Yeast, yeast and more yeast……

May 23, 2012

Borrowed from AutismjabberwockyA common problem with a lot of kiddos on the Autism spectrum and one that Zak certainly struggles with is yeast overgrowth or Candida.  When Zakary was three (before diagnosis), he started throwing up at night – all night, about every 6-8 weeks.  When he woke up in the morning he seemed “back to normal” and never ran a fever or showed any other signs of being sick.  After about the third incident, I took Zak to his pediatrician.  Besides what I described above, the only other detail I could provide was the smell.  I explained that it did not smell like typical throw up, it smelled sweeter (not in a good way).  I do not remember anything being done at that time.  Time passed, we received Zak’s diagnosis and soon after started Zak on the GFCF diet (refer to….).  Then one day, ZAKSDAD was making dough for pizza (not gluten free) and it clicked, the uncooked dough had a similar smell to Zak’s throw up.  I reached out to Zak’s new biomedical doctor and set up an appointment.  After discussing the symptoms with him and after a urine and stool sample, it was determined Zak’s yeast levels were off the charts.

Yeast overgrowth can occur due to a dysfunctional immune system or gastrointestinal distresses which are both extremely common in kids on the autism spectrum. A healthy immune system and regular, healthy bowel movements should keep the yeast in check but when that doesn’t happen or when frequent antibiotics are used….too much yeast can grow and our kids systems can’t keep up.  Zak still struggles with yeast overgrowth, but it is less frequent and not as severe now that we are working to keep it away.

What does yeast overgrowth look like?

It manifests itself in two forms – behavior and physical.

Behavioral signs

  • Headaches
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Belly aches, constipation and/or gas pains
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • “Foggyness”
  • Inattention
  • Hyperactivity
  • Anger, aggression
  • Increased self-stimulatory behavior
  • High-pitched squealing
  • Increased sensory defensiveness
  • Climbing/jumping off things
  • Sugar cravings
  • Lethargy

Physical Signs

  • In the mouth, in the form of thrush
  • On the skin such as diaper rash or eczema
  • Red ring around the anus
  • Rash or cracking between the toes or joints

How to Treat Yeast?

There are three main ways to treat yeast overgrowth – medications, biomedical or homeopathic treatments and dietary changes.


  • Nystatin or Diflucan (fluconazole) probably the most commonly prescribed, but there are several others

Biomedical or Homeopathic

  • Probiotics
  • Coconut Oil
  • Pau d’arco
  • Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE)
  • Olive Leaf Extract
  • Oil of Oregano
  • Garlic
  • Carrot Juice
  • Enhansa

Note: Dosing and frequency are recommended based on the individual’s age and weight. Your biomedical doctor will prescribe the treatment according to your child’s unique needs. Yeast treatments can require several treatments or reoccurring treatments to remedy the imbalance. Rarely is one yeast treatment the only requirement for keeping bacteria in balance. Dietary intervention controlling sugar intake is also a crucial step in this process.

Dietary Changes

There are several yeast fighting diets to consider

  • GFCF
  • SCD
  • Low to no sugar diet

Foods to minimize:

  • Bread, rolls, cookies pastries, pretzels
  • Vinegar and foods that contain it such as mayonnaise, salad dressing, BBQ sauce, mustard and pickles
  • Fermented foods
  • Cheese
  • Dried, smoked or pickled meats
  • Cured bacon
  • Malt
  • Processed sugar
  • Grapes, raisins, dates, prunes, citrus fruits
  • Fruit juice
  • Soft drinks
  • Honey and maple syrup
  • Corn
  • Potatoes

What Should I Expect To See When Treating Yeast?

Die-off of massive quantities of yeast and bacteria can be physically hard on the body. It can wreak havoc so it’s common  to see a negative reaction, before a good reaction when starting yeast treatment.  Continue to work with your doctor, but do not stop treatment or give up.

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