Written by Maeve Hanan
Candida overgrowth is a type of fungus or yeast which grows all over the human body, especially in warm and moist areas like the mouth, stomach and vagina.
The presence of candida isn’t usually a problem unless an overgrowth occurs (1). Although candida overgrowth is quite common, the severity of these infections vary greatly (2).
Candida overgrowth is also called:
- A Candida infection
- A yeast infection
- A fungal infection
A yeast allergy is a rare food allergy – this is a separate condition which has no clear connection to Candida overgrowth (3).
There are more than 150 known species of Candida, but only 15 of these are thought to be linked with Candida infections (4). Candida albicans is the species most commonly associated with candida overgrowth.
The risk of this is higher for those who have (1):
- A weakened immune system e.g. AIDS, cancer or poorly controlled diabetes
- Liver damage
- Used antibiotics for a prolonged period
- An imbalance of bacteria in the gut
- High-stress levels
Some studies have found that using proton-pump inhibitor medication (PPIs) increases the risk of candida overgrowth in the oesophagus (food pipe) (5). The reason for this isn’t entirely clear, but it may be related to a reduction in stomach acid.
There is no good evidence that Candida overgrowth leads to ‘leaky gut syndrome’, you can find out some more about that here.