Yeast or candida overgrowth can be a big problem for kids with autism. In fact, it can contribute to some of the challenging behaviors often associated with ASD.
In part one of my three-part video series on How Yeast Overgrowth Affects Children with Autism, I’m discussing the signs and symptoms of a yeast imbalance.
How a Healthy Digestive System Works
If we want to understand how yeast or candida overgrowth affects our children, we first need to understand how a healthy digestive system works.
A Balanced Gut is a Healthy Gut
We all have hundreds of bacteria and fungi in our intestines. Most of these bacteria and fungi are found in the gut, which is your large intestines or bowels. In a normal, healthy digestive system, you’ll find a lesser amount of bacteria in the small intestines. In a healthy gut, these bacteria and fungi are balanced in comparison to one another.
Your Digestive System Has Many Jobs
Your digestive system is responsible for more than breaking down and absorbing food and nutrients.
The digestive system is also responsible for:
- Neurotransmitter production: This includes the production of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Having the correct amount of these neurotransmitters can affect mood, cognition, brain function, sleep, and other behaviors.
- Immune function
- Regulating inflammation
- The health of the intestinal tissue: This affects things like infection and inflammation in the gut and the body.
- Keeping bacteria and food particles out of the blood: If the gut lining is not intact food particles can cross into the blood and can cause food sensitivities.
- Producing certain vitamins: Your gut is responsible for producing vitamin K2 and certain B vitamins. If your gut bacteria is imbalanced you may have a vitamin deficiency.
- Appetite and blood sugar control
- Preventing certain diseases: Your gut is responsible for preventing diseases like type 2 diabetes.
Yeast is an Opportunist
It’s normal to have small amounts of yeast in your gut. Yeast only becomes a problem when there is an imbalance. Things like antibiotics, steroids, and birth control pills can cause a disruption to your gut’s balance. When the good bacteria in your gut are low the yeast, and other bacteria, have an opportunity to overgrow. This is why yeast and bacteria are known as opportunists.
In the video How Yeast Overgrowth Affects Children with Autism Part 3: Treatment Options, I’ll discuss ways to correct this imbalance.
Signs and Symptoms of Yeast Overgrowth
Yeast overgrowth causes an imbalance in the gut’s microbiome and because the digestive system is responsible for so many things (remember our list from earlier?). This imbalance can lead to a variety of symptoms.
Yeast overgrowth might be the root cause of many of your child’s symptoms. If we look to correct the yeast imbalance we can get rid of many of the symptoms the yeast overgrowth is causing.
Signs of Yeast Overgrowth
Signs are the things you can actually see, and they include:
- A white coating on the tongue, the roof of the mouth, or the insides of cheeks that you can’t scrape away
- Frequent diaper rashes
- Jock itch, vaginal yeast infections, and fungal nail infections
Symptoms of Yeast Overgrowth
Symptoms of a yeast overgrowth include:
- Nasal congestion
- Wheezing or coughing
- Cold hands or feet, feeling chilly
- Body odor not relieved by washing
- Mucus in stools
- Laryngitis (loss of voice)
If your child has a few symptoms in combination with a sign that’s mentioned here, it’s likely they have yeast overgrowth. However, these symptoms, by themselves, do not always point to yeast overgrowth.
Complete This Questionnaire to See If Your Child Might Have Yeast OvergrowthTake the Quiz
Complete the Institute for Functional Medicine’s (IFM) Yeast Screening Questionnaire, then check out Part 2 and and Part 3 of my Yeast Overgrowth in Children with Autism video series.
Be gentle with yourself. You’re doing a great job.
I hope this information has been helpful to you as part of creating Your Autism Game Plan.
Do you have a topic you’d like to learn more about? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org