Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Candida Yeast: Is there a connection?

Candida Yeast Overgrowth

The overgrowth of Candida yeast is a common infection known as Candidiasis. There are over twenty known species of Candida. There are several known types of Candida causing infections (oral thrush, moniliasis, balanitis, intertrigo, and systemic candida) in variable locations and having a variety of symptoms dependent upon the individual infected. Vaginal yeast infections are most commonly caused by the fungus Candida albicans .

Yeast Infections: The Types

Currently five types of known yeast infections exist, all caused by the same fungus, but act to affect separate parts of the body, all with similar symptoms.

  • Moniliasis: This yeast infection affects the vagina, it is associated with higher prevalence in individuals using steroids or antibiotics and in pregnant women.
  • Balanitis: Similar to moniliasis, only affects the penis.
  • Intertrigo: Similar to both moniliasis and balanitis, but is a yeast infection affecting the warm and moist areas of the skin.
  • Systemic Candida: Systemic yeast infection often localized to internal organs of the body. Typically requires prescribed treatments.
  • Thrush: This is a yeast infection of the throat and mouth.

Candida Yeast Symptoms

Candida yeast overgrowth is associated with several symptoms based on the particular type of infection.

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Abnormal/strong vaginal odor
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Vaginal pain/discomfort
  • Pain associated with sexual intercourse

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

The gastrointestinal disorder, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is often triggered by the ingestion of specific foods. It has several common names including: "irritable colon, spastic colon, and irritable bowel." Stress is correlated with increased symptoms. It is possible for untreated irritable bowel syndrome to induce further health problems. Essentially, irritable bowel syndrome is associated with abdominal pain relieved by passage of stool that is variable between constipation and diarrhea.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms

Irritable bowel syndrome is associated with several specific symptoms including:

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Nausea
  • Presence of mucus in stool
  • Alteration of stool texture/form/consistency

Controversial Connections: Candida Yeast and IBS

There is limited research connecting irritable bowel syndrome with candida yeast infections. Numerous physicians fall on either side of the controversial evidence, some supporting that connections exist and others stating such evidence is coincidental. Many physicians maintain the argument that the increase of general overall health habits is the cause for the decrease in candida infections and irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. Other physicians have noted that Candiasis treatments typically decrease irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/candidiasis-yeast-infection

http://www.webmd.com/ibs/digestive-diseases-irritable-bowel-syndrome

http://www.webmd.com/women/guide/sexual-health-vaginal-infections

Photo Credit: fabiko

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