In addition to bacteria, there are also fungi in the human intestine that do not pose any health risks in a healthy balance. One of the most common fungi is the Candida yeast fungus, which colonises about half of all people from birth. However, if the immune system falters, the Candida fungi can multiply unhindered and trigger infections on the skin, mucous membranes and intestines. How high the Candida concentration is in the body can be examined at home using Candida test kits. In our Candida test 2021 we would like to inform you about the yeast fungus of the Candida genus and show you the best ways to carry out a Candida test from home.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 The most important facts
- 3 The Best Candida: Our Picks
- 4 Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a Candida Test Kit
- 5 Measure Candida concentration yourself: What you should look for in a Candida test kit
- 5.1 For whom is a Candida Test Kit useful?
- 5.2 How can I take a Candida test?
- 5.3 How meaningful are the results of a Candida Kit?
- 5.4 Are there other ways to detect a Candida infection through a self-test?
- 5.5 Where and how else can I have the candida infection detected?
- 5.6 What can I do if the test result is not good?
- 6 Conclusion
The most important facts
- The yeast Candida is most commonly found in the human body as Candida albicans. It is found in the mucous membranes, on the skin and in the digestive tract.
- For people with a healthy immune system, a low concentration of the yeast fungus in the gastrointestinal tract is harmless. For risk groups, however, a fungal infection can lead to fatal sepsis in the worst case.
- A Candida test can be carried out at home with the help of a test kit. A stool sample is tested for the presence of different yeast fungi.
The Best Candida: Our Picks
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a Candida Test Kit
What role do Candida fungi play in the body?
There are different studies that provide information on how often healthy people are colonised with Candida fungi. The results indicate that 20-80% of all healthy people are colonised. As a basis for this, the Robert Koch Institute refers to a proven frequency of 50% of all healthy people. The yeast fungus is often transmitted at birth or in infancy. A healthy immune system and a healthy intestinal flora limit the multiplication of the fungus, so that no or hardly noticeable health complaints occur. However, if the yeast fungus multiplies excessively, candidiasis can occur. We will introduce you to the causes and symptoms of the diseases in the following chapters. (2, 15, 16)
How high should the concentration of Candida yeast fungi be in the intestinal flora?
|lower than 10^4 fungi/g stool||natural fungal colonisation, clinically insignificant|
|10^4 - 10^6 fungi/g stool||in need of control|
|higher than 10^6 fungi/g stool||disease to be assumed|
The Robert Koch Institute summarised in 2004 that a clinically significant sample exists when 1,000,000 fungi/g stool can be detected. (2)
What happens when yeast fungi multiply excessively?
In women, a vaginal infection, a so-called vaginal mycosis, can occur. In the mouth, the infection is called thrush. In various studies from the 1980s, the Candida hypersensitivity syndrome was described, which assumes a series of symptoms due to Candida colonisation. According to this, an excessive proliferation in the intestinal tract can trigger various health complaints. The following symptoms are described as a consequence of candidiasis:
- Bloating, diarrhoea and constipation alternating with each other
- Heart problems
- chronic fatigue
- Skin diseases
- Muscle pain
- Depression (6, 19)
Opposing studies, including the Robert Koch Institute, state that there is no scientific evidence for the Candida hypersensitivity syndrome. (2) It is also criticised that the "microecology" of the intestine is exploited by various doctors and alternative practitioners out of economic interest. There is no justified fear of intestinal fungus. (7)
Besides harmless infections, however, candidiasis can also penetrate deep into a defence-weakened body and spread via the bloodstream to the internal organs. Sepsis is the worst consequence of an invasive fungal infection, which can be fatal. (8, 20)
What is the trigger for a fungal infection?
In women, pregnancy and hormone preparations can also easily trigger vaginal mycosis, a fungal infection in the genital area. However, men can also suffer from a fungal infection. (5, 20) Advocates of the candida hypersensitivity syndrome see, in addition to the intake of antibiotics, an unbalanced diet rich in sugar, stress as well as stressful environmental influences as the cause of candidiasis. To counteract this, an "anti-fungal diet" is recommended, which includes avoiding sugar and white flour. Probiotics are also recommended to build up the intestinal flora. In addition, antimycotics must be used to combat fungal infections. (6) (9, 15)
Also on the point of the "anti-fungal diet", the opposing voices in science are of the opinion that the effectiveness of such a diet could not be scientifically proven. (2, 7) On the other hand, the effects of candidiasis in people with various pre-existing conditions have been proven. Under certain circumstances, a candida infection can lead to life-threatening sepsis. The risk groups are presented below.
What are the risk groups?
According to the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, 1.5 million people worldwide die every year as a result of a fungal infection. Patients with pre-existing diseases are affected and represent a special risk group. (8, 15, 16) The high-risk group includes the following groups:
- People with congenital or acquired immunodeficiencies (e.g. AIDS)
- People with cancer
- Patients with damage to the oral and intestinal flora after chemotherapy
- Patients after organ transplantation
- Patients with severe tissue damage caused by burns, bacterial infections or mechanical injuries (10, 15)
What are the effects of Candida in children?
Often the yeast fungus is already transmitted at birth or in infancy. The not yet fully developed immune system of infants and small children favours a multiplication of the yeast fungus. The fungus often first attacks the oral cavity. There, the pathogen triggers thrush in the oral cavity. From the oral cavity, candida spreads to the gastrointestinal tract.
The fungi can then be excreted through the stool into the nappy, which can cause nappy eczema, also called nappy thrush. The nappy area is particularly at risk in young children as the skin can become sore from rubbing the nappy and the irritating effects of stool and urine. The yeast fungus can attach itself to irritated skin areas and trigger nappy thrush. (11)
Measure Candida concentration yourself: What you should look for in a Candida test kit
After we have given you the most important information about the yeast fungus of the Candida genus, we would like to inform you about the relevance and application of Candida test kits.
For whom is a Candida Test Kit useful?
Infection with Candida fungi can cause various symptoms. It only makes sense to carry out a test if clear symptoms are present. In the case of fungal overgrowth in the intestine, which can be assumed at a concentration of more than 1,000,000 fungi/g stool, symptoms such as flatulence, diarrhoea or stomach cramps are common. (2)
If these symptoms are present in a patient with a weakened immune system, a fungal infection is possible. These patients may be advised to have a candida test. In a healthy person with gastrointestinal disorders, a suspicion of Candida is often unfounded. A test for Candida only makes sense if a fungal infection is present in the anal or pubic area at the same time. (10)
How can I take a Candida test?
A Candida test can be done in the comfort of your own home. You can order a Candida test kit from various providers and send the sample by post to the laboratory responsible. The Candida kit for testing a stool sample is equipped with a stool catcher and a collection spoon.
The sample taken must be filled into a test tube. This will be sent by post to the provider of the Candida Kit. The results are analysed promptly in a specialised laboratory. The results are then communicated in a report.
How meaningful are the results of a Candida Kit?
The examination of a stool sample cannot reliably provide information about a disease. The fungi are often found in nests in the intestine, which means they are not evenly distributed in the stool.
The stool sample is therefore a random sample, as an uninfected part of the stool could also be examined. If symptoms of the disease are present, it is advisable to have several stool samples tested. (10, 18) Furthermore, a positive detection of Candida yeasts in the stool sample does not yet indicate a fungal disease. As already described, about half of all people worldwide are colonised with Candida. A result that may be clinically significant is present if there is a concentration of more than 1,000,000 fungi/g of stool.
Are there other ways to detect a Candida infection through a self-test?
There is also the possibility of a self-test to detect a Candida infection in the genital area. A pH value test can give an indication of a vaginal infection. A vaginal fungal infection affects 3/4 of all women at least once in their lives. The moist environment of the vaginal mucosa favours a fungal infection. The normal pH value of the vaginal flora is 4.5. If the vaginal environment becomes imbalanced, the pH value can rise, which can result in the multiplication of Candida fungi.
Typical symptoms of a fungal infection are redness and swelling as well as a creamy to friable discharge. In addition, there is a burning sensation and pain during sexual intercourse. (5) The vaginal self-test is used to determine fungal and bacterial infections. The test consists of a swab with which the pH value of the vaginal flora can be measured. The test can be performed independently at home and provides immediate results.
The test result is indicated by a change in colour at the tip of the swab. A positive result is indicated by a blue-green colour. The positive result indicates an elevated pH. However, an elevated pH does not confirm the presence of a fungal infection. Regular self-testing is recommended for pregnant women because a fungal infection can have a negative effect on the baby. (12)
Where and how else can I have the candida infection detected?
Candidiasis can be felt in various places on and in the body. An appropriate doctor can take a sample of the infected area and examine it:
- Swab: A swab is taken from the genital area or mouth and then examined in the laboratory.
- Skin scratch test: A skin sample of the affected area is scratched off and then grown into a fungal culture, which is examined under the microscope.
- Candida in a stool sample: A stool sample can also be taken from a doctor.
- Candidafungi in the blood: A blood test can detect candida endomycosis, a fungal infection of the internal organs.
- Biopsy of the tissue: Candida fungi can be detected in the tissue by a biopsy. (13)
What can I do if the test result is not good?
If you have done a Candida self-test at home and got a positive result, we recommend that you first see a doctor. The treatment of candidiasis then depends on the symptoms of the respective body region affected. A superficial skin and mucous membrane infection can often be treated with ointments and necessary hygiene measures. For the treatment of a vaginal infection, there are simple antifungals, so-called antimycotics, which are used in the form of suppositories, creams or tablets. (12) If you have a positive result for a fungal infection in the gastrointestinal tract, antimycotics are available for treatment, which inhibit the growth of the fungi and thus kill them. (2, 20)
It is important to emphasise that a fungal infection should only be diagnosed by considering elevated levels and symptomatic symptoms. The sole detection of the fungus in the intestine is not conclusive. In addition to the conventional medical recommendation of antifungal drugs, an antifungal diet is recommended, especially by naturopathy. However, this is controversial. Furthermore, the intestinal flora can be supported by probiotic and prebiotic preparations. This approach is also controversial. (10)
Candida fungi can be detected in the body of half of all people. The sole finding is harmless up to a low concentration. Usually, a weakened immune system as well as taking antibiotics triggers a fungal infection in various places on the skin and mucous membrane. These are often easily treatable. The diagnosis of a fungal disease in the intestine is more difficult to make. For a diagnosis, corresponding symptoms as well as a positive finding must be present. A Candida infection often indicates an immune deficiency, which is why it is important to clarify whether the patient has risk factors that explain the increased Candida infestation. For example, a Candida infection can be an indication of diabetes or an immunodeficiency disease. (8)
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