The Fungus Within Us

Last week I was sitting in my office when I coworker stopped by. We talked briefly regarding a work concern and then she proceeded to share her frustration with her newly acquired IBS, including sudden urgency after meals. Yikes! I have been there. I listened sympathetically as she spoke, clinging to my door frame as though lunch had passed far too quickly and all the toilets were occupied. “Yes, I used to have IBS,” I replied. “I went gluten free and it changed my life.” It’s not really what she wanted to hear and she walked away looking unrelieved. The truth is I didn’t have to go gluten free to resolve my IBS. Adding healthy bacteria to my gut improved my quality of life immensely, yet those pesky fungal issues were relentless. If I didn’t have a vaginal yeast infection, I felt as though I had one coming on and fungal skin lesions were becoming a regular occurrence in my life. My whole body was being overtaken by fungi or so it seemed.

It was spring and I ended up with a sinus infection, another of my ongoing battles despite long term antihistamine use. I visited the doctor and walked out with a prescription for pills…the antibiotic variety. Within a few days the infection has subsided, but my fungi were in a full blown attack. I returned to the doctor sensing an ascending pain up my lower back, much as you do with a UTI. The check for bacteria was negative and when I suggested to the doctor that I had a fungal infection in my urinary tract, he told me that doesn’t happen. Well, according to medical journals it does happen, but the real question isn’t does it really happen, but why would a seemingly healthy woman have a yeast infection in her urinary tract, a condition normally reserved for seriously compromised patients. He ended up treating me for a resistant vaginal yeast infection. I was given a prescription of antifungal pills and was to take one a week for 8 weeks. I had already taken one the week before and the pain in my lower back descended only to ascend again a few days later. After doing some research I decided to take the entire course over a week, the way these infections were treated in the medical journals. Dose one, dose two, and finally on the third day something happened. I started to pee clear urine with tissue paper looking stuff in it. It was painless, yet I could not only see the clumps, I could feel them. For two days this happened and then the infection was gone. I mentioned this to the next doctor I saw and she told me that doesn’t happen, as though I had imagined the whole thing.

When you begin to lose faith in doctors an amazing thing happens, you begin to take control of your own health. For the first time I knew they hadn’t a clue how to help me and I had to fix this myself. Upon suggestion of a guy I was dating at the time I cut out bread from my diet and reduced my carbohydrate intake to about 200 grams. I had been a carb queen my entire life. This was drastic and I experienced carb withdrawals for two weeks. Slowly the yeast started to release their hold on my body and I was relieved from yet another symptom.

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