Most often we are born with it, contracting it from our mothers as we pass through the birth canal. The majority of women suffer from some degree of vaginal thrush (monilia) during pregnancy but may not know that they have it if the symptoms are mild, with only a slight vaginal itching now and then. In severe cases symptoms are unmistakable with excruciating itching, discharge and odour.
It has been observed that the female sex hormone progesterone promotes the growth of Candida albicans. Small colonies of the plant can rapidly grow to large colonies when the levels of progesterone in the blood are high. Although the mechanism is not clearly understood, it is believed that progesterone changes the chemistry of the mucous membranes making them exceptionally fertile to the growth of Candida.
As pregnancy is sustained by high levels of progesterone for nine months it is not surprising that existing colonies of Candida in the vagina should increase in size. This is particularly so for women who have been on the contraceptive pill (high in progesterone) for extended periods of time and have lived on a diet high in white flour and sugar. (The pill prevents conception by chemically simulating pregnancy.)
At birth, as the baby’s head passes through the vagina, the pressure of the vaginal walls against its face causes it to scoop up a mouthful of Candida plants with its bottom lip. The Candida in the baby’s mouth is pushed down to the intestine with its first few mouthfuls of milk. If large quantities of Candida are ingested at birth the baby contracts oral thrush. If smaller quantities are ingested oral thrush won’t show, though the baby will usually be colicky and discontented. If it is one of those babies who look unhappy and seems to spend its first twelve months crying and screaming for no diagnosable reason, and if it develops a rash around its anus soon after birth, it is bound to have a Candida infection.
The degree of discomfort a baby (and adult) experiences from Candida infection is determined by the size of the colony in the intestines. Although the colony may be small at birth it will grow as time goes by if the diet is too high in sugar and white flour. The formulas that many babies are put on in lieu of mother’s milk are high in sugar content and are major culprits in instigating the growth from a small Candida colony into a troublesome large colony.
A huge Candida colony can grow on the walls of the digestive tract all the way from the rectum to the mouth. It can be recognised in the mouth as a white coating on the tongue, and in the back of and on the walls of the mouth. Under high magnification this white coating can be seen to be made up of lots of little mushroom-like plants. Huge Candida colonies not only mean large quantities of acetaldehyde in the blood, they can also mean a bad breath problem that no mouth wash can cure.