So I was trying to decide whether or not I really wanted people to know about this nasty infection, but since it’s actually pretty common, and I think it could help, here we go!
Look at the bottom of the post for the resources that helped heal me. I am now confident that I am on the road to health!
Just a couple of days ago, there was a fungus growing on my mouth that extended onto my face and looked like I had smashed a chocolate frosted cupcake onto my mouth. I believe it started as Angular Cheilitis, or Perleche, and I kept agitating it, and the bacteria spread.
One month ago I developed a cold sore on the corner of my lip. I put essential oils on it, but it just got worse for about a week, then it went away for a week after I upped my essential oils application. It came back and looked even worse, so I took multivitamins, put antiviral essential oils on it, on the back of my neck, and drank it in tea, and yes it was the perfect timing for me to attend a wedding. I was thinking it was a virus since I had a cold sore. I had gone to the doctor 7 years ago for this same type of thing, and he said it was a type of hand, foot and mouth virus, which he gave me medication for, and it went away within a few days. I had gone to the naturopath at the local health food store, and she gave me two different probiotics, and olive leaf since I told her I needed something for an antiviral. My mouth was better for a couple of days, and then the fungus came back with a vengeance. I had thought about taking pictures, but I didn’t want anyone to have to see that. If you want to give yourself a horrifying thrill, you could do an image search for oral thrush or mouth fungus, although I haven’t seen any photos yet that looked like mine. I basically had white puss on the inside of my lips, like my lips were melting. And then yellow puss on the outside. It would then scab over and turn dark brown. So for the past 5 days I could barely open my mouth to eat. Bless my fiance’s heart, he said I was beautiful no matter what I looked like. I’m sure my mom thinks the same thing, but the only thing she could say when she looked at me was grimace and say “ooh it looks really bad. It looks so ugly.” Bless her heart too.
I tried everything: First, I did my own research and tackled it as a virus. I put antiviral/antibacterial/antifungal essential oils on it (cinnamon bark, Thieves, oregano, lavender, tea tree oil). I bought a multivitamin from Garden of Life, B, D, and raw iron supplements. I took probiotics like yogurt and kimchi. I exercised. I went to the pharmacist who took one look at me and said “Clotrimazole”. Well, that worked for a minute, but when I finally went to the doctor, he told me these infections can get resistant to Clotrimazole. He gave me a prescription topical cream which probably would have worked, but it didn’t get at the cause. I went out into the sun, which I think helps but will not combat the bacterial overgrowth.
Finally, when nothing was working I called Midwest Acupuncture and scheduled an appointment for later that day (last Friday). He told me the same thing he’d told me months ago when I had come in and then never finished my treatments… that I had an unhealthy, irritated gut that was compromising my immune system. I now knew he was right.
Here are all the things I was doing wrong, when I thought I was such a smarty:
1. Eating spicy foods. When he asked me if I ate spicy foods I said probably only once a week. It wasn’t until an hour later that I realized I ate it every day. This includes garlic, peppers, and onion. I had also started eating more Indian food (read: spicy) because they use a lot of healthy spices.
2. Geophagy. I thought I was so smart by ingesting food-grade clay like diatomaceous earth or bentonite clay, but I wasn’t replenishing my body with nutrients like with a multivitamin or nutrient-rich foods. Yes, the clay can get rid of the bad stuff in your gut, but it can also get rid of the good flora. I was detoxing too much, which explains why every time I got on an airplane lately, I’d get sick because my immune system was weak. My bentonite clay from Bulk Herb Store, however, is able to get into your blood stream to clean it.
3. Certain oils were causing irritation which were keeping my mouth from healing. Yes, cinnamon bark and Thieves are good for fungal infections, but my body was already “warm” and irritated, so these “hot” oils were probably keeping my infection from healing, so I stuck with lavender and rose. Yes, I brought out the big guns with the $200 rose essential oil, and used it neat on my face to heal the skin, for this special occasion.
4. I thought I could eat whatever I wanted, then detox after. The acupuncturist said our bodies don’t work this way. Whenever I would eat pizza or Chick-Fil-A, my body would suffer the consequences, and, wait for it… I would get anal fissures. I love The Office episode where everyone has to anonymously disclose their medical issues, and Dwight thinks someone is pranking him when the form says “anal fissures.” Then Kevin said, “Someone might have anal fissures” and everyone is awkwardly quiet. I’m basically Kevin Malone.
5. Stop doing wet things. I asked the naturopath if taking an Epsom salt detoxifying bath would be a good thing. She said that I was over-detoxing, and plus the humid Iowa summer weather and my body were already damp and moist, which caused the Candida overgrowth outbreak. I also had to stop taking Ningxia Red wolfberry vitamins for now, because fruit has sugar, and this drink is “wet.”
Here are all of the things I started doing, and my mouth started to heal within a day.
1. Do the acupuncture treatments. He put 25 needles in me, and because I wanted a quick recovery, I think he shoved those needles in further than normal. (As a side note, you don’t really feel them while they’re in your body, only a slight prick as they go in.)
2. Drink the weird herbal tea he gave me. I cook the hearty bark-looking things for 45 minutes, then drink 3/4 cup twice a day for two weeks. I took the opportunity to use it to do a facial steam while it was simmering, and my skin looked amazing, but not amazing enough to detract from the mushroom growing on my mouth. His practice is based on ancient Chinese medicine.
3. Change my diet. If I wanted to heal my gut and my face, I couldn’t have dairy, sugar (not even honey or fruit), and spicy foods including garlic and onions. He gave me a book detailing which foods I could eat that would help heal me. So, my diet will consist of a lot of vegetable stir-fry and vegetable soups… no pizza. But wait! I just made pizza last night, which was pretty good considering it didn’t have any cheese, garlic, or gluten.
4. Vitamins and nutrients. The naturopath and acupuncturist said I was probably having Candida or fungal issues because I wasn’t taking a multivitamin regularly, and was probably low on B, D, and iron. I am always low on iron, which is why I have to eat a lot of broccoli and beans before I give blood, and I am tired a lot. I got my vitamins at Campbell’s Nutrition, the Garden of Life brand because the vitamins are food-based meaning it’s not a synthetic vitamin. I was all surprise when I learned that some of the vitamins in the Young Living Hers multivitamin I was taking was synthetic. I did continue to put their lavender on my vitaflex feet points, since I know their pure lavender works wonders and helps heal the body.
In conclusion, this has been a huge learning experience for me spiritually as well. I really think that this has at least gotten me to realize that I need to get off my butt, get outside, chat with the neighbors, tend to my garden, and get in the sunshine. It’s summer in Iowa for pete’s sake, and all I do is work inside and stare at a computer screen (which is why I was low on D vitamins). Plus, God gave me the gift of being neighborly, but the older I got the more insular I became. Who knew that being unneighborly and staying inside all day would take it’s toll on my health?
It will take a while for my gut to heal itself, but I am on the road to recovery and will look and feel great for my wedding! Can you imagine all of this happening on my wedding week? =O
Resources: Midwest Acupuncture, Chinese medicine resource foods to avoid, Campbell’s Nutrition for supplements and free consultation by their naturopath- I use Garden of Life B, D, Raw Iron, and food-based multivitamin. After my mouth episode is over, I probably only need the multivitamin and probiotics. This one is Garden of Life’s cheapest multivitamin at $0.58/day and it’s just one a day. Young Living lavender essential oil and Young Living’s Life 5 probiotic with 8 billion active cultures. – you can contact me to purchase Young Living with or without signing up. Another great resource on Chinese medicine.