Do you or your child suffer from yeast overgrowth?
How can you tell? Some signs and symptoms:
- thrush in the mouth
- diaper rash or red ring around the anus
- eczema or cracking skin
- abdominal distention
- a general fogginess, confusion, lethargy
- anger, aggression
- sleep disturbances
Many children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders — or ASD — have a yeast overgrowth. In a healthy gut, yeast and bacteria live in harmonious balance with each other. Good bacteria keeps the yeast in check.
However, when they are out of balance, yeast — Candida — takes over in the digestive tract, causing many gastro-intestinal problems.
Overuse of antiobiotics contributes to yeast overgrowth. Antiobiotics kill bacteria, good and bad, so the yeast is no longer kept at bay.
Can You Test For Yeast?
There are a couple of ways you can test for yeast.
Stool testing: Stool samples can be cultured in a Petri dish to measure the amount of chemicals produced in the intestinal tract.
However, when there are high amounts of IgA antibodies in the intestine, stool testing can miss the presence of Candida. The IgA antibodies keep the Candida from growing in the Petri dish even though they may still be able to grow enough in the intestine to cause problems. This leads to a false negative.
Urine testing: Testing urine can overcome the IgA false negative, but about 10% of yeast are not detected with urine testing.
Therefore, a combination of both stool and urine testing will usually be able to detect if there is a yeast overgrowth problem.
How Do You Treat Yeast?
There are prescription anti-fungal drugs to treat yeast, such as Nystatin, which is one of the oldest and safest anti-fungal drugs. At doses prescribed, it stays in the intestinal tract and is eliminated in the feces.
Non-prescription anti-fungal treatments:
There are non-prescription treatments that have anti-fungal properties.
- garlic or garlic extract
- grapefruit seed extract
- oregano products
- caprylic acid and MCT oil
- aloe vera gel
While there is no scientific testing to show that yeast-free diets can treat autism symptoms, many parents swear by it. This involves eliminating, or at least limiting, wheat/gluten, dairy, soy, and sugar. The idea is that yeast feeds on sugar, so limiting it from your child’s diet will keep the yeast growth from getting out of hand.
Probiotics are microorganisms that prevent the overgrowth of yeast in the intestinal tract. A normal digestive tract contains 400 strains of probiotic bacteria that limits the growth of harmful bacteria. The largest strain is Lactobacillus acidophilus. Probiotic supplements typically contain 10-70 billion strains.
Just Be Aware…
The die-off reaction can be difficult to witness since your child is releasing massive amounts of yeast and bacteria. Most parents report that the die-off period can last from 3-7 days but that they notice improvement in their child’s behavior.
The effectiveness of yeast treatments can vary for each person. It is important to discuss this with your child’s doctor to determine the best treatment.