What Are Fungal Disorders?

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Athlete’s foot

Tinea Pedis also known as Athlete’s foot, (is a common foot infection) and Ringworm are caused by fungi called anthropophilic dermatophytes.

It is found in many different places indoors and outdoors, and is especially common in the warm, moist environments of pools, showers, locker rooms and other sports facilities, where people walk with bare feet, including your carpet and bathroom floor.

Once anthropophilic dermatophytes contaminate the skin on your feet, the warm, moist environment of sweaty socks and shoes encourages them to grow.

Anthropophilic dermatophytes is caused by shedding of tiny skin scales. These scales contain infectious hyphal elements (known as arthroconidia) of the presenting fungus.

Desquamated skin scales may remain infectious in the environment for months or years. So, transmission can take place by indirect contact long after the infective debris has been shed. This fungal disorder is highly infectious.

If untreated it can become chronic and spread to other parts of the body such as the hands, torso or groin.

Fungi are very complex organisms and have more of an affinity with human cells than viruses or bacteria.

Many people are under the impression that a small fungal infection is nothing really to worry about, and often they leave it for sometime before treating.

However a fungal that triggers these types of infections are not as trivial as one thinks.

Fungi can become quite toxic by seeping into the bloodstream and therefore invading vital organs and spreading bacteria and infection.

Due to people travelling overseas more these days they are frequently exposed to different types of fungi, which they have no immunity to.

Anyone that is taken immunosuppressant drugs can also be more vulnerable to fungi infection since these drugs are lowering your immunity.

Symptoms Of Athlete’s Foot Include:

  • Intense itching of the feet
  • Cracked, blistered or peeling areas of skin, especially between the toes
  • Redness and scaling on the soles

In most people, signs of infection are seen on the webbed skin between the toes. The infection spreads to one or more toenails, causing the nail to appear unusually thick and cloudy yellow, the splitting and cracked skin can be sore and painful when walking.

Prevention

You can help to prevent athlete’s foot by keeping your feet clean and dry and observing the following steps:

  • Wash your feet thoroughly every day and wear a clean pair of socks after your bath or shower.
  • Take time to dry your feet, including each toe, thoroughly (especially the webbed area between the toes) after you bathe, shower or swim.
  • If you use public pools or showers, wear thongs or sandals to prevent your bare feet from touching floors contaminated with fungi.
  • Choose leather shoes rather than vinyl, since leather lets feet “breathe” so they are more likely to stay dry.
  • Wear cotton socks to absorb sweat.
  • If possible, don’t wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. Give your shoes a 24-hour break between wearing to air out and dry out.
  • Don’t share shoes.

Thrush/Candida Albicans

Thrush is also a fungal disorder and is more commonly acquired vaginally, though it can present in the oral cavity.

It can also occur in babies where it causes white patches on the tongue, inside the cheeks and in the nappy area.

Thrush is highly infective and sex should cease until the disorder is resolved fully, otherwise the other partner will be infected.

Thrush is caused by a yeast like fungus. The correct name is Candida albicans and it is naturally found in our body.

A healthy strong immune system keeps the fungus at bay, and therefore no overgrowth occurs.

In people who have weakened immunity especially HIV the fungus will grow and spread, appearing in colonies of white patches in the mouth, throat, esophagus and vagina.

Once Candida proliferates in the body in can trigger and contribute to an array of health disorders, such as:

Abdominal gas and bloating, irritable bowel, constipation, diarrhea, migraines/headaches, extreme itching, fogginess in the brain and inability to think clearly, poor memory, learning difficulties, depression and mood swings,

irritability, anxiety, extreme fatigue, muscle weakness, vaginitis, pruritus (rectal itching), craving for sweets, PMT, skin disorders, earaches, sinus problems, lack of motivation, low libido, fibromyalgia, athletes foot, cognitive impairment, allergies.

Candida can also be an instigator for alcoholism and develop intolerance to yeast.

One of the most common organs to be affected by Candida overgrowth is the brain and the nervous system. This results in a variety of Candida symptoms in males that exhibit themselves as psychological or cognitive problems such as:

Chronic prostatitis, attention deficit disorder, anger/rage disorders, hyperactive, drug addiction, autism and anti-social disorder, alcoholism.

The problem we have here is that the disorder can be present for quite some time until it is diagnosed since men are less likely to seek help, and may often pass it off as nothing important to worry over, and psychologically men are more inclined to live with pain and discomfort than address it.

If this is the case they will not only develop chronic disorders but they can pass it onto their partners during sex!

Candida symptoms can vary from one person to another and often move back and forth between systems within the same individual. One day you may experience symptoms in the musculoskeletal system and the next day it could be the digestive system, etc.

Causes That May Have Triggered Candida Could Be:

Food allergies, hypoglycaemia, nutritional deficiencies, high sugar consumption, chemical sensitivities frequent and consistent beer drinking, low immunity perhaps through stress, or inadequate diet etc.

Treatments:

There are many products on the market that people use, but often they may experience a return of the symptoms later down the track. Many medications that are toxic to fungi are usually toxic to humans also!

Some of these medications contain an active known as azole, which according to some research is quite toxic. There could be a direct relation between development of resistance to azole fungicides which also means the disorder is not fully resolved and can occur again.

As a Practitioner of Natural Therapies I would encourage people to use natural plant/mineral based products for treatment.

These include oral and topical remedies. We must also assess the person thoroughly since many people who encounter Fungal disorders often have a low immunity. This could be due to physical or emotional stress, inadequate diet which would indicate insufficient nutrients are being taken on board, absorbed and assimilated for optimum health.

Naturopathically I would always assess lifestyle habits which may require changing including diet, targeting consumption of fresh healthy vegetables, grains, protein, oils. All sugars must be eliminated until the problem is fully resolved.

That includes fructose which is in all your natural fruits. Honey consumption must either be eliminated or reduced to half a teaspoon per day. Fungals will thrive and grow on sugars.

Antibiotics interfere with the normal balance of the gut flora and can contribute to further fungal growth.

If, however they are being prescribed for a bacterial infection potent live bacterias MUST be taken, since continual use of antibiotics will only make the Candida growth proliferate

I recommended not to self-diagnose otherwise you maybe disappointed with your results. There are many live bacteria’s on the market and the correct one needs to be selected for your disorder by a professional practitioner.

Gastrointestinal health is paramount for optimum health. The Digestive process needs to be working efficiently along with the bowels. Bowels must eliminate with ease 1-2 times a day in order to rid the body of any toxins, parasites or worms.

If constipation is present then you will experience sluggishness, low energy levels and toxins will re-circulate in the blood stream only contributing to more fungal overgrowth.

When you visit a naturopath Herbal remedies and in some cases Homoeopathics are formulated to your unique presentation and type of fungal that you are experiencing.

It is very important that the correct herbs are selected to strengthen immunity, improve digestion and assimilation of nutrients and to assist the bowel to work efficiently eliminating all toxins. If these factors are not assessed you will only experience ongoing health problems.

Chronic cases will be recommended to stay on systemic herbal formulas and/or homeopathics for quite a period of time, even when the presenting symptoms appear to have resolved, since one must strengthen the entire constitution at a deep cellular level, herbs and homoeopathics are excellent for achieving this.

People go wrong here by ceasing their medications too soon – when they observe symptoms have ceased, it is better to continue a little longer and ensure you get to the Root of the problem.

During the treatment some people may experience a slight worsening of symptoms, this is due to the Candida dying off. This healing crisis stage is called the Herxheimer Response.

This healing crisis occurs when the Candida is being killed off quickly and may overwhelm the body with toxins.

This is why it is important to have all eliminatory channels working efficiently, i.e. Bowels. Sometimes this “die off” can present as flu like symptoms and does not last for long.

Remedies can be reduced (same applies to pharmaceutical products like Nystatin) if symptoms are troublesome, especially if the person is more fragile, or very fatigued or the case is chronic.

Some other “die off” symptoms are: poor concentration, headaches, brain fog, sore throat, anxiety, depression and irritability, feeling anti social and lacking motivation, bloating, nausea, cravings for all things sweet! This does not last for long.

This is why it is recommended that you see a professional practitioner who can give you the correct remedies to assist you during the symptom changes until you resolve completely, while your body rids itself of the burden of toxins.

Obviously there are other products on the market that are chemically derived such as the ones sold in pharmacies, however, natural therapy aims to treat the source of the problem.

You may say “We Treat The Root, Not The Stem” and in so doing resolve the disorder once and for all. Consistency is the key with natural remedies, one must be diligent and follow through, and depending on the chronicity of the problem patience is also a prerequisite. Dietary changes must be adhered to.

I have spoken to some doctors over time who really don’t see the point in adhereing to a sugar free diet, in fact some have told people not to worry over their diet. I was told exactly the same thing many years ago. Thankfully, I made my own decision here!

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I have seen excellent results with the use of plant and natural mineral based products and the advantage is they are less likely to irritate the skin or cause side effects to mucus membranes internally.

In some cases, men who have suffered from Candida and Prostatitis have resolved the latter or at least improved the symptoms greatly once they commence treating the Candida.

One simple thing that some people may venture to do is to walk in the ocean for a good half hour no matter the time of year! The ocean water is very healing and cleansing for all foot problems where fungal is present.

So if you are experiencing any fungal infections please do consider the above and seek to resolve it before further health issues result from it.

Lyn Craven

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