Steps to Prevent Recurrence of CRC

by S. Colet Lahoz (excerpts from Conquering Yeast Infections – Chronic Illness and the Candida Connection)

Certain steps must be taken by the recovering Candida Related Complex (CRC) patient. If these steps are not followed, CRC will return. These steps include continued attention to diet (see the Whole Approach Diet Pages for printable food lists and info) as well as the avoidance of antibiotics, oral contraceptives, stress, and harmful chemicals. Keeping the colon clean, maintaining a positive attitude, and regular exercise will also help in recovery. It is important that the recovering CRC patient also understand and expect retracing (when old symptoms are reactivated and resolved during the healing process).

In fact, the former CRC patient must avoid whatever it was that initially caused him or her to fall victim to this illness in the first place and should take specific steps which can hasten the healing process.

Prescription Drugs vs. Natural Medicine

Since a history of repeated use of antibiotics, corticosteroids, and/or immunosuppressant drugs is one of the main causes of CRC, preventing a return of CRC means avoiding these drugs.

There is a difference between natural and synthetic (prescription) medications. Synthesis means the formation of complex substances out of a combination of simple substances. In making synthetic drugs, the pharmaceutical companies extract active principles from plants; these ingredients are more powerful, but because they do not contain the whole plant, they lack the natural safeguards present in the original plant.

There are a number of natural medicines that can be used as an alternative to prescription drugs. A high priority is Echinacea, writes Andrew Weil, MD in Natural Health, Natural Medicine. He states that Echinacea is a natural antibiotic, antiviral, and antibacterial and an immune-system enhancer. It comes in tinctures, capsules, tablets, and extracts. Echinacea causes a numbing sensation when held in the mouth for a few minutes. Dr. Weil suggests using this simple test in order to insure that the intended Echinacea is an effective product. This product loses its effectiveness upon continuous use. To avoid this, use it for 7 to 10 days at a time and use alternative types of herbs if needed.

Another natural product to use in place of prescription drugs is goldenseal. This is also available in many forms. Goldenseal tones the digestive system and has a reputation, says Dr. Weil, as blood purifier. “I sometimes recommend it (goldenseal),” he says, “to people who are debilitated, have weak digestive systems, or are susceptible to recurrent infections.” Dr. Weil also suggests using goldenseal topically for wound healing, as a disinfectant, and for scab promotion.

A Clean Colon

Diverticulum is a sac arising from the colon wall. The presence of many small sacs or pouches projecting outward from the wall of the colon is called diverticulosis. Diverticulitis is an inflammation of a diverticulum of the bowel. Lack of fiber or roughage in the diet is believed to cause this condition. Many CRC patients and survivors have diverticulosis. Of special interest to the CRC survivor is the fact that Candida albicans live and multiply in the undigested food lodged in these sacs. So it is of paramount importance that these sacs be cleaned out and stay clean. If the breeding ground for Candida albicans is destroyed, then symptoms of CRC will disappear.

It takes a great deal of time to accomplish this cleansing task – often many months. Fiber in the diet will accomplish this task. Fiber is the portion of food that passes through the intestinal tract without being absorbed. Fibers come in seven categories; state James and Phyllis Balch in Prescription for Nutritional Healing: pectin, bran, cellulose, hemicelluloses, lignin, gums, and mucilages. Pectin, cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin are found in certain vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and Brazil nuts. Bran from rice and oats is the broken coating of the seed or cereal grain. Gums and mucilages are found in oatmeal, dried beans, and seeds. Psyllium seeds and husks fall in this category. It is clear then that CRC survivors are urged to eat lots of high fiber foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fresh nuts and seeds (stored nuts and seeds can become moldy).

Stress

People react to stress in an individual manner. When the level of stress reaches a certain intensity, it can begin to damage the immune system. A damaged immune system cannot fight off an attempted return of CRC. This level can vary from individual to individual. When damage occurs, the stress causes an excessive increase in the output of the adrenal gland hormones, write Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno in an Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. The damage occurs when these excessive hormones inhibit white blood cells (which fight infection) and cause the thymus (part of the immune system) to shrink, thus leading to a weakened immune system.

There are five ways to control stress, writes Keith Sehnert, MD, author of Selfcare/Wellcare:

• Change work/social environment
• Understand emotions
• Learn ways to relieve stress
• Take care of the body
• Provide for spiritual needs

Knowing how stress adversely affects the immune system and taking positive steps to control stress will help this system to function at top efficiency and ward off a return of CRC.

Attitude

Attitude influences behavior; behavior influences health. A positive attitude influences behavior positively. A negative attitude influences behavior negatively. Changing from negative to positive can be accomplished by thinking positive thoughts and refusing to dwell on the negative. The more often one dwells on the positive, the more able one is to feel positive. This sounds ridiculous, but positive thinking is actually part of the healing process. When negative thoughts crowd the mind, these should be refused. Instead, the recovering CRC patient is urged to search until one positive thought, no matter how insignificant, appears and dwell on that thought. Gradually, more positive thoughts will emerge. This is the healing process from negative to positive – sadness to cheerfulness.
Along with a deliberate mental intention to choose positive thoughts, it is important to support the physical body with remedial nutritional supplements. A negative mental state is a condition that can result from nutritional deficiency. In fact, changes in mood are often the first sign of a nutritional deficiency. These mood changes include depression, memory loss, anxiety and irritability. The CRC recoverers need to monitor their nutrition habits and, if necessary, take nutritional supplements to help ward off the return of CRC.

Oral Contraceptives

There are several reasons why oral contraceptives should be avoided as a form of birth control. Ross Trattler, MD, in his book Better Health Through Natural Healing, shares his insights on this matter. The most detrimental side effect of the pill, he states is that it “provides the ideal environment for vaginal (yeast) infection.”

John Towbridge, MD in his book, The Yeast Syndrome, elaborates on this point:
 
The attachment of steroids in birth control pills to receptor sites on C. albicans might “feed” yeast a desired molecule. Thus, oral contraceptives probably promote Candida colony growth though a direct and unavoidable mechanism . . . A woman swallowing her daily hormone-containing birth control pill might therefore be helping to meet the metabolic needs of Candida albicans. Her own cells are absorbing the progesterone from the pill. In penetrating human cells while searching for nutrients, the fungus is likely also to be stimulated by the steroids found within – resulting in more vigorous symptoms for the yeast syndrome.

 
Intake of the oral contraceptive pill provides nutrition for the fungi, allowing them to flourish. The steroids in human cells also stimulate the fungi.
 
Oral contraceptive pills can cause fluid retention, depletes many of the B complex vitamins, especially B6, interferes with carbohydrate metabolism, doubles the user’s chances of gallstones, and causes Vitamin E deficiency. Furthermore, Dr. Trattler states that oral contraceptives upset the entire hormonal balance. After discontinuing their use, many women “fail to regain normal menstrual flow for varying periods of months to several years.”

Environment
Substances in the environment will affect the progress of CRC healing. Limiting exposure to reactive materials, such as foreign chemicals and molds, will help quicken and maintain recovery.

William Crook (who himself reacts to printing ink) cites numerous other substances that can trigger reactions: perfumes, insecticides, petrochemicals (automobile exhaust), household cleaners, tobacco, smoke, formaldehyde in glue, chemicals added to drinking water, aerosol chemicals, drugs, rubber, plastics, synthetic fabrics, dyes in clothing, waxes/polishers, paints, and cosmetics.

Dr. Cook suggests that environmental reactions can include “burning eyes, stuffy nose, itching, tingling, headache, muscle and joint pain, and all sorts of unusual mental and nervous symptoms.”

Molds in closets, rugs, basements, or any other humid, moist environment can cause an aggravation of CRC-related symptoms, such as nasal drainage and extreme fatigue.
After CRC is subdued, chemical sensitivities will often improve.  However, during the recovery period, it is best to avoid exposure.

Exercise

“Exercise stimulates adrenal activity and is useful in moderation,” states Larry Wilson, M.D., author of Nutritional Balancing and Hair Mineral Analysis. Moderate exercise helps the adrenals function as designed. Normal adrenal activity includes cortisone and adrenaline production, fluid balancing, carbohydrate metabolism, and blood sugar regulating.

Marcia Stark in her book The Complete Handbook of Natural Healing agrees with Dr. Wilson and adds other benefits of exercise, such as improved metabolism, digestion, circulation, and all other bodily processes. Stark claims that “physical exercise is one of the most important ingredients in maintaining health and balance.” Additionally, she feels that exercise helps rid the body of toxins and aids it in assimilating minerals.

Stark suggests that exercise can take the form of running, jogging, dancing, walking or sports such as tennis, basketball, racquetball, golf, and swimming. She also suggests that we utilize nature trails and participate in lake and river sports as ways of appreciating nature.

The CRC survivor can speed recovery by participating in one or more forms of exercise.

Retracing

Retracing, also called healing reactions or healing crisis, Dr. Wilson states, is the situation when old symptoms or conditions are reactivated and resolved during the process of healing.
 
Commonly, chronic infections or poorly healed wounds, injuries, or scars will go through a retracing process when using natural healing programs, becoming a cure for a few days as the disease process is resolved. Emotional retracing also occurs as old feelings or memories are brought to consciousness and released.
 
Some who are in the process of recovery mistakenly feel they are experiencing an illness when in fact it is the retracing process.

Dr. Wilson feels there are several changes that take place during the healing of not only physical ills, but also emotional and psychological ones as well. During the healing process, mind, body, and emotions are involved. This healing process can cause physical changes, such as reactivation of previous illnesses to a lesser degree.

For example, a chronic condition can suddenly flare up and become acute. This condition can also be called a completion reaction, states Dr. Wilson, “because the body is completing an effort which it previously was unable to carry to a resolution.” For example, scars can itch, ache, of swell for a day or two. This healing crisis can also cause a slowdown in metabolism and toxic waste elimination. Past traumas can finally be resolved, releasing stored emotions.

Retracing situations are usually of short duration and should be accomplished by rest and reassurance. Dr. Wilson suggests that if a healing crisis is accompanied by infections, that vitamins A and C are helpful. If a toxic metal eliminations is occurring, use hot Epsom salts or sauna baths, coffee enemas, and/or colonic irrigations. When an emotional retracing happens, a strong, friendly shoulder is helpful. If fatigue accompanies retracing, extra B vitamins are recommended. Finally, if the crisis involves anxiety and nervousness, Dr. Wilson suggests extra calcium, magnesium, zinc, choline, and inositol. Acupuncture can also alleviate a retracing situation and can bring about a more thorough healing.

Conclusion

There are certain substances and situations that the recovering CRC patient should avoid, such as prescription drugs, stress, oral contraceptives, and toxins in the environment. Conversely, there are certain beneficial situations and activities that will aid in recovery, such as a clean colon, positive attitude, exercise, proper nutrition, and a healthy energy balance. Finally, recovering CRC patients will find that knowledge of retracing is especially helpful.

This article can be found in ites entirety, including references in the book by S. Colet Lahoz, "Conquering Yeast Infections, Chronic Illness and the Candida Connection" available in the WholeApproach Online Store.