Posted: July 24, 2010 07:00 AM
A hidden fungus may be making you ill. A 35-year-old recently walked into my office suffering from a whole list of health problems (which is why I often call myself a “whole-listic doctor”). She had chronic fatigue, recurrent yeast vaginal infections, itchy ears, dandruff, patchy itchy skin rashes, irritable bowel syndrome, muscle twitching, acne rosacea, malabsorption, headaches and more.
These symptoms can have multiple causes, but in her case all of these problems were related. They were symptoms of an overgrowth of yeast in and on her body. This patient had such a fungus problem that she was practically a walking mushroom!
The cause was clear. She had taken many, many courses of antibiotic over the years. She had been diagnosed with a mostly benign condition called mitral valve prolapse–a problem I believe is over diagnosed and over treated–and “needed” antibiotics every time she went to the dentist. In addition, she had many urinary tract infections for which she took many more courses of antibiotics.
Frequent use of antibiotics disrupts the normal balance between healthy bugs in the gut (lactobacillus, bifidobacter, e. coli) and other potentially dangerous bugs, including yeasts, bacteria and occasionally parasites. These bad bugs are usually present in small numbers in the digestive system. But when the good bugs are killed by antibiotics (i) or not fed with adequate fiber, or the bad guys are fueled with too much sugar, or the gut’s delicate ecosystem (ii) is damaged by too much stress, then yeasts and other noxious agents take over.