Artist, Writer, Woman, Mother, Healer, Teacher, Biohacker, Gardener, Friend, Entrepreneur
Thrush sucks. It probably isn’t a pretty site in your feed either, so apologies for the ugly pic. However, I think thrush is an important issue because it’s likely you or someone you know will experience candida infection at some point. This fungal infection can happen in your mouth, nose, organs, skin, and it is relentless once it takes hold. It happens to babies and the elderly and everyone in between. In simplest terms, thrush is an overgrowth of fungi in your system that would normally be in check. In my case immunosuppression set it loose, specifically prednisone use for autoimmune treatment.
Thrush originally reared its ugly head in October for me and in my nose of all places. It quickly populated my mouth and spread systemically. I managed to kill it off, but two weeks after my final treatment of oral diflucan the suckers bloomed again and here I am reevaluating my next steps:
When it comes to thrush you basically have a small handful of choices to combat it:
1. An anti-candida diet
2. Coconut oil with essential oils
3. Prescription azole antifungals, like diflucan
4. Prescription nystatin
5. Probiotic and prebiotic in foods or supplement form
The Anti-Candida Diet
You can find plenty of sites on the web talking up a candida diet. For the most part these will recommend a period of one to two days of a light broth followed by nourishing steamed vegetables and then slowly adding in some proteins. All of them will recommend low and moderate carb intake because yeasts like candida feed on sugars. Most of these sites will also have their own bottle versions of a cure in supplement form that may or may not help you heal.
If you already follow a predominantly 80/20 paleo, gluten free, low-FODMAP diet like me you are, for the most part, embracing an anti-candida diet. However, I do eat GF breads and so I cut them out when the thrush flares and go grain free. I also add in fresh cranberry as my daily fruit because it helps switch the balance from alkaline to acidic in my system which the yeasty beasties dislike and also helps to bolster my Vitamin C.
Coconut Oil with Essential Oils
Oil Pulling is something I have done every day for the past three years or so. I put a tablespoon of organic coconut oil in my mouth with a couple drops of essential oil and swish it around for 20 minutes. When thrush hits my essential oils become clove, oregano and melalueca because I have found the combo to be very effective. Other proponents of coconut oil pulling recommend lavender oil and myrrh.
I prefer using non-GMO coconut oils, and the 16 ounce jars work well for me for ease of use. Two of the brands I regularly use are:
For essential oils I use DoTerra products which often can be taken internally. Remember that essential oils, even though they are natural, can interact with prescription medications and you should always consult your own health care practitioner and educate yourself before using them. You can get DoTerra oils from my Wellness site at: https://www.mydoterra.com/laurijeancrowe/#/
Prescription Azole Antifungals
Azole antifungals are prescription medications used for thrush, candida and things like jock itch, vaginal yeast infections and ringworm. They have broad spectrum activity and work by inhibiting action of cytochrome P450 dependent enzymes that damage cell membranes, causing cell death. Taken orally then can have some pretty nasty side effects and many people feel awful on them, myself included. The upside is that many people also respond quickly and only need a dose or two if the candida is not systemic.
Unfortunately for me, diflucan in every formularly out there has a dye that I have a known blood allergy response to or some other filler that gives me worse side effects. It also gives me a different kind of migraine. My thrush was severe enough these effects outweighed the dangers of the thrush getting worse, and it did kick the thrush for two weeks, but then it bloomed again. Azoles also interact with another of my medications, so they are off the table when it comes to treating candida in my body.
This is a common treatment given to infants and small children for oral thrush. Often it is a swish and spit, but it can also be taken internally. Nystatin has been around since the 1950’s and has a much smaller side effect profile than the prescription azole antifungals. It also can take longer to be effective, and may be taken more frequently than a once daily dosing. Nystatin, like the azoles, attaches to the fungi cell wall. Specifically it attacks a portion called ergosterol, killing it and effectively causing cell death.
This is what I am adding in today as a swish, gargle and swallow. Because it is predominantly marketed to kids the formula is bubble gum flavored. Ironically it contains sucrose, a sugar to make it more tasty. However, I am hopeful this will be the component that in addition to diet, hydration, coconut pulling and probiotics effectively nullifies the candida overgrowth in my system and keeps it under control during the length of my prednisone treatment.
Probiotic and Prebiotic Foods and Supplements
Probiotics are a way to repopulate the good bacteria in your gut. I’ve taken them for years and probiotics along with l-glutamine and dietary changes healed my leaked gut. It was a game changer with my irritable bowel and Chron’s colitis. However, the gut biome is a tricky thing and you do need to change up your probiotics periodically. I’m switching back to Bio-Kult with this exacerbation. Three of my favorites include:
As far as probiotic and prebiotic foods and supplements go, you will find that most experts in this area recommend slowly adding in yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, pickles and other fermented foods to support your gut. I have had success with goal milk and coconut milk yogurt I make at home, and pickles. The rest of these foods have not personally offered me any lasting benefits I can see, but I am still healing. It took more than five years to get my leaky gut to a place of healing and I’m sure there is still room for more or the candida would not have been able to set up systemically.
If you suffer from candida infection or have dealt with systemic thrush, I would love to hear what you have used to help treat and combat this insidious little yeasty beasty. Please comment below or contact me privately. The prednisone is a necessary evil for a while longer, so I know that thrush is going to rear its ugly head time and time again even with all my best practices on board. If you have another tool for my arsenal I would love to hear it. Thrush sucks and I sooo want to turn off the vacuum.