The worsening symptoms have really caused me to question whether or not the problem is candida. I have been searching for ways to diagnose Candida and here is what I have found.
Generally, diagnosis comes from symptoms. Several websites / books provide a list of symptoms that candida can cause and suggest that if a person has one or many of these symptoms Candida could be the answer. The most complete list I found was by Lindsey Duncan CN, a nutritionalist and founder of the Home Nutrition Clinc in California. A similar list is given in The Complete Guide to Food Allergy and Intolerance by Jonathan Brostoff and Linda Gamlin. However, I have misplaced my copy so I will need to refer to Lindsey Duncan's list.
Ask yourself the following questions. One or more "yes" answers is a strong indication you have Candidiasis.
1. Have you ever taken cortico-steroid drugs or antibiotics, or been on antibiotics for an extended length of time?
Yes, when I was in my teenage years I took several courses of antibiotics for acne. One period lasted over 2 and 1/2 years. I am convinced this is the reason for my illness. Since becoming ill, I have reluctantly had to take 3 more short courses of antibiotics for infections that could not have been controlled in any other way.
2. Are you currently on birth control pills or ever taken them for a period of two years or more?
3. Have you ever been plagued with vaginal yeast infections, vaginitis, PMS, menstrual pain, endometriosis, prostatitis, or loss of sexual interest?
4. Do you crave sweets, bread or alcoholic beverages?
Yes, I have often craved chocolate and other sweet goodies. Never alcohol though
5. Do you suffer from unexplained aches and pains or headaches?
Yes, I have had various unexplained aches and pains including headaches since my illness started
6. Have you been pregnant more than twice? (Hormonal changes contribute to candidiasis susceptibility.)
7. Are you overly sensitive to chemicals including perfumes, tobacco smoke, paint, insecticides, etc.?
Not that I know of
8. Are you bothered by chronic digestive complaints such as bloating, gas? Do you have constipation or diarrhea?
Yes, I have suffered wind for some time. Chronically over the last few months.
9. Do you find yourself having to deal with problems like athlete's foot, jock itch, nail fungus, ring worm? Do you have bouts with psoriasis, eczema, hives or chronic dermatitis?
Yes, I have had several fungal infections over the period of my illness in various parts of my body including my toes. I have also had dermatitis on my pinky for some time, although this has cleared up significantly since starting this new diet.
10. Are you chronically fatigued? Do you suffer from memory loss ("brain fog"), erratic vision, spots or "floaters" in front of your eyes, nervous tension?
Yes, I have been diagnosed formally with CFS. I have sometimes, since my illness began, suffered from tip-of-the-tongue situations and I have often referred to "brain fog" although this is not a permanent thing. My eyes are often yellow, blood shot and glased. Further, I have (uncharacteristically) been nervous and panicy many times since I became ill.
11. Do you feel depressed or ill for no known reason? Do you feel worse on damp days?
I have had many down days in the last year. However, mostly I remain a very positive person. I'm not sure about damp days that is something to look out for.
12. Do you often have cold hands and feet?
13. Is your tongue coated?
It has been but in the last few days I have noticed that it is less so - good sign?
So I scored high on most of these questions. In addition to taking this test I have taken the "Candida Spit test" that was first recommended to me by Sarah. I have since read about this test in a number of places. Including this site. who recommend the following:
First thing in the morning, before you put ANYTHING in your mouth, fill a clear glass with room temperature Bottled Water.
Work up a bit of saliva, then spit it into the glass of water. Check the water every 15 minutes or so for up to one hour.
If you have a potential problem, you will see strings (like legs) traveling down into the water from the saliva floating on the top, or "cloudy" saliva will sink to the bottom of the glass, or cloudy specks will seem to be suspended in the water.
If there are no strings and the saliva is still floating after at least one hour, you probably have Candida under control, and have nothing to worry about. Congratulations.this one, this is said to occur as a result of the yeast being killed too rapidly which overwhelms the body with yeast cells and their toxins. Any number of nasty symptoms can arise as a result, most frequently a flu-like feeling or worsening of symptoms already present. The solution to this may be to take a lower dose of anti-fungal for a while or take extra fibre or a product like bentonite clay to help carry the toxins out of the body before they are absorbed. My herbalist never mentioned this when he recommended the special diet, nor did the food allergy book, but it is certainly something I will ask him about.
So what do I do in the mean time? I think all that I can do is continue with my diet and perhaps try and increase my fibre intake.