A fungal infection materialises when there is excess growth of bacteria, usually in the skin.Fungal infections can also occur internally, in your internal digestive system due to bacteria build-up. Internal fungal conditions can stem from a variety of factors such as overconsumption of alcohol, carbohydrates, sugar, or fermented foods; oral contraceptives; excessive stress; or antibiotics.The most common fungal infections are:
Fungal nail infection
Ringworm on the groin, body, or scalp
At the Australian Centre for Functional Medicine, the principle behind our Functional Medicine approach is simple: each patient is different and has a unique set of underlying problems that require a personalised treatment.
In order to properly treat fungal infections, it’s important to understand why they’re happening in the first place. Our practitionerswill analyse your unique circumstances through advanced questionnaires and diagnostic testing to get an understanding of what’s causing your fungal infection. Once we’ve got a clearer picture of where your issue is stemming from, we can provide advice and a treatment plan to treat your fungal infection naturally and for good
By now, we have all heard and read about the many facets of the human microbiome. The bacteria living in our gut and elsewhere in our body influence various aspects of our health. However, there is a little known and less studied microbiome living alongside these bacteria: fungi.
This microscopic ecosystem within our microbiome is referred to as the mycobiome. The so-called human mycobiome is a large community of fungal species that interact with the bacteria living in our body as well as with our own cells.
Much like the bacterial microbiome, our fungal inhabitants play important roles in our health. Under normal, healthy conditions, bacteria help keep fungal growth in check, keeping healthy levels.
Dysbiosis is one of the main sources of fungal-related diseases, and it occurs when fungi growth gets out of control. This is when disease occurs. Conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)1, Commented : clinicians or practitioners bacterial dysbiosis in the gut microbiome2or cystic fibrosis3are linked to our mycobiome. These fungi can also influence the functioning of the immune system4and cause infections in different parts of the body
This is a common fungal disease that results from an overgrowth of a species of Candida. Many different species of Candida exist, but the most common species affecting adults is Candida albicans. Other species can affect humans too, such as C. parapsilosis, a species known to affect babies and patients who have received transplants6. C. glabrata is known to occur more commonly in adults7.
Many of these Candida species are normal inhabitants of your mycobiome. They normally live in the skin and mucous membranes, without causing disease. However, when certain factors come into play, they can become a problem and cause conditions like Candidiasis, which affect different regions of the body, like the mouth, throat or reproductive tracts.
The most common forms of candidiasis affect the mouth, where it is called thrush, and the vagina, where it is commonly known as a “yeast infection”. Symptoms of thrush include loss of taste, pain while eating or swallowing, and white patches and soreness in the inside of your mouth. Vaginal candidiasis is characterised by pain during sexual intercourse and while urinating, itching, and abnormal discharges. Redness, swelling and cracks in the vaginal area can also occur. Males can also get candidiasis in their genital area, with very similar symptoms. The condition includes similar symptoms, including itching, sore and redness in the head of the penis, unusual discharges, pain when urinating, and a “yeasty” smell.
A more serious conditions is known as invasive candidiasis, where the pathogen gets into the bloodstream and infects multiple organs, like the kidney, heart, or even the brain. More information about these conditions can be found here.
Several factors are known to trigger a Candida infection, where your normal levels of Candida explode and lead to fungal overgrowth and disease.
This is a condition caused by the spores of a fungi-like microorganisms called microsporidia, which includes over 1,400 species in 200 genera. About 15 species are known to infect humans. Some microsporidia species infect specific organs, causing, for example, inflammation of the muscles, pain and diarrhoea in the small intestine and pain in the eyes. Other species produce a systemic infection, affecting the whole body, which can be fatal. More details can be found here.
Two of the most common pathogens among microsporidia are Enterocytozoon bieneusi and Encephalitozoon intestinalis, usually infecting the small intestine although it can also affect other parts of the gastrointestinal tract10-11. Infection by these pathogens is not well understood, but it starts with the spores produced by these microorganisms, which can survive for months in the environment. Ingestion of these spores through contaminated water, food or soil leads to the establishment of the pathogen in the body. Once inside your body, these spores start a complex reproductive cycle that results in the constant multiplication of the spores throughout the body. Other species of microsporidia have been reported in some important seafood, like prawns12 and the western rock lobster13 in Australia.
Like with other microsporidia, these two species can cause GI symptoms like diarrhoea and wasting. If the spores reproduce and invade other parts of the body it can infect the eyes, lungs and the urinary tract. Other infections can occur too, and their sources are not always clear or easy to identify.
Some fungal pathogens are normal inhabitants of your GI tract and overgrowth can be triggered by external factors, like diet. For example, the yeast Geotrichum is a common inhabitant of the human GIT14. This species is also naturally found in fruits and vegetables, soil and dairy products like some cheese15-17.
Although rare, human pathogenic infections by Geotrichum have been reported, usually affecting people with weakened immune systems or some diseases. One study, for example, reported a case of invasive skin infection by Geotrichum in a patient with diabetes mellitus18. Infections by this agent have also been reported in patients with acute leukemia19 and other cancers20 or patients with compromised immune systems21.
Candida overgrowth usually appears in the following symptoms:
At the Australian Centre for Functional Medicine we take a holistic approach to health. This means we perform extensive blood, urine, stool testing, which reveal the key microbial species present, as well as give evidence of fungal overgrowth. Based on these results, we can take action to address your conditions.
Through a combination of diet and lifestyle changes, as well as potent natural antifungal remedies we have successfully eradicated many fungal infections.
Treatment differs slightly depending on your condition but may involve the following steps:
Remove excess bad bacteria or candida overgrowth. This is usually done via herbal medicine.
Eliminate inflammatory foods from your diet that encourage candida overgrowth, such as sugars, alcohol, and simple carbohydrates.
Replenish and rebuild healthy bacteria with probiotics and fermented foods.