Every first Friday of the month I give my readers the chance to ask me anything Candida or health related. This time a reader asked me whether they might have caught Candida from their partner.
My reader asked me: Is Candida contagious?
Here's my answer: Technically no, it's not contagious. But the effect is the same, if you’re unlucky. So let me explain:
Let’s first look at what “contagious” actually means.
According to the dictionary "contagious" means:
- to spread from one person or organism to another by direct or indirect contact.
- likely to transmit a disease by contact with other people or animals.
Since Candida in its basic form is a harmless organism that is present in every body –It does not spread from one person to the next, because it lives in both people already. Just in different numbers and in more or less aggressive forms. So if we were to go with the literal sense of the word candida wouldn’t be classed as "contagious".
Could it perhaps transmit a disease and that way be viewed as "contagious"?
Is Candida Contagious through Kissing?
In other words: Is oral thrush contagious?
Oral thrush is basically a white coating on your tongue that you can scrape off. Often times accompanied with a pretty awful smell and taste, red sore patches on the gum or inside the mouth and difficulty swallowing. Initially the symptoms are not so pronounced though and might go unnoticed or be mistaken for an ordinary sore throat.
Candida itself is not a disease. So it's not like a bug or a virus that you can catch when somebody sneezes at you for instance or they kiss you.
Only when certain environmental factors come together the candida organism changes into an aggressive candida organism. This then doesn’t fulfill its normal function of ridding your body of harmful bacteria any more. That’s how you can then indirectly pick up a disease.
What are these Criteria that Need to be fulfilled for you to "catch" Candida from somebody?
- Your immune system must be very low.
- You don’t have a healthy population of friendly micro-organisms.
- You are very stressed.
- You have taken antibiotics.
- You are nutrient deficient.
When one or more of these criteria play together then your body’s defenses stop working properly on a cellular level.
If you then come in contact with more candida through kissing, then the conditions are ideal for your own high numbers of yeast to multiply.
Where a healthy strong immune system would just deal with the minor candida overgrowth, yours would not be able to interfere.
And although the candida you came in contact with technically speaking isn’t "contagious", you might still end up getting thrush because of your impaired immune system. Annoying, isn't it!
Can You Get a Candida Re-infection Through Your Partner?
So even when you have your yeast imbalance under control, and you get intimate with someone who has an acute candida overgrowth, you could re-infect yourself.
All it takes is for you to be a bit run down or your immune system to be under a lot of strain from some toxins, say you are in a smoky room and didn’t get much sleep. Then there is a high probability that this will trigger another yeast overgrowth in you.
So it is absolutely justified to be concerned whether candida is contagious. Until your immune system is strong and resilient, you’ll remain prone to re-infections.
So if your immune system is down and you come in contact with oral thrush, (who wouldn’t want to kiss once in a while, huh?) this might trigger a candida flare up even though candida in itself isn’t contagious through kissing.
What about Vaginal Thrush? Is that form of Candida Contagious?
Vaginal candida is equally as “contagious”, as through the warm, moist genital environment and the friction from intercourse the yeast finds optimum living conditions. And if your immune system isn’t up to spec and swiftly removes the “friendly new candida colonies” then BAM you get a bout of thrush.
How Can You Prevent an Infection?
You can only prevent an infection by having a strong immune system with a healthy balance of micro-organisms. When that’s the case, technically you should be able to kiss somebody who has thrush, without getting thrush yourself.
But when can you ever be sure that your immune system is in that tip top shape that this is the case?!
So unless your partner has done a swab test that's come back negative, and you both have been enjoying tip top health the past year then you cannot be sure not to re-infect yourself.
Practice safe sex with condoms and don’t kiss your partner when you think that one of you might have candida. Changing your toothbrush more often and wearing lose cotton underwear is also recommended, as well as using gentle natural shower gels to wash yourself with as not to aggravate the compromised areas even further.
Can Candida spread from the mother to the baby during birth?
Since we already found out that candida is not contagious, it cannot spread from the mother to the child.
What does happen instead though is that the baby inherits the immune system from their parents. And if either of the parents has a low immune system with candida gone out of hand, then you can bet that the baby will show candida symptoms, too. For instance nappy rash, which is a classic sign of candida overgrowth.
So the best you can do really, is be careful and boost your immune system.
What's your advice for making your immune system more resilient?
Mine is to drink apple cider vinegar (as I've recommended you in my previous post here). Tell me your tip in the comments below.