Candidiasis: An Initial Indication of A Positive Treatment Approach
by S. Colet Lahoz. MS. RN, LAc
While the article "Candidiasis: Scourge of Arthritics" by Anthony di Fabio that appeared in the January 1995 issue of TLfD was helpful in understanding Candidiasis, it did not clarify the issue of appropriate treatment protocol. Mr. di Fabio´s observation is that treatment approaches vary for many reasons, and that there is no set method that is recommended at this time. "Some use diet alone, others use prescription drugs such as Ketoconazole" and some use Candida Purge, (combination of Caprol, Bentonite, Psyllium and Acidophilus). Candida Purge is currently marketed as Acu-Trol products. Mr. di Fabio therefore makes the conclusion that "if Candidiasis is to be effectively and quickly treated, all forms of treatment should be used either at the same time or in as quick succession as medically possible." This conclusion leaves many unanswered questions. There are many different modalities on hand, do we use all of them? Which ones are to be used simultaneously and which ones are to be used in rapid succession?
This fundamental question regarding treatment approaches led me to do a study that would address what treatment methods bring the best outcomes for patients with systemic candidiasis. The study started in 1991 and followed patients with candidiasis for a period of two years. The results strongly suggested certain combinations of modalities that work better than others. This article will share the research process, findings, discussion and conclusions from that study.
A 37-item questionnaire designed to elicit feedback on questions relating to the treatment of Candidiasis was given to patients who had recovered from systemic candidiasis. The questionnaire sought to find answers to several major questions:
The sample was selected based upon two criteria. First, they were people diagnosed positive for systemic candidiasis. Second their symptoms had been reversed or significantly reduced. This conclusion was derived from a self-assessed comparison rating of symptoms before and after treatment. Of the 70 questionnaires sent to people who met these criteria, 50 (71%) responded . Seventy-four percent were female, 26% male. Age ranged from 18 months to 82 years. Respondents claim to have had symptoms of candidiasis for a range of 6 to 10 years before they were correctly diagnosed and treated.
90% claim that the predisposing factor leading to their illness was a history of having used either one of the following: several rounds of antibiotics, corticosteroids, or in women, birth control pills.
Respondents used a combination of treatments ranging from diet, prescription medications, natural herbs, acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathics, colonic, and massage. The products most commonly used were:
Other products used by a fewer number of the respondents included: Capronex, Chlorophyll, EDTA Chelation therapy, Homeopathic Sepia, and sulphur, Hydrogen Peroxide baths, Ketoconazole, Lemonade with Cayenne, Lotrimin, Nutrimin, OxypCleanse, Pau d´ Arco Extract, Sunrider Terazol and Yeast Away.
In order to provide a general overview of product effectiveness, a ratio of positive to negative responses for each product was computed. Only the responses to the 10 most used products were tabulated.
Ranking of products that were perceived to bring improvement at first, but where symptoms came back after some time
Monistat (42%), Nystatin (41%) and Diflucan (30%) were ranked the highest out of ten products that gave only short term improvement, and where symptoms recurred after some time.
Ranking of products which were perceived as causing no change in symptoms.
Candida Extract (40%), Garlic (37%), and Nizoral (30%) were three products that were tried by our respondents but ranked highest as ones that did not bring any change in symptoms.
Ranking of products which respondents indicated they discontinued because of side effects.
Among the products used by respondents, Nizoral, Candida Extract, Diflucan and Nystatin (20-30%) were discontinued most often because of side effects. Caprol, Psyllium, Bentonite and Acidophilus and Monistat (0-7%) were discontinued least often due to undesirable side effects.
Ranking of products based on the indication by users that they have discontinued the products because they are well.
Of the ten products discussed above, the combination of Caprol, Bentonite, Psyllium and acidophilus was rated most effective. (These products are referred to as Candida Purge in the article by A. di Fabio mentioned above.) The combination of these four ingredients are found under the label Acu-Trol. These products were rated effective because according to the respondents these products gave significant improvement that was long lasting; they had fewer side effects, and therefore their use could be continued. After three to six months, most of respondents were able to discontinue using them because they had recovered. More than half of those who used this combination indicated initial relief within a few days. Forty-two percent claimed they felt relief within two to three months. They took these products for an average of one year before symptoms completely stabilized.
The other products: Garlic, Nystatin, Monistat, Nizoral and Candida Extract appeared less effective in that they had more side effects. These side effects included severe die-off, this die-off causing headaches, nausea and fatigue that would last for 7 to 10 days were cited as the most common reason for discontinuing use of a product. Although they brought initial improvements, symptoms came back after some time. Among these products there was an indication that some of them brought no change in symptoms, i.e. no indication that they were getting better.
People who used Nizoral, or Nystatin took three to ten months to feel a difference and 13 months to two years before they improved compared to the three to six months that it took the group using Acu-trol to feel improvement.
Favorable benefits attributed to the use of Acu-trol products
The majority of respondents who took the Acu-trol products reported improvement in gastrointestinal function to be the most valued benefit. Other benefits reported were less bloatedness, fewer bouts of diarrhea/constipation, lessened food cravings and good bowel cleansing. A third of them reported increased energy level, less fatigue, fewer bouts of anxiety/depression, and increased mental alertness, approximately one-third also reported positive changes such as lessened sensitivity to food and environmental allergens. Less than a third had unfavorable effects including abdominal cramping, gassiness, and abdominal bloating. These were considered mild and not a reason for them to discontinue use of products. A few mentioned the texture of the psyllium mix as undesirable but not a reason to forego therapy.
Other treatment modalities used simultaneously with oral fungicides and colon cleansers
The respondents reported having used the following treatments along with a strict diet (yeast-free and sugar-free) and use of fungicides and colon cleansers: Acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation, colonic irrigation, massage. The treatment rated most effective in repairing the effects of candidiasis was acupuncture which was used by 64% of respondents. Acupuncture´s beneficial effects were described as: improvement in energy level, ability to digest food better, less bloatedness, lessened sensitivities to allergens and in general, fewer symptoms. They reported relatively few side effects and that relief was long lasting.
Twenty-five percent of the respondents used chiropractic manipulation, but with mixed results. Half of them claimed it was helpful, and the other half felt there was little or no effect on their symptoms. Colonics were used by 24% of the respondents with very positive results and was highly recommended. Of the 38% who used drugs such as antibiotics and corticosteroids, 78% claimed these caused a worsening of symptoms and therefore discontinued their use.
Diet that is free from sugar, yeast, fermented
food, and alcohol was reported by 70% of subjects as essential in controlling
the symptoms of candidiasis. They also claimed that violating these restrictions
brought back symptoms and delayed their recovery process.
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