Now that I have had a few days to process my first follow up appointment with my functional medicine doctor, I want to provide more information on each health concern discovered so far. While the goal of this whole journey was to address the root cause of my sudden cystic acne, I don’t think that this story is going to end with “and this is why your face exploded.”
Instead, I am thankful that my face cried out for help – I’ve got a lot to correct in my body to get healthy again. One of the biggest concerns, as I’ve mentioned before, is the elevated level of Candida in my gut.
To put it in perspective, the “standard range” on the four Candida blood tests I’ve completed is less than 101 units. My level that indicates recent Candida overgrowth is 143. My level that indicates ongoing, chronic overgrowth of Candida is 255. So, while everyone has a little bit of Candida in their gut, my levels are far too high.
Since finding out about my elevated levels, I’ve done quite a bit of research. One of the most comprehensive articles I’ve found is “10 Signs You Have Candida Overgrowth and What to Do About It” by Dr. Amy Myers on mindbodygreen. According to Dr. Myers, when Candida is overproduced, it “can break down the wall of the intestine and penetrate the bloodstream — releasing toxic by-products into your body and causing leaky gut. This can lead to many different health problems, from digestive issues to depression.”
We originally focused on killing the Candida through diet. Candida feeds off of sugar and by eliminating sugar in all forms for the past 90 days, I’ve (hopefully) taken a big step in lowering my levels. But, after meeting with the doctor on Wednesday, she determined that I need to go through a 30 day anti-fungal course of treatment to obliterate the remaining Candida and restore my levels completely.
The drug of choice is 100mg fluconazole. Taking a pill a day shouldn’t be too much of an issue, but this “Candida die-off” comes with some major consequences…
According to my doctor, taking this anti-fungal will result in a herxheimer reaction. Basically, candida yeast cells release 79 different toxins as they die, and rapidly killing the cells results in the body going through a massive detoxification. My doctor prepared me for flu-like symptoms a few days after starting the anti-fungal, followed by a brief period of feeling better, to conclude with yet another round of flu-like symptoms. She was right…I feel like I got hit by a truck. Oh Candida, how I hate you.
But on the plus side, I am finally addressing a major health issue I didn’t even know I had when I started this whole journey! I can only hope will lead to clear skin and a much, much healthier gut.
I’ll keep you posted on the die-off awesomeness and will share the other post-visit wellness steps I’m taking throughout the week!
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