Candida Issues and…Colon Hydrotherapy?
Brace yourself; this is not a post for the faint of heart, or the easily squeamish.
I am fully aware that the majority of my visitors are here for the recipes, but occasionally I like to branch away from food to focus on other aspects of living a healthy lifestyle. While I personally believe that food plays a major role, if not the most important role in our overall health, healing and well-being, sometimes food just isn’t enough to fix what’s happening within.
While this post may be considered TMI for more than a few of you, today I am going to chronicle my personal experience with candida overgrowth and colon hydrotherapy. Yes, you heard me right, colon hydrotherapy.
Before you run for the hills, hear me out. This is not me advising you to try colon hydrotherapy, nor is it me suggesting you shouldn’t. This post is simply my experience with candida overgrowth and colon hydrotherapy, covering everything from what it is, why I did it and my experience overall.
Before I get into the nitty-gritty of it all, let me start with why I decided to give colon hydrotherapy a try.
At the beginning of October 2013, I was hastily put on an antibiotic for what I believed to be a simple urinary tract infection. After having inguinal hernia surgery just a few months prior, everything seemed to be out of whack when it came to my body, and having had experienced a UTI in the past, the symptoms were pretty recognizable, or so I had thought.
The antibiotic I was put on had worked well for me in the past, so when I hadn’t experienced any relief after taking the full prescription, I headed back into my doctors office with an elevated sense of worry.
Several negative tests later, I was sent on my way with no more than a shrug and another prescription for stronger antibiotics. While I was consciously apprehensive about taking another round of antibiotics, let alone stronger antibiotics, I was in so much pain that I didn’t even hesitate to start round two. For two solid weeks, I religiously took my two pills a day, only to discover that I was still experiencing pain.
Frustrated, angry and desperately seeking relief, I asked my doctor for a referral to an urologist to get to the bottom of what was going on. Thankfully, I was able to get in rather quickly, but was once again told that all tests came back negative, and I was essentially experiencing pain without cause.
Never before have I felt so defeated. How can there be nothing wrong when I am clearly able to feel it? In a certain sense, I was furious with my body for not producing at least a verifiable cause. I felt as if I were a crazy person, swearing up and down that something was there that no one else could see.
At this point, the doctors and myself were basically taking a stab in the dark as to what could be causing this relentless discomfort. Medically, it just didn’t make sense, but after answering a series of question and undergoing an ultrasound, the urologist came to the conclusion that I was probably experiencing something known as urethritis, but couldn’t identify a real cause as to why. Unfortunately for me, the treatment for urethritis is – you guessed it – antibiotics. While there were no guarantee’s that this course of antibiotics would be the end of the road, I felt somewhat hopeful as this ceaseless pain now had an identity. Just as I had done the 4 weeks before, I filled my prescription and did as I was told.
About 3 days in, something miraculous happened. The pain I was experiencing was starting to disappear. Truthfully, I had become so jaded at this point that I contained my excitement, knowing that it seemed too good to be true, and sure enough, it was. After completing my 2-week course of antibiotics, I returned to the urologist in no better shape than I had been in before. She told me that since I did have some relief while on the antibiotics, the best next step would be to put me on a lower dose for an extended period of time, which ended up being around 2 months overall.
In total, I had been on some form of antibiotic for 3.5 months, which is absolutely insane. Would the pain probably have gone away on its’ own in time? Sure. Would I have taken antibiotics for that long had I known that it would basically take the same amount of time to clear up on its’ own? Never.
Once I came off the antibiotics, the real problems began. While I was no longer in pain, I had virtually destroyed every bit of good bacteria my body had to offer. Within two weeks of stopping the antibiotics, I gained an astonishing 7 pounds with no changes to my diet or workout routine. My body doesn’t fluctuate more than 1 or 2 lbs. – ever – so to gain so much, virtually overnight, was absolutely mind-boggling. Shortly after, I started to experience a lot of hair loss. As a woman preparing for her upcoming wedding, gaining weight and losing hair was distressing to say the least.
In a desperate bid to get back on track, I worked out harder than I ever had and ate as clean as I possibly could, but regardless of my efforts, I couldn’t budge the scale. At this point, my wedding was only 4 months out, and I was beginning to freak out about my dress fitting. It wasn’t so much just the number on the scale causing me anxiety, but the stress of everything I was already experiencing really seemed to magnify the situation. I had started a strict regimen of probiotics, which helped with the losing hair issue, but the weight wasn’t moving no matter what I did. Having never had a struggle with losing weight in the past, I was truly at a loss. I had done everything I could with nothing to show for it, so I made an appointment with my doctor to run some blood work, convinced it was my thyroid or something else internal. I want to say I was relieved when my blood work came back clear, but I selfishly felt a little upset that there wasn’t an underlying cause I could blame it on. In my mind at the time, I felt like it would have been easier to hear that it was my thyroid, because then, at the very least, these radical changes could be explained. I know that sounds ridiculous, and believe me, I am so grateful to have my health, but in the frame of mind I was in at the time, I just wanted something to make sense, and so far, nothing did.
Fed up of being told that everything I was experiencing was “probably nothing,” I took matters into my own hands and began tirelessly looking for others dealing with similar situations. Late one night as I mindlessly searched my symptoms, I came across an article on candida, discussing the effects that an overgrowth of candida, or bad bacteria, can have on your system. If you’re not familiar with candida, this definition from mindbodygreen.com sums it up quite well:
Candida is a fungus, which is a form of yeast, and a very small amount of it lives in your mouth and intestines. Its job is to aid with digestion and nutrient absorption but, when overproduced, candida breaks down the wall of the intestine and penetrates the bloodstream, releasing toxic byproducts into your body and causing leaky gut. This can lead to many different health problems, ranging from digestive issues to depression. The healthy bacteria in your gut typically keep your candida levels in check. However, several factors can cause the candida population to get out of hand:
Eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar
Consuming a lot of alcohol
Taking oral contraceptives
Eating a diet high in beneficial fermented foods
Living a high-stress lifestyle
Taking a round of antibiotics that killed too many of those friendly bacteria
The last 4 bullet points were all points that I related to, so I began to dig deeper on candida and how to go about treating it without the use of an anti-fungal prescription.
I started with my diet. While I was eating incredibly healthy, I was consuming a lot of fruit, which only exacerbated the issue. Outside of fruit, I was consuming a lot of starchy vegetables and legumes, such as sweet potatoes, butternut squash and beans of all varieties. Like fruit, these foods were only making the problem worse, so it was time to give them a rest until my body could heal itself.
In all honesty, cutting out sugar and starchy vegetables was hard. You never understand the power that sugars, even natural sugars, have on you until you give them up completely. That first week I felt tired, moody, weak and almost like I had a touch of the flu, but these physical symptoms are pretty common when someone with a candida issue gives up the very things that are keeping the candida alive. It is commonly referred to as ‘die-off,’ and that is a pretty accurate description of what you feel like.
Within merely a week and a half of this diet change alone, I noticed that my pants were fitting a little looser than they had in a while, and the scale seemed to confirm what I was seeing. Just like that, I had lost 2 lbs. After months of struggle, I finally, FINALLY discovered the problem, and was bouncing off the walls with excitement and joy. I can’t explain how elated I was to not only know what was going on, but to actually have a solution to fix it that wasn’t going to hurt my body more than it had already been. While the diet was effective, the weight loss came to a halt rather quickly. I started to feel the bloated, uncomfortable fullness I had before I changed my diet, and knew that it was time to get this problem fully under control. The great thing about candida overgrowth is that it is curable, but the problem is that it can take some time to do so. For some people, it can take years to get a candida issue under control, and with a wedding right around the corner, I knew I had to find a way to move the process along quickly in order to feel my best.
Enter colon hydrotherapy….
Few things strike fear onto people’s face like mentioning the word ‘colon.’ Our colon plays such an integral part in our health, yet is almost too taboo to discuss. Why that is, I’ll never know, but I guess I am a pretty open book with very little filter.
In the case of resolving candida overgrowth, colon hydrotherapy was the most effective thing I could have done. My only regret was not doing it sooner, because within three sessions, I was back to my normal weight, and able to maintain it without any irregular fluctuations.
When I first mentioned that I was going to try colon hydrotherapy to my friends and family, their eyebrows raised with concern and questions flooded their mouths.
“Isn’t that dangerous to do?”
“How does it feel?”
“Is it painful?”
“Is it embarrassing?”
“Can you smell/see/hear anything?”
The list of questions goes on, but let me start off with a general explanation.
Colon hydrotherapy is a safe, gentle infusion of water into the colon via the rectum. No chemicals or drugs are involved, and the entire process is both relaxing and effective. During treatment, the client lies on a custom treatment table in complete comfort, covered from the waist down. A small, disposable speculum that is attached to the hydrotherapy unit is gently inserted into the rectum, and through this hose, warm filtered water passes into the colon.
The treatment center I visit uses an FDA Registered colon hydrotherapy unit that employs multi-stage water purification, and uses individual, disposable speculums and hoses. This eliminates any possible contamination to the client. This is a closed system, meaning that waste is discretely transported into the drain line without any odor and without compromising the dignity of the client. After each therapy session, the unit is thoroughly cleansed and disinfected in preparation for future use.
The therapist will do several fills and releases of water, as well as light bodywork techniques and breathing instruction.
During the therapy, water temperature and pressure will be monitored and can be varied to stimulate peristalsis (muscular contraction) in the colon. This is very important to help the atonic (sluggish) colon. When performed in the manner described above, colon hydrotherapy is not addictive and is very safe. It encourages the restoration of the colon’s natural function by strengthening peristalsis.
Each colon hydrotherapy session lasts approximately 45 minutes. Initially, a series of at least three separate therapy sessions is usually recommended to achieve the maximum cleansing benefit. This helps to eliminate fecal matter, which may have been lodged in the colon for weeks, months, or even years, and to keep the client properly hydrated.
With colon hydrotherapy, the entire large intestine is cleansed, and the therapeutic benefits are much greater than those achieved with an enema. Over-the-counter suppositories stimulate expulsion of the contents of the rectum, but contribute to dehydration thanks to chemical additives, which can actually exacerbate a constipated condition.
Just one colon hydrotherapy session may be equivalent to having many regular bowel movements. Eliminations during subsequent therapy sessions can be even more substantial as older, hardened, impacted feces are dislodged from the colon walls.
Now, if you’re still reading and not completely grossed out, you may still be wondering why I chose to do colon hydrotherapy to fix a candida issue affecting my digestive system. Well, the simple answer is that I wanted the quickest fix possible, and candida is eliminated through our waste (hence why it takes so long to treat with diet alone). When combined with the proper diet and continued use of anti-fungal supplements (which I’ll list below), I was able to get back the body I had in a matter of weeks, and actually maintain it. Aside from the physical benefits, my headaches, itchy skin and constant state of grogginess completely disappeared. I went from having hardly any energy at all to feeling as if I could take on the world,
Clearly, candida overgrowth is not a quick fix issue, and it takes a lot of proper planning and supplementation to get it under control, but in my opinion, colon hydrotherapy made the process so much more efficient than it would be to treat it with diet alone.
Please know that this is simply my experience with candida and colon hydrotherapy. The combination of diet, proper supplements and colon hydrotherapy was extremely effective in eliminating most of my candida issues, which is why I have decided to share this information with you. If you choose to give colon hydrotherapy a try, please be sure to do your research on finding a reputable place. Not all treatment centers are created equal, so it is possible for your session to be completely different from the experience I described above. Some centers choose to use an ‘open system’ rather than the ‘closed system’ I mentioned, which is much different, so be sure to ask questions before scheduling an appointment.
Again, this post is simply a ‘for your information’ type post. When I was struggling with serious candida overgrowth issues, I scoured the internet in an attempt to find someone going through something similar, and any possible solutions they had. While this may not be a subject for everyone, my hope is that it can shed light on a natural alternative, and provide possible relief to those experiencing similar issues. Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments below, or if you feel more comfortable asking privately, feel free to email me by clicking the email button at the top of the left hand column.
Supplements I use on a daily basis for candida overgrowth control:
Coconut oil – 4 capsules a day
Garlic – 3 capsules a day
Probiotics – 1 capsule a day
For the first 2 weeks after my first colon hydrotherapy session:
Wormwood – morning and night