, our house bathed in darkness, and hearing my son giggling hysterically from his bedroom across the hall.
"What could he be laughing about when there's nothing to see?"
The first few times it happened, I was amused. The giggling would usually wake both Doug and me. We'd look at each other and grin in appreciation that our son was so happy he could find amusement in utter darkness.
"Maybe he had a funny dream," I'd say to Doug.
"Maybe he's just thinking about something funny that happened today," Doug replied.
It seemed the laughing would come in cycles. He'd laugh for several nights in a row, big guttural laughs--not his usual baby giggles, and then it would stop. As the months passed, I eventually noticed a connection between the giggling and Parker's stomach being severely distended. This quirky night time laughter went on for several years.
Despite noticing the relevant symptoms, nothing clicked for me until I joined the TACA Yahoo forum last summer. One of the first posts I read referred to the 'yeast giggle' and how it often came at inappropriate times. I immediately responded to the post, asking for clarification and describing Parker's midnight escapades.
"He has yeast."
"You're dealing with yeast."
"Start him on the yeast protocol."
Every response I received was a variation of those statements.
From a previous post, you're probably aware I first started Parker on gut healing supplements. Once I was convinced his gut had improved I started the yeast protocol.
Before I get into the meat of this entry, let me clarify a common misconception...our guts are supposed to be inhabited by beneficial bacteria and yeast, NOT pathogenic strains. The problem is, according to the Yeast Infection Advisor:
Yeast infection and fungi in Americans has been estimated by the experts to
be present in 85% of the population and goes largely undiagnosed, especially in
men and children.
This all too common infection is American women caused them to spend over a
half a billion dollars for treatment of this fungus in 2002 alone. Most of
this was spent on over the counter medications which generally are effective as
a temporary solution.
Now I know most of you are probably thinking, "It's a yeast infection. Buy some Monistat and get over it." Indeed, I'm not referring to vaginal yeast infections...they're just a minor symptom of a bigger issue--systemic yeast (candida). As usual, if a woman has a vaginal yeast infection she'll go to a gynecologist, get a prescription for for an anti-fungal cream, and treat the problem superficially. Just another example of medicine today...treating the symptoms instead of the causes.
Most people are completely unaware a fungal infection exists in their bodies. The fungus typically starts growing in the intestinal tract and if left untreated, spreads to other organs in the body. This primes the body for various diseases, including cancer.
What Causes Pathogenic Yeast Overgrowth?
- Antibiotic overuse
- Anti-inflammatory drugs like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil)
- Birth control pills (hormones)
- Foods (beef and dairy due to the antibiotics injected into cows prior to slaughter & grains which are stored in silos growing mold for months prior to use)
- A compromised immune system
- Environmental toxins (mercury, aluminum, lead, vaccinations, etc.)
- Predisposition issues such as: trauma, endocrine problems, indwelling catheters, steroid therapy, drug dependency, diabetes, etc.
Symptoms of Pathogenic Yeast Overgrowth:
- Chapped and dry flaky skin
- Poor appetite
- Chronic fatigue
- Stiff shoulders
- Bad breath
- Frequent intestinal gas
- Frequent diarrhea
- Sexual dysfunction
- Chronic hives
- Suicidal depression
- Worsening premenstrual syndrome
- Irritability and mood swings
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Muscle fatigue and pain
- Bladder infections
- Recurring vaginitis
- Menstrual irregularities
- Short attention span
- Memory loss
- Respiratory problems
- Learning difficulties
- Chronic allergies
- Gluten intolerance
- Blurred vision
- Sinus and ear problems
- Symptoms of multiple sclerosis
- Acne and hormonal imbalances
- An excessive craving for sugars and carbohydrates (These foods feed the yeast and aid in their growth and reproduction.)
Symptoms of Pathogenic Yeast Overgrowth in Autistic Children:
- Spinning obsessively
- Hand flapping
- Red ring around the anus or a bad diaper rash
- Jumping/bouncing on the furniture
- Inappropriate laughter
- Playing with genitals obsessively
- Drooling/spit bubbles
- Sound sensitivity
- Sleep disturbance
- Bloated, gassy bellies
- Bed wetting
A pretty impressive group of symptoms, yes? Yet somehow conventional medicine overlooks yeast every time. You'll rarely find a doctor who says, "Oh, let's treat you for yeast. I bet that's the problem." Just remember...it's been estimated that 85% of Americans have yeast issues. Do the math--the bulk of Americans are being medically misdiagnosed, much to their detriment. Pathogenic yeast strains can be deadly.
Pathogenesis = Disease Producing
If you suspect you have a yeast issue and would like to know definitively, take this: Yeast Infection Questionnaire
Upon researching candida, I grew to suspect many of my family members had yeast issues...not just Parker. I decided to try the treatment on myself first as I'd heard it wasn't exactly a pleasant experience. As yeast dies, it emits a toxin which can cause 'flu-like symptoms.'
Yup. I can vouch for that statement.
I had already begun adding aloe juice to my drinks. It's a natural yeast fighter and very soothing to the gut. I recommend Lily of the Desert (whole leaf or fillet) OR George's. The aloe 'bitters' have been removed from the two of these and both are virtually tasteless. I personally prefer the George's as it's completely unidentifiable in drinks, even water. It's clear and completely tasteless. The Lily brand has a brownish tint and although the taste is subtle, it's definitely noticeable. Both brands can be found at your local health food stores. Step 1, complete.
Next, I started a three-day regimen of Saccharomyces boulardii (S. boulardii) capsules to 'jump start' yeast control. S. boulardii is a non-colonizing, non-pathogenic 'friendly' yeast. I took one capsule per day for three days. On days 4 and 5, I had die off of the 'bad' yeasts and bacteria which the S. boulardii had displaced. I felt as if I had a stomach virus. My symptoms included joint aches, diarrhea, gassiness and bloating. There were white specks in my stool and urine, a.k.a. the dead yeast. I know this is probably more information than many of you want to know, but if you decide to treat for yeast you need to know what to expect. Many people, including both my children, have big, fluffy, light colored stools. That's also a sign of yeast die-off.
To minimize the symptoms of the die-off, I took activated charcoal capsules. This is the same thing given in hospitals to treat a drug overdose. It essentially absorbs everything in it's path and pulls it from your system. Remember how I said the dying yeast emits toxins? Well, the charcoal soaks it right up and rids it from your body. It works amazingly well. Step 2, complete.
Immediately following my 3-day S. boulardii regimen, I started probiotic therapy twice daily. Probiotics are simply the beneficial bacteria and yeasts. Since I had just cleared out much of the bad goop from my system, I had to replace it with the good. Probiotics are incredibly important, especially if you've been on antibiotic therapy. Although there are many probiotic options, my family rotates between these three choices from Kirkman Labs.
With probiotics, it's important to remember we MUST keep replenishing those good gut strains daily until our guts are healed/stabilized enough to maintain the good populations on their own. The keys to controlling pathogenic gut strains are restoration of gut pH, repair and re-establishment of gut wall integrity, re-establishment of mucosal protection and normal antibody response. Step 3, complete.
Digestive enzymes are also incredibly effective in helping destroy yeast. Candida has a cell wall composed of cellulose and hemicellulose. The very same materials that make up the outside of plants and allow them to stand upright. The enzymes are able to effectively dissolve this wall, killing the yeast.
To read my entry on digestive enzymes, click here.
There are a couple enzymes designed specifically to kill yeast.
Step 4, complete.
Biotin has been found to effectively suppress the growth of yeast. Biotin is a member of the B-complex family and is needed in amino and essential fatty acid formation. We all take a high-potency dose of 5,000 mg daily for anti-yeast maintenance. As an added bonus, biotin has been found to cause hair and nail growth. We get our biotin from http://www.vitacost.com/. Step 5, complete.
Next up (and yes, we take all the things I've listed thus far), is grapefruit seed extract. Although this stuff tastes absolutely horrendous, it's an excellent anti-yeast agent. In fact, grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is known as Liquid Gold for it's many therapeutic uses. This stuff is so potent, you can only add 1 drop per ounce of fluid. I even use a GSE/water combo in a spray bottle to clean my counters and stove.
This is the brand you want: Nutribiotic
It's the best I've found. One bottle of this will last you for months and months. I usually take one drop each morning and one drop each evening, added in juice. Step 6, complete.
I also use Yeast-Aid from Kirkman Labs which was formulated to support the immune system and control yeast levels in the body. Step 7, complete.
A few other supplemental options are garlic, oil of oregano, and coconut oil. All are natural yeast fighters.
The thing about yeast...there can be several pathogenic strains in one individual. While S. boulardii might kill one strain, it may not kill the other three. This is why it's so important to use a multi-supplement approach when killing yeast. Yeast propagate in a cycle and are actually clones--even one cell remaining can become a population within days given the right conditions.
As for diet, you'll want to limit sugars and carbohydrates (breads, pastas, donuts, etc.), as these are foods which feed yeast and aid in their growth and reproduction. Step 8, complete.
Every member of my immediate family has now been treated for yeast. Autumn very recently had a re-growth as evidenced by her 'Buddha' belly and her increased need for sweets. We're currently re-treating her. As for the rest of us, life is good. We all feel so much healthier having our systems cleared of candida. Oh, by the way, did I mention I lost 7 pounds during my yeast die-off phase?
Yet another reason to delete the yeast...getting rid of some extra poundage. :o)