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December 12, 1986

Is There an Epidemic of Chronic Candidiasis in Our Midst?

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, St Paul.

JAMA. 1986;256(22):3138-3139. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380220104032

THERE IS a growing underground of public controversy surrounding the reputed presence of a "new epidemic." This epidemic involves chronic candidiasis, a condition in which there is an overgrowth of and systemic invasion by the yeast organism Candida albicans.

The Candida organism is ubiquitous in our environment, is a normal inhabitant of the large intestine, and is typically the identifiable organism in vaginal yeast infections (vulvovaginal candidiasis). Of late, a growing popular connotation of "candidiasis" is no longer limited to the female malady. It has come to signify a chronic condition with a new panoply of symptoms.

Perhaps the original proponent of this popular Candida theory is C. O. Truss, MD, of Birmingham, Ala.1 His hypothesis states that a number of conditions, such as an overuse of antibiotics, will decrease Candida's naturally occurring competitors in the large intestine. This creates an imbalance and facilitates an overgrowth of the Candida