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Reliable Testing for Candida Overgrowth

by Victoria Tyler(more info)

listed in colon health, originally published in issue 220 - February 2015

Candida is a type of yeast that if found in large quantities in the gastrointestinal tract can lead to a combination of symptoms including fatigue, brain fog, bloating constipation, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and wind. 

At present GPs do not routinely provide tests to diagnose a yeast overgrowth. However, several tests are available to both practitioners and patients to help identify the existence of yeast.

Reliable Testing for Candida Overgrowth

Where does Candida Live?

In a healthy person, Candida lives in small amounts in the digestive tract, and in the vaginal tract for women. However if your immune system is weakened because of stress or illness, this normally benign yeast will have the chance to grow and proliferate.  Other factors that may contribute to the growth of Candida include the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, oral contraceptives and foods containing sugar.

What are the signs of Candida Overgrowth?

In women, yeast overgrowth is very common in the vagina; itching, burning, and soreness can occur. Sometimes patches that are grey in appearance can be found as well as a milky discharge. Yeast colonies can quite easily travel from the vagina to the rectum and from the intestines to the vagina. In fact, the yeast can enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body.

  • Intestinal yeast can cause bloating, diarrhea, constipation or cramping. Many patients also describe anal itching and chronic constipation;
  • Heartburn may also be linked to Candida;
  • Other common symptoms include brain fog, memory loss, depression and an inability to concentrate;
  • Taste buds can also change with a salty or metallic taste being reported. Urinary tract infections and cystitis may also be linked to a yeast overgrowth;
  • Other associated conditions of a yeast overgrowth include headaches, lethargy, acne, eczema and hives.

The big problem facing patients with Candida is that the majority of GPs do not believe in the existence of Candida.  Most patients who experience symptoms of a yeast overgrowth are not offered any diagnostic tests or any anti-fungal therapy to help eradicate the yeast.  The exception is for women who may be offered a vaginal swab, but often even these tests are inconclusive.

If patients have digestive problems, they may be given the chance to have tests such as a colonoscopy or endoscopy. If their results are clear they are often given the diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome instead of Candidiasis and told they have to learn to live with it.

The question I am frequently asked is why Medical Practitioners do not test for Candida.  The answer, I suspect lies in the fact that they have not been trained in linking digestive symptoms and brain fog to a yeast overgrowth. Unless a patient is severely immuno-compromised such as AIDS patients, rarely do GPs consider that their digestive problems and fatigue are linked to yeast.

In fairness there is an increasing amount of unreliable information available on the Internet regarding Candida. 

Firstly, nearly every describable symptom is attributed to yeast and a vast number of patients tend to self-diagnose themselves with Candida.

What Tests can be used to see if you truly have a Yeast Overgrowth?

The NHS does not offer any routine tests to diagnose a yeast overgrowth. However there are three very good tests that can be done privately.  One such test is called Comprehensive Parasitology.

Comprehensive Parasitology

The CP stool test is my preferred test. This test is actually sent to the USA for analysis and will identify yeast, bacteria beneficial flora and parasites.  If yeast is found in the patient’s stool sample, the laboratory will culture the yeast to reveal the exact species of yeast found in the patient’s large intestine. The benefit of this is that the laboratory will also run a susceptibility test that will identify the appropriate treatment in terms of anti-fungals as well as traditional pharmaceuticals such as Nystatin. This is the most targeted test and can help patients immensely.

This test also looks at beneficial flora such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. If you are found to have low levels of both, then it will not be a surprise that you have a yeast overgrowth, as the latter should protect you from the yeast proliferating.

Microbial Organic Acids Test - Urine Test

A urine test named microbial organic acids test, is also an excellent to test for a  yeast. overgrowth. The urine test is extremely sensitive and will most certainly detect the presence of yeast.  It does so by looking at metabolites produced by yeast and bacteria. However, unlike the Comprehensive Parasitology stool test, it cannot indicate the specific type of yeast found or the appropriate anti-fungals needed to eradicate the yeast. The urine test is a very easy to undertake.  All that is required of the patient is to provide their first urine sample of the day.

Candida Blood Tests

There is a Candida antibody blood test that will measure antibodies in your blood to Candida. The antibodies measured are IgG and IgM.  The IgG antibodies will identify a current infection and if the IgM antibodies are elevated this suggests patient’s had a past infection.

Candida Food Intolerance Tests

Another very useful test is a food intolerance blood test that looks at 93 different foods as well as Candida albicans.  This test will identify if the patient has food intolerances as well as identifying Candida Albicans.

Is a Test Really Needed?

In some cases, the symptoms of a yeast overgrowth are so evident that a test is not really needed to confirm a potential yeast over growth.

However, many patients find it helpful to have a test, as it will help them be more compliant to the strict anti-Candida regime.   If a yeast overgrowth is found, strict adherence to an anti-Candida diet, eliminating all sugar and fermented foods will be required.

What happens if I do have Candida?

The good news is that if you are found to have an overgrowth of yeast, you will be able to eradicate it and should feel much better. 

Patients who do have a true-yeast overgrowth will need to follow a strict no sugar, no yeast diet.

Probiotics and anti-fungals such as oregano oil, caprylic acid and grapefruit seed extract may also be helpful and should be taken under supervision of an experienced practitioner.


Crook W. The Yeast Connection. Professional Books. Jackson. Tennessee. ISBN 0-933478-24-0. 1983.

Lorenzani  SS,  Candida A Twenthieth Century Disease. Keats Publishing, Connecticut USA. pp5-83 ISBN 0-87983-375-0 1986.

Murray, M. and Pizzorno, J. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Three Rivers Press NY. ISBN 0-7615-1157-1. 1998.



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About Victoria Tyler

Victoria Tyler BSc Hons MBANT received her BSc Hons in Nutritional Therapy from the University of Westminster in London. 

Victoria’s clinic is based in in central London, where she helps patients with gut disorders including IBS and food intolerances.  Victoria has also worked for major high food retailers including Pret a Manger, helping companies provide healthier foods. She also has worked with corporations, Universities and Nursery Schools. Victoria specializes in gut disorders and may be contacted on Tel: 0345 129 7996; her website is:


BSc HONS Nutritional Therapy, London UK

Professional Memberships
BANT- British Association of Nutritional Therapy
CNHC-Complementary and Natural Health Care Council
CNHC-Complementary and Natural Health Care Council

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