Candida in stool: Causes, diagnosis and how to treat it?

Candida in Stool
Medically reviewed by Dr. Mandy Liedeman

Key Takeaways

  • Candida overgrowth can result from factors like antibiotics, processed foods, and stress. Western lifestyles often lead to imbalanced microbiomes, reducing microbial diversity and promoting opportunistic species like Candida.
  • Factors like antibiotics and hormonal changes from oral contraceptives can contribute to Candida overgrowth.
  • Candida overgrowth is diagnosed through clinical assessment, medical history, and laboratory tests like stool or blood tests.
  • Treatment may involve antifungal medications, probiotics, dietary changes, and addressing underlying factors like hormonal imbalances.

Overview

Candida, a type of yeast residing in the gut, is part of the complex microbiome comprising various microbes like bacteria and viruses. In an ideal scenario, these microorganisms coexist harmoniously, contributing to a balanced ecosystem that promotes overall health. Species of Candida are found in the gastrointestinal tract’s natural microbiome. The isolation of Candida species from stool cultures does not indicate an infection and does not require medical attention.

However, processed foods, stress, and environmental toxins have created imbalanced microbiomes where an overgrowth of candida in the GI tract may be the cause of concern. As we break down the essentials of understanding and addressing these digestive concerns, there may be subtle signs of candida overgrowth your body may send to warn you of the fungal gut infection.

This blog explains the causes of candida parasite and mucus in stool and why it happens to return. Know effective strategies to prevent the recurrence of Candida through a comprehensive approach, including home remedies, over-the-counter medications, and prescription drugs. 

What does candida look like in stool?

Generally speaking, a Candida albicans overgrowth in the gut does not appear as plainly observable structures in the stool. Fungi, such as Candida, are microscopic organisms, unlike certain parasites. As a result, it is impossible to see them by eye alone.

On the other hand, some people with Candida overgrowth may have symptoms like changes in stool consistency, color, or odor that could be connected to gastrointestinal problems. White, yellow, or brown mucus, string-like substances, froth, or foam in your stool may suggest candida in gut. Still, these indicators could also originate from an irritated gut, imbalanced microbiome, or food intolerances. Differentiating the root cause is crucial for accurate diagnosis and targeted intervention. These alterations are not unique to Candida; they can also be a sign of other intestinal issues.

Candida isn’t just an infection; it’s an opportunistic organism thriving in an altered gut microbiome. Referred to as a pathobiont, it remains harmless at normal levels but poses a threat when the gut environment becomes conducive to its harmful effects.

Medical mycologist Shawn Lockhart, PhD, says 

 Candida auris “is a very clever bug.”

What are the causes of candida parasites?

Antibiotic use

Fungal growth can result from the use of antibiotics, particularly broad-spectrum antibiotics. This is because some beneficial bacteria that prevent yeast from outgrowing control by competing with it for food and space can be killed by antibiotics. Once you discontinue antibiotics, your immune system will return to normal. However, you may notice Candida symptoms while taking the medication.

Oral contraceptives

Oral contraceptives, also named birth control tablets, include synthetic chemicals called progestin and estrogen that regulate the menstrual cycle and inhibit conception. Although oral contraceptives are generally safe and effective, they may have an adverse effect on hormonal balance and specific physiological characteristics that may increase the risk of Candida overgrowth.

Weakened immune system

If your immune system is weakened, Candida may begin to spread uncontrollably. This is because a healthy immune system will suppress naturally existing fungus. When someone has diarrhea and is HIV positive or in stage 3 of HIV (AIDS), Candida is frequently detected.

Diabetes

Elevated blood sugar levels characterize diabetes. High glucose levels in the bloodstream can provide an abundant food source for Candida. Yeast, including Candida, thrives on sugar, and an excess of glucose can create conditions favorable for Candida’s overgrowth in various body parts.

Proton pump inhibitor use

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are frequently recommended to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and peptic ulcers by decreasing the production of stomach acid. Although PPIs are essential for treating some gastrointestinal problems, using them has been linked to a higher risk of Candida overgrowth. 

Inflammation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract

Your GI tract may become inflamed as a result of various types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. It has been demonstrated that inflammation alters the environment inside the intestines and raises the concentration of Candida there.

Smoking

Smoking raises the possibility of a Candida overgrowth, particularly when it manifests as oral thrush. According to a study published in 2006 (Trusted Source), 58% of smokers and 29% of nonsmokers, respectively, had Candida in their feces. Other health advantages exist of quitting smoking, such as lowering the chance of Candida overgrowth. 

Stress

Chronic stress can shake the immune system and create an environment in the body that is conducive to the overgrowth of Candida.

Other Factors

Other risk factors for Candida overgrowth include the use of:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Excessive alcohol
  • Herb medication

How to diagnose candida parasites?

Candida overgrowth is typically diagnosed through clinical assessment, medical history, and laboratory tests. While Candida is not a parasite but a type of yeast, the term “parasite” is sometimes colloquially used to describe it. Here are some standard methods used to diagnose Candida overgrowth:

Medical history and symptoms

Medical professionals frequently start by obtaining a thorough medical history that includes information on symptoms. Candida overgrowth frequently manifests as persistent yeast infections, stomach troubles, exhaustion, and skin disorders. Understanding the context of the symptoms is aided by having a detailed conversation with the healthcare professional.

Physical examination

A physical test may be conducted to assess visible signs of Candida overgrowth on other body parts, such as skin rashes, oral thrush, or vaginal infections.

Laboratory tests

  • Stool Tests
    • Stool tests can detect the presence of Candida in the gastrointestinal tract. These tests can also provide information about the overall balance of the gut microbiota.
  • Blood Tests
    •  Blood tests may be planned to measure specific antibodies or antigens associated with Candida overgrowth. Elevated levels may indicate an immune response to the presence of Candida.

Candida antibody panel

A blood test, known as a Candida antibody panel, can measure levels of IgG, IgA, and IgM antibodies against Candida. Elevated levels of antibodies may suggest an immune response to Candida overgrowth.

Cultures and swabs for other body areas

  • Vaginal Swab
    • If a vaginal yeast infection is suspected, a swab from the afflicted area can be used to confirm that Candida is present.
  • Oral Swab
    • A swab of the affected area may be taken for microscopic examination for oral thrush.
Order the Candida stool test if you are experiencing symptoms of persistent mucous in stools.

How do you test for candida in your stomach?

Research has demonstrated that candida can proliferate uncontrollably throughout your entire digestive system, from your mouth to your anus. There are no publicly accessible tests that can identify candida in the stomach specifically. Although it’s not a frequent procedure, a gastroenterologist can take a biopsy of the tissue in your abdomen and test it for candida.

A stool test is the most effective method to check for candida overgrowth in the large intestine. Still, it does not indicate the amount of candida in your small intestine or other parts of your digestive system.

How to treat candida in stool?

These may include home remedies, over-the-counter (OTC) remedies and prescription drugs. Explaining each in detail as follows

Home remedies to treat candida in stool

Hydration:

Adequate water intake is crucial to support detoxification processes within the body. Proper hydration assists in flushing toxins from the system, eliminating Candida and promoting digestive health. Consuming optimal amounts of water throughout the day is recommended, ensuring hydration levels that efficiently remove waste products associated with Candida overgrowth. The exact amount varies depending on individual factors such as weight, age and physical activity levels.

Alkalizing agents:

Including alkaline-rich foods in the diet helps create an environment less conducive to Candida growth. Green vegetables, like spinach and kale, are excellent choices as they contribute to an alkaline pH within the body. 

Apple cider vinegar (ACV):

Diluting ACV in water and consuming it before meals is a practice believed to harness its antifungal properties. ACV contains acetic acid, which may help combat Candida overgrowth. Individuals should use ACV cautiously and be attentive to individual tolerance levels. Starting with a small quantity and monitoring for any adverse reactions is advised. 

Coconut oil:

The natural antifungal substance caprylic acid, which is effective against Candida, is abundant in coconut oil. Coconut oil may help inhibit Candida’s growth when used in cooking or consumed raw. To prevent consuming too many calories, it is imperative to adhere to daily guidelines. For best effects, it is advised to include coconut oil in a balanced diet rather than as the only item on your plate.

Olive leaf extract:

Olive leaf extract is recognized for its antimicrobial properties, including potential antifungal effects against Candida. Considering this supplement can be beneficial in a comprehensive approach to combatting Candida overgrowth. 

When integrated into a holistic treatment plan, these lifestyle and dietary measures contribute to a multifaceted approach to addressing Candida in the stool. It is advisable to approach such interventions with a personalized strategy under healthcare professionals’ guidance.

Dietary modifications:

Following a low-sugar, low-carb diet is essential to deprive Candida of its primary energy source. Limiting the consumption of sugars and processed carbs makes the fungus’s environment unfriendly.

Emphasis on antifungal foods such as garlic, coconut oil, and oregano provides additional support. These foods possess natural properties that can help combat Candida overgrowth while contributing to overall digestive health.

Over-the-counter remedies to treat candida in stool

Probiotics:

High-potency probiotics containing specific strains like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are crucial in treating Candida in stool. These beneficial bacteria contribute to the restoration of a balanced microbiome.

The inclusion of probiotics aids in gut flora restoration, creating an environment less favorable for Candida proliferation. Regular use of probiotic supplements supports ongoing microbial balance within the gastrointestinal tract.

Herbal Supplements:

Herbal remedies like grapefruit seed extract, caprylic acid, and berberine have demonstrated antifungal properties. These supplements can be instrumental in reducing Candida levels in the stool.

A prudent approach involves rotating herbal supplements to prevent the development of resistance. This strategy maximizes the efficacy of each herbal remedy throughout treatment.

Enzyme Supplements:

Digestive enzymes containing cellulase and hemicellulase break down Candida’s cell walls. This enzymatic action helps weaken the fungus’s structure, enhancing the treatment’s effectiveness.

Integrating enzyme supplements into the treatment plan supports eliminating Candida from the gastrointestinal tract, promoting more comprehensive and efficient treatment outcomes.

Prescription drugs for candida in stool

Antifungal Medications:

Prescription antifungal drugs such as fluconazole or itraconazole are commonly employed to combat Candida overgrowth in the stool—these drugs prevent the fungus from increasing and growing. Following a healthcare provider’s instructions regarding the recommended dosage and time is crucial. Changing the prescribed course of action could impair the treatment’s efficacy and hasten the emergence of antifungal resistance.

Ready to address Candida in your stool? Consult our expert doctors for a personalized treatment plan for optimal gut health.

How to prevent candida parasites?

There are certain things you can do to assist in maintaining the health of your intestines, even when underlying diseases or genetics can contribute to an unhealthy gut. Among them are:

Use antibiotics only when required 

Antibiotics can lower the amount of beneficial bacteria in your stomach and eliminate the illness-causing agent. This may facilitate Candida’s growth. Antibiotics are sometimes required, but be sure you only take them when essential.

Consume foods that have undergone fermentation

Foods that have undergone fermentation, such as yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut, are products of bacteria or yeasts. As a result, they are rich in microorganisms that can support intestinal health.

Consume foods high in probiotics

Foods high in probiotics help your gut’s beneficial bacteria grow. The most excellent foods to get prebiotics are those high in fibre or complex carbohydrates. They consist of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Consume a balanced diet

Your stomach will stay healthy if you eat a diet rich in whole grains and high-fibre foods like apples and beans. Another strategy to maintain the health of your intestinal environment is to diversify the bacteria that live in your stomach. Using a wide range of nutritious foods will help you do this.

Consume probiotics

Supplements containing living microorganisms, typically bacteria, are known as probiotics. While the evidence supporting them is conflicting, several studies indicate that probiotics may contribute to the homeostasis of gut flora. Consult your physician about incorporating a probiotic into your everyday regimen.

When should I see a doctor?

It’s crucial to remember that increasing or new symptoms do not always signify a die-off of Candida. The source of these symptoms may only be accurately determined by a physician or other healthcare professional.

A person has to visit a physician if:

  • Symptoms of Candida worsen following therapy.
  • The symptoms of candida do not improve after a few days of treatment.
  • The symptoms of a Candida die-off either do not go away in a few days or worsen.

Sometimes, the symptoms of a Candida die-off can be mistaken for those of a more severe illness, such as a potentially fatal allergic reaction.

A person requires emergency medical care if they:

  • Breathing difficulties after receiving treatment for Candida.
  • Get a widespread rash.
  • Have weakened immune function (perhaps from chemotherapy or HIV) and have chills, a high fever, or enlarged lymph nodes.

FAQs about Candida parasite in stool

What color is Candida mucus?

The appearance of Candida mucus is dependent on various circumstances, including underlying infections or illnesses, and is not color-specific. White, creamy, or yellowish discharge may result in Candida overgrowth in affected areas. However, a clinical evaluation and laboratory testing are necessary to diagnose Candida correctly; mucus colour alone is not a reliable sign of the disease.

What are the stages of Candida?

The three biological phases of Candida albicans (C. albicans) are yeast, pseudohyphae, and hyphae. Hyphae are a significant stage of the illness that can damage tissue by infiltrating mucosal epithelial cells and subsequently cause blood infection.

Is Coffee bad for candida?

Regretfully, coffee can be harmful to persons with Candida Overgrowth for a variety of reasons. Limiting caffeine use is a brilliant idea for many people following a Candida diet. However, depending on the severity of the situation, giving up caffeine may only sometimes be necessary.

Can Candida affect your eyes?

Yes, ocular candidiasis—a condition where Candida affects the eyes—may result. This happens when Candida species infect the tissues of the eyes. Redness, irritation, blurred vision, and eye discharge are possible symptoms. Ocular candidiasis can affect otherwise healthy people, but it is more common in those with compromised immune systems.

Is apple cider vinegar good for candida?

While some believe apple cider vinegar (ACV) has antifungal properties that may help with Candida, scientific evidence is limited. ACV’s acidic nature may create a sterile environment, but it should be diluted to prevent irritation. Using ACV is often part of a broader approach, including dietary changes and probiotics. 

What vitamins help with candida?

Certain vitamins can help control Candida overgrowth and boost immune system performance. Both immune system stimulation and antifungal effects are provided by vitamin C. B vitamins help with stress control, which is important because stress can affect Candida. In contrast, vitamin D plays a part in immunological regulation. In addition to being necessary for immune system function, zinc may help control Candida symptoms.

What does Candida poo look like?

Candida yeast in stool can cause white, yellow, or brown mucus and loose stools. These are non-specific symptoms and may be signs of any other gastrointestinal issue. 

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

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  • Levine, Jimmy, Richard K. Dykoski, and Edward N. Janoff. “Candida-associated diarrhea: a syndrome in search of credibility.” Clinical infectious diseases 21.4 (1995): 881-886.
  • Park, Nine Dunwoody. “Comprehensive Stool Analysis/Parasitology x3.”
  • Lesmana, Laurentius A., et al. “Microorganisms and parasites in chronic infective diarrhea.” Acta Medica Indonesiana/Journal of Internal Medicine 36 (2004): 211-214.

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