Night Sweats are very common in fibromyalgia, and even in the general population. In two recent articles we talked about the role of reproductive and adrenal hormone deficiencies. Today we will talk about another very common problem triggering night sweats—infections.
In fibromyalgia, or even in the general population, Candida is a major player. Unfortunately, there is no test for this and the diagnosis is made clinically. Which to most doctors means that it doesn't exist. You can't diagnose and treat something if you don't even know it exists!
So how can you tell? In those with nasal congestion/sinusitis or irritable bowel syndrome without other apparent causes, it is reasonable to suspect and treat for Candida overgrowth. This not only helps these processes, but can also help eliminate the night sweats, while decreasing pain, fatigue, and brain fog.
Balancing Candida is critical. Here's how!
Candida, an overgrowth of yeast/fungi (I use the two terms interchangeably in this article), occurs largely in the gut and can make toxins; spark inflammation; trigger chronic sinusitis and spastic colon; further weaken the immune system, and generally cause ill health.
When people have CFS/fibromyalgia, I recommend they simply assume they have Candida and then address it. This often not only dramatically helps the CFS and fibromyalgia, but often also makes the sinusitis and spastic colon go away! Take the quiz on the previous page to learn the probability that yeast overgrowth could be significant to your feeling poorly. Then I will tell you how to take care of the problem.
Do You Have Candida? It's Easy to Find Out!
There's no lab test that I find reliable for Candida. But a simple questionnaire can give you a pretty good idea. As I noted above though, if you have CFS/FMS, chronic sinusitis, or unexplained spastic colon, it is reasonable to simply assume you have Candida, and get it addressed.
Optimizing Candida Balance in Your Body
Candida is a normal part of our body's flora. It does not need to be completely eliminated. Simply put back into balance. Give these at least two months. Here's how to rebalance Candida:
Step 1: Probiotic Supplement
The healthy bacteria in a probiotic supplement can help balance Candida. We are currently seeing a marketing tendency towards very high potency probiotics. The problem with most of these is twofold. First, stomach acid kills 99 percent of them, and dead bacteria do not put up much of a fight. If too many of them get through, they can cause overgrowth of gut bacteria in the small intestine and actually aggravate symptoms.
So I would limit probiotics to ones that contain no more than 20 billion units.
After five months, the research suggests you can decrease from one a day, to taking it every other day, and usually maintain all the benefits.
Step 2: Herbal Support:
A Natural Replacement for Nystatin Nystatin is an anti-fungal medication typically used to address Candida, but only in the gut. For those of you whose insurance covers medications, it is a reasonable alternative to the herbals to help keep your costs down.
If your doctor will not prescribe nystatin for the three to six months that it takes to work, or if you prefer to go natural, a number of herbals can be very helpful.
- coconut oil (50 percent caprylic acid)
- grapefruit seed extract—helpful but use the liquid form
- berberine sulfate—an excellent herb that also helps optimize blood sugar and cholesterol levels. The dose is 200 – 500 mg three times a day, but it can be a bit hard on the stomach
Step 3: Diflucan
The nystatin, herbals, and probiotic will address Candida overgrowth in the gut. But they are not absorbed and will not take care of the problem in the sinuses. They are also not as effective in the short term as the following medication. Ask your holistic doctor for the medication Diflucan (fluconazole) 200 mg a day for six weeks. Regular physicians are not familiar with this area and generally will not prescribe it, so you'll likely need a holistic doctor to write this prescription for you. Be sure to get the generic and if not insurance covered, be sure to use the free GoodRx phone app ($54 for a 6-week course instead of over $180 for self-pay). This wonderful free app can cut medication costs by over 90 percent for most medications, for those who don't have insurance!
Step 4: Stay Away From Sugar
This tip isn't new, but it's crucial. Why? Because yeast eats sugar, 24/7. If you feed them, they live and multiply. If you don't feed them, they die off more easily. If you can't do without sweetening your foods, use stevia. Stevia is a natural and healthier sugar substitute.
Start by cutting out sodas and fruit juices, both of which have a devastating ¾ teaspoon of sugar per ounce. Eating the whole fruits are okay in moderation. Diet sodas will not feed the Candida, and Zevia has an excellent line that you can find in health food stores and even in Safeway.
A delicious, healthy, sugar-free sweet treat is sugar-free chocolate. Russell Stover makes a good one that you can find in most grocery stores. Abdallah Candies also makes an excellent one. The site has mostly chocolate with sugar, so stay with the ones shown on Abdallah's sugar-free chocolate page. Do you have gas from loose stools when you eat sugar-free chocolate? This comes from the maltitol used to sweeten it. There is an excellent Stevia sweetened brand made by Lily's LilysSweets.com/, which won't cause this problem.
Rebalancing Candida in your body is great for getting rid of night sweats. But it can also help your gut and sinuses, as well as your whole body, feel dramatically better!
Jacob E Teitelbaum, MD
Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, is a board certified internist and Medical Director of the national Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers and Chronicity. He is author of the popular free iPhone application "Cures A-Z," and author of the best-selling books
- The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution: The Essential Guide to Overcoming Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia
- From Fatigued to Fantastic!
- Pain Free 1-2-3
- Three Steps to Happiness: Healing Through Joy
- The Complete Guide to Beating Sugar Addiction
- Beat Sugar Addiction Now! Cookbook
- Real Cause, Real Cure: The 9 root causes of the most common health problems and how to solve them
Dr. Teitelbaum knows CFS/fibromyalgia as an insider — he contracted CFS when he was in medical school and had to drop out for a year to recover. In the ensuing 25 years, he has dedicated his career to finding effective treatments.