candida die off

In order to eliminate Candida overgrowth, it all begins with a strict diet which of course takes some adjustment. Just like a person getting off of a bad habit, they may go through a period of withdrawal where they feel worse. In respect to Candida, it’s called Candida Die-Off or Herxheimer reaction).

This occurs if there are too many of these yeast by-products in your bloodstream to be processed by your liver. These byproducts are floating around in your body are causing more inflammations and reinfections of previously healed areas.

It is quite common “to feel worse before you feel better”.

It’s important to understand this as many will prematurely abandon the Candida diet before they are cured due to the symptoms they are experiencing so be prepared.

To win at Candida balancing game, your die off score needs to be higher than its growth rate eliminating old Candida and prohibiting any new growth at the same time.

Eating foods that fight Candida like garlic, ginger and coconut oil does also cause fairly substantial Candida Die Off.

That’s why you’ll experience a lot more Candida symptoms after eating a hot curry with strong spices. These act as natural antifungals that kill yeast and unfortunately the friendly bacteria which is why you should keep these types of dishes to a minimum.

If symptoms are too severe, introduce antifungals

There are supplements you can take to specifically for killing Candida but at first, only use a low dosage to see how your body responds to it. Otherwise, as the Candida die off process is triggered so well that your body might get overwhelmed if it’s done too sudden. Shop now for antifungals.

Where in your body does the Candida Die Off happen?

The yeast related signs of Candida elimination can literally pop up in any part of your body if not in several at the same time (see complete list of Candida symptoms here).

But watch out, if the symptoms don’t subside this could mean that the Candida strains have not all been eliminated and have become resistant.

They might have found an area in your body where they have an ideal environment to thrive again. This can easily happen when you have eaten something sweet or had a lot of stress or caught a virus perhaps.

New Candida Symptoms vs. Candida Die Off Symptoms

Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between new symptoms and those caused by Candida die off.

You might eat something and feel fine for two days until you experience the first onset of break out.As you go through the Candida Diet you’ll notice that your body as well as the Candida Die Off symptoms itself go through cycles.

You’ll soon be able to recognize symptom patterns straight away and treat them quickly before they can spread to other areas in your body.

Follow these 11 Simple Tips to Get Rid of Your Candida Die Off Symptoms:
  • Eat light and early (between 5.30pm and 6:30pm works best for me))
  • Drink 2-3l of water and nettle tea
  • Swish a mixture of sunflower oil and essential oils of thyme, cinnamon bark and tea tree around your mouth for 15 mins before breakfast, rinse well (10 parts sunflower – 1 part other oils)
  • Drink warm water before breakfast and hot water with freshly squeezed lemon juice during the day
  • Reduce eating yogurt
  • Use a steam bath or sauna (this all aids the Candida elimination process)
  • Avoid using garlic and coconut oil and take less antifungals for 1-2 days
  • Take a rest after lunch (guided relaxation meditation or self-hypnosis help)
  • Take herbs that aid your liver’s ability to break down toxins (drink dandelion & burdock tea to minimize bloating.)
  • Avoid eating too many vegetables at dinner
  • Avoid eating too many beans or lentils at dinner
  • Keep grains to a minimum

For more insider die off management strategies as well as some recipes and encouragement join my newsletter and read about my Candida experience.

    • Hi Leila, the only way to know for sure that it’s die off is to stick to the candida diet religiously.

      If you eat/ drink something sugary then naturally the yeast is growing. You also have to be careful not to get too stressed as then your body pumps out your body’s own sugar reserves – which also feeds Candida (how unfair is that!).
      If you are then also taking antifungals, then you will certainly experience more symptoms.

      To be honest, I didn’t know it half the time – it drove me crazy. But once you are healing the phases in between the die offs get bigger and you are better able to judge what is causing you to feel worse and change your behaviour accordingly.

      Keeping a food diary helps a lot.

      Your best bet is to stick to the diet as best as you can most of the time and relax and sleep as much as you can.
      Start with a low dose of antifungals and only take more when your symptoms are at a manageable level. Then you have nothing to worry about.

      I have put together a checklist with my own findings that helped me differentiate between “die off” and “new” symptoms. You get it emailed to you when you sign up to my newsletter 😉

    • As far as alcohol goes drinking red wine spritzer is one of the least offending drinks. Diluting drinks with sparkling water or drinking a glass of water with your drink is a great idea. It prevents most dehydration based hangover symptoms the next day and helps your body metabolise the alcohol/ sugar.

      How bad this drink might affect you depends on how ill you are.

      If you are going through a hefty yeast infection right now, feeling really weak and poorly then drinking red wine spritzer would most likely make you feel worse (generally the next day not straight away). If you are feeling well and just notice a few minor symptoms then it is likely that you might get away with 1 or 2 spritzers (no more) without noticing more symptoms the next day.

      Try to avoid smoky environments and stress, eat nutritious food and get a good night’s sleep and you should be ok. But listen in with yourself – if you experience more symptoms in the days after your night out then it’s best if you give alcoholic drinks a miss until your immune system is stronger.
      Hope this helps.

  1. Hello Sandra!

    Thanks for all the great tips! I’m really enjoying all the info you are sharing, especially the “not so fun” info. It seems too many people are scared to tell the whole truth. So thank you! It’s very refreshing!

    Have you written a post yet about the antifungal supplements? I’m not quite sure where to begin with them?

    This is my second go at the candida diet. I did it for 5 months last winter but was so sick, I’m guessing now with die off symptoms, that I was put on antibiotics 3 different times, which only made me worse. I’m so glad I am more aware now to keep at it and NOT take more antibiotics. I’m also taking your recommendation to ease a bit more into it instead of being so hard core the first month or two. Hoping this will help too.

    It is true that the die off can almost feel worse then the original infection, but it’s also a relief to know that these are signs that the diet is actually working. I feel so encouraged reading your blog! 🙂


    • Hello Sarah,
      thank you so much for your kind comments 🙂 It’s important to me to paint an authentic picture about living with candida. It’s a fine line though, as the truth can sound quite demoralising… And I want to encourage and motivate you 🙂

      I am going to write a post about the antifungal supplements in the next few weeks. I am still gathering info at this stage, as it is such a comprehensive topic. Bear with me….it’s in the pipeline 😉
      All my best,


      PS: Don’t let the die off symptoms get you down. Hang in there. You are doing your immune system the world of good!

  2. 2 yrs ago i had gotten rid of systemic candida that i had taking the 3 pack antibiotics for this ulcer in my stomach, couldnt even finish the rouund when i developed all sorts of rashes, vaginal infections, thrush in mouth, well i followed the diet, went down 35 lbs and eliminated candida, but it seems im very allergic and have to take antibiotics for sinus infections so recently i had to take antibiotics and developed thrush so doctor gave me nyastatin, now i have these horrible flu like symptoms, congestion, runny nose, sore throat, how long is this die off period, so does this mean i have to start the diet again???

    • Have you thought that your allergies might be yeast related? Most systemic candida cases go hand in hand with leaky gut syndrome. So might be something you have to adress and sort out to get rid of your allergies. Antibiotics are not going to help you long term – they only weaken your immune system. They might have suppressed your underlying yeast problem while you were following the candida diet and now the overgrowth has bounced back.

      To prevent the problem from coming back I’d suggest you take some natural antifungals. But since you have been prescribed nystatin you might as well see this treatment through. Ask your doc if you should lower the dosage to minimise the die off. You should not have to suffer like thist! I’m afraid you do have to follow the diet again to get this under control. There is no other option.

      The die off can last anything from a few days to weeks. But as it is directly related to how much sugar you put in your system, how many antifungals you take and how well your liver is supported in this challenge -you have a lot of control over the intensity of the die off symptoms. Key is to reduce the load on your system and get plenty of rest and extra water, vitamins & minerals.

      There is also a trace mineral called “Chelated Molybdenum” that might help you. It has helped numerous people to reduce their die off symptoms. I haven’t tried it myself. But it might be worth investigating…

  3. Hi Sandra, quick question, can you use guar gum instead of agar-agar because it’s so expensive and I noticed with soba noodles all the ones I found have a little sugar in them, would it set me back if i ate some that contained less than 1 gram?

    • Hi Erin, you can use small amounts of guar gum. What are you using it for? I’m using ground arrow root to thicken soups & sauces.

      Regarding the soba noodles – is the sugar content the listed carbohydrates content or is this actually added sugar you mean? If it’s the latter then I’d stay away from it. I checked the ones I’m eating and they contain 72g carb per 100g and the soba&sweet potato ones have 56g carb – that’s ok in my opinion.

      What I would also like to say though is that it is important to watch what you are having with the soba noodles. For instance I got into the habit of frying red peppers and leek with olive oil and spices because it is so quick and delicious. But I noticed that I wasn’t getting better and had more flare ups. It was only when I started eating soups & fish instead of my beloved new favourite dish that I quickly got better. I think oily spicy food is really hard to digest and it interferes with insulin in your body preventing the carbs in the soba noodles to be properly digested before they are hitting your intestines where the candida tends to linger… Anyway, that’s my 2 cents. So my advice would be enjoy soba noodles dishes but don’t eat them all the time and not late at night with an oily sauce 🙂

      All my best, Sandra

    • Hi Cat,
      not sure, what stage of the diet are you in right now? I can re-send you the most relevant info, for instance regarding a Candida Cleanse or Die-Off… Just let me know 🙂
      All my best,

  4. I subscribed too late for the Die Off vs. New Symptoms checklist. Any way you can shoot it my way? I’m into week one of the strict diet and could use the reference.

  5. I also struggle with die off symptoms and new symptoms, I would love some info on this too. I also left a comment a couple of days ago and accidently unfollowed post, I cant find the thread anywhere ? Love your website too, very real and helpful , thanks Sandra ,

  6. thank you for all of your info. it is helping me greatly with my Candida. I am looking forward to becoming healthy again. God BLess you for the time and energy you put into your site.

  7. Hi Sandra,

    I’ve been on the strict diet for about a month and two weeks, have done 3 weeks of Natures Sunshine candida clear antifungals and am now doing a candida cleanse with caprilic oil, liquid bentonite clay and psyllium hulls two times a day. I have had success in managing vaginal flare ups while taking antifungals or having the yeast busters drink two times daily. When I stop these treatments is when I have symptoms come back.

    I am also taking probiotics

    I noticed some die off symptoms (like a sore throat, dizziness and brain fog, ezema flare up on my hands and weird skin condition on my finger tips – a type of dryness) when I was going strong at it (I.e. Antifungals, probiotics, diet, drinking pa d’arco tea, swallowing chunks of garlic mid-meal). I stopped the antifungals because my stomach would hurt and bloat really badly after week 3. Within two days of not taking the natural antifungal pills, I started to feel the same symptoms. The sore throat and brain fog went away but this new weird skin dryness has now been here for almost a month. Although it has improved it is still here.

    I am going to see Dr. Rona (who co-authored the Candida Yeast Guidebook) as I am feeling lost on what I am taking and how much – hopefully he will help. The last thing I want to do is create resistant strains. I have a feeling he will put me on nystatin…. What are your thoughts on this?

    Can you send me the emails with the die off symptoms checklist and any other you feel would be appropriate?

    I want to beat this thing so I can go back to my life. I believe it all started from reoccurring UTI’s which I took antibiotics to cure. I had a UTI almost every month for 2.5 years. Silly me, I never took probiotics after. I think this was my downfall as the vaginitis started while I was on antibiotics to cure a UTI. When I developed another UTI this year, my Symptoms flared up by the second day of antibiotic use.

    If you can provide any insight it would be much appreciated.


    • Hi Michelle,
      it is quite normal to experience the symptoms you describe considering that you have been taking a lot of antifungals. The skin often reacts delayed so this might very well still be a reaction from when you were taking the antifungals and garlic. I take it you are not eating anything with sugar? What about wheat/ gluten? I noticed that my eczema flared up just from me eating meat or bread with gluten.

      How long have you had candida? It sounds as if you have had it a few years hence the reoccurring UTIs (this is how it started for me too). If this happens to you again while clearing the yeast from your system I recommend you take urva ursi drops or drink the tea – all natural and very effective.

      Generally if you have had the candida problem for a while I would not expect to clear it within weeks. It takes several months to re-balance your system. I cannot say much about Nystatin other than that some of my readers have tried it and as far as I know their symptoms came back as soon as they ate normal again. I haven’t tried it myself. What worked best for me was Oil of oregano and Olive leaf extract. You can rotate those if you fear the strains might become resistant…

      I’ll be interested to hear what Dr. Rona will recommend you. It’s definitely always a good idea to consult with a specialist. I presume he will also tell you to take a strong probiotic. I’ll email you the candida die off symptoms check list.

      Chin up, you’ll beat this thing. You’ve made a great start. Don’t be disheartened 🙂

  8. Please email me die off symptoms….this is first time I have tried to do the candida diet and Im finding it really difficult as different pages have different ideas and I am totally confused….A step 1 to 5 including everything I can eat would be great…please email me symptoms x

  9. Hi, I’m 64 and have had symptoms of Candida for many years. I just finished a strong antibiotic for my stomach. I started strictly the Candida diet a week now,plus 50billion probiotic daily. Now I’m two days with sore throat, cough, ears hurting, head ache. Feels like the flu. Is this die off or something else. Haven’t started the antifungis treatment yet. as for die off how long will it there health concerns about die off.?

    • Hi Sharon,
      sounds like die off! Don’t forget that your body naturally kills Candida, and the probiotics also push certain microbes out, so you have started your cleanse with turbo speed and might want to slow it down a bit to give your body a chance to catch up. Seeing that you have just had antibiotics it your symptoms could also be secondary infections due to the fact that the antibiotics killed too many good guys and some bad guys slipped through the net.
      How long the die off lasts depends on how long you have had Candida and if there are other infections that hinder your recovery. As a rule of thumb you will have to deal with some type of die off for 1 month for every year you have had Candida. Not always as acute as what you are experiencing though. Chin up! If you are concerned then your best bet is to work with a functional medicine doctor to heal your whole body from the ground up without having to resort to antibiotics again.

  10. I would love to get your check list of die off symptoms vs candida symptoms if you can still send it out. I’ve been on the candida diet for about 4-5 wks & just today got flare up of skin problems (hives) that I had before. I’ve had no sugar but my carbs for last two days have been higher than usual. Thank so much for all the info you have on your site.

  11. Hi Sandra,
    I have been trying to overcome candida for the last 20 years but every time I go on an anti candida diet I become so ill that I am bed bound and feel as if I am dying and that is just from the diet I have never even been able to get to the stage of taking any anti -fungals. The diet alone makes me so ill that in the end I have to eat things not allowed on the diet just to get some relief. So I am in this vicious circle of being on and off a candida diet and never getting anywhere.I have spent the last 25 years so ill I am unable to work and am house bound with so many symptoms from head to foot feeling poisoned and unable to function.My liver does not seem able to detox at all. I so much want to feel better can you offer any hope for me? Thanks Carol

    • Hi Carol, I’m so sorry to hear how long you’ve already been suffering. I can relate to that as for many years of my life I felt miserable and seemed to be going around in circles. That’s why it’s important to interrupt this cycle and try something different in order to find the one thing that works for you to get you over that threshold so your body can start healing itself at a pace that is manageable for you. Key is to take supplements (not antifungals) to help your body deal with the heavy load of toxins. That will help you have more energy and feel better throughout which in turn then will make it easier to stick to the diet long enough to see some results. Hopefully you know a good functional medicine doctor who can set you on the right path to healing, and there are also great online programs if you prefer to learn from the comfort of your own home; or if you are not ready to invest in a big transformation program then perhaps it would help you just to talk through your options with someone who understands what you are going through, and who can hold you accountable like a friend to start making your health a priority. If that’s the case you can always book a session with me here ($99 via skype or phone call) for some extra encouragement and insight into how I turned my health round in terms of supplements, tests and reputable doctors… so you’ll leave with new hope, inspiration and a different plant of attack. Either way, there IS hope, even if it might not feel like it at the moment. Don’t ever give up looking for a solution. You can do this!

  12. Hello Sandra,
    Thank you for your website it has helped me a lot already to understand the immensity and complexity of this problem.

    I have had Candida for a long time now with outward symptoms self diagnosed through internet research and a nose for yeast. I have modified my diet many times and always found that my symptoms go away when I reduce or eliminate sugar. I have been sugar free for the most part for about 5 months with only allowing a treat at Christmas and for my son’s second birthday. I feel much better now, but am wondering if I am experiencing die off through my milk. My baby is quite colicky and I did notice some redness on her bottom occasionally. She seems to be uncomfortable and I wonder if it has to do with extra fungus in my milk? We practice infant pottying and use cloth diapers so traditional diaper rash shouldn’t be an issue for us. My son also had a fungal infection on hiss bottom when he was a small baby before we started infant pottying. Just wondering if you have any experience or have heard similar cases before? They are both due to see their doctor soon so I may mention it, but I don’t expect a gratifying answer from him.
    Anyway, I appreciate your website immensely and have added a few things to my diet like ACV, Ginger root tea the past week.. I also started making my own kefir, and am contemplating an anti fungal like GSE, but perhaps I’m going too quickly if it’s affecting my little one?
    Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    • Hi Carrie,
      lovely to hear from you and congrats on having your son 🙂
      Mothers and babies naturally share the same type of bacteria, so if a mother has a fungal overgrowth this can affect the baby. So nappy rash as well as nipple rash from breast feeding happen often.
      You can prevent that a little bit by cleaning the breastfeeding area with warm water with a dash of apple cider vinegar. I wouldn’t recommend any strong antifungals yet like GSE. Eating a well balanced diet with lots of fresh organic veg and even a certain amount of carbs like low sugar fruit and veg and some whole grains is good for the child. So don’t worry about Candida so much for now and just enjoy the special bonding time with your baby. Cutting out sugar is the main thing, and a gradual transition is best. You can use raw honey in the transition for instance. Perhaps that would make it easier. Either way you are doing great and I have no doubt that soon this rash will be a thing of the past and your kids immune systems will become really strong. All my best

  13. I have been on Candida Support…2 capsules twice daily, Vitamin C 1500mg twice daily, Milk Thistle twice daily too and Probio 7 with 2 capsules a day. This has been for 3 weeks now.
    I was on a strict candida diet before and went through a horrible time. Burning vagina and all round and inside. Very bad facial rashes and raised red bumps.
    For several weeks there I felt better. No vaginal problems and my facial skin cleared a bit.
    However in the last week my face has worsened and in the last several days the vaginal symptoms have reappeared but not as badly. Just a slight burning round the one inside of my vagina and a burning round towards the back of my leg. Itching off and on.
    My face itches at times and the facial rash etc.. seems to be clearing in some places and coming out in others. Especially round my nose, mouth, cheeks and forehead.
    There was severe anal itching for three days which seems to have settled. Also just one large red angry spot jus inside my vagina which is like the ones thay come up on my face and did on my back when I started this regime but the back spots are gone.
    Could this be die off again?
    I have eaten sausages and home made bread with Doves organic self raising. This has tapioca flour and potato flour or something along that line. I wonder if this could be a cause. I didn’t have a reaction with sausages before this week though but I will not make any more bread. I only added olive oil, eggs and salt.
    Please help as I am confused and feeling depressed again.
    Many thanks

    • Hi Jennifer,
      sorry to here you are experiencing symptoms. I know from my own experience how uncomfortable that is. Well done for sticking to the diet though, that’s awesome. Your symptoms do sound like die off. But you might want to double check with a functional medicine doctor as they can give you very specific treatment advice. There are a lot of different valuables to consider like your health history, your lifestyle, what else you have eaten this week, the supplement ingredients, stress levels, underlying illnesses….
      If in doubt though it is always a good idea to take less meds and up your water intake to flush your system. Most sausages contain sugar, mustard, vinegar or additives and even at the best of times pork is super acidic and can easily cause flare ups with skin issues. At least that happened to me a lot with my eczema. Bread needs a different digestive environment than sausages anyway, so next time you try sausages perhaps serve them with greens and sweet potato instead and sip water with apple cider vinegar to aid digestion.
      The main thing to remember is to do what you can not to get stressed out. Symptoms will come and go during a cleanse. Try and not give them too much attention. Focus more on all the things you know do you good, and do more of them. Chin up!
      All my best

  14. I have been on the candida diet for a month now. I am fine when I stick to the no carbs, sugar grains, dairy etc. I have been eating chicken, fish and occasional red meat with veg and eggs. When I diverse and try to eat fruit or rice I feel quite dizzy half an hour after eating. I am taking molebdenum and a probiotic.I am also on a seven day course of Nystatin liquid. I have been doing coconut oil pulling and eating a clove of fresh garlic every day. Any advice on getting rid of the brain fog?

    • Hi Linda, great question. Brain fog is such a classic Candida symptom. I remember all too well what it was like to feel so foggy that I could barely remember if I had already taken my supplements earlier the same day!
      There are a few things you can do that help.
      One is to take less antifungals to give your body a chance to catch up with the die off symptoms.
      Secondly make sure you drink enough water and get sufficient amounts of protein and good fats in your diet – most people on the diet end up malnourished, so supplementing with superfood green and protein powders and vitamins and minerals is essential.
      Thirdly you got to move, light exercise and fresh air are important to keep your lymph system moving in order to transport waste products out that might interfere with neurological processes.
      Last but not least you MUST minimize stress and get a good nights sleep on a regular basis to give your body time for repair work.
      Hang in there, these symptoms will pass, and you’ll feel better than you have in a long time!

  15. Hi sandra, i have already subscribed your newsletter,can you send me the checklist to how to differentiate between die off and new symptom? Thanks.

  16. Hi Sandra, I’ve been on the candida diet for two weeks due to bad rashes around my eyes. They seemed to clear up and I was so relieved. Apart from some itching they looked fine. No swelling or redness. But then last night my symptoms flared up again and it’s been worse than ever today. No antihistamines would help. I look like the elephant man. Hives around my eyes which are swollen and sore and itchy and red. I’m so miserable. I keep wondering if I’m allergic to something else and it’s not candida at all! Or maybe it’s die off?! But why would it come back? At the point of giving up…. I just want my energy and my face back. At the end of my rope here. Maybe it was the garlic and oregano in my soup? Along with popcorn with coconut oil? I’m seeing they’re antifungals. But surely that couldn’t cause a flare up so severe? Confused and frustrated. Thoughts?

    • Hi Tess,
      sorry for the late reply, I responded to your message, but I have had problems with my website not showing certain pages, like my comments, aargh… Hope this one gets through! I feel for you, having to deal with eczema is incredibly tough and makes one really ‘thin skinned’ emotionally too, and especially if the eye area is affected you can’t even cover it up very well. So I feel for you, as I remember all too well how it was for me when I went through the very same experience and looked like Elephant man! It could very well be die off, garlic is a very strong antifungal and can easily cause imbalances. But it could of course also be a contact dermatitis or something else. Not being a doctor myself I cannot give you a diagnosis of course. All I can do is encourage you to focus on the things you can control like keeping to an immaculate hygiene and not touching your face, gently cleaning the affected area with an organic calendula wash and getting plenty of rest and flushing your system with water and herbal teas. Hope this helps! All the best

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