Yeast overgrowth management

Yeast overgrowth management

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What is yeast overgrowth management?

Yeast is a type of fungus commonly found in the human body, including in the intestines. This intervention involves managing the growth of yeast in people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Any 'yeast overgrowth' is controlled by using antifungal agents, probiotics and a yeast-free diet.

Who is yeast overgrowth management for?

This approach is for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

What is yeast overgrowth management used for?

It's claimed that people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) might have a yeast overgrowth in the gut, which contributes to the characteristics of ASD. By treating the yeast overgrowth, this approach aims to reduce the characteristics of ASD.

Where does yeast overgrowth management come from?

This approach gained popularity based on anecdotal reports and very small, poor-quality case studies in the 1990s.

What is the idea behind yeast overgrowth management?

Yeast is a micro-organism commonly found in the human body in areas like the intestines. Probiotics are other micro-organisms that live in the intestines. They're also in supplements and some foods. Probiotics are considered to be 'good bacteria' - they promote a healthy balance in the intestines and prevent yeast overgrowth.

When an imbalance occurs, the number of probiotics is reduced and yeast overgrowth can happen. It's claimed that toxins from the excess yeast enter the bloodstream, which causes negative outcomes like autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or makes the characteristics of ASD worse.

The idea is that treating the yeast overgrowth and restoring the balance between yeast and probiotics removes the toxins from the body, reducing the characteristics of ASD.

What does yeast overgrowth management involve?

This approach uses antifungal agents, probiotics and changes in diet. The person takes antifungal agents (usually orally) to kill the yeast in the intestines. Some foods with antifungal properties, like garlic and grapefruit seed extract, can also be used in this approach. Probiotic agents including acidophilus and lactobacillus are added to the diet to restore a healthy balance in the intestines.

Dietary changes like limiting sugar and yeast are also part of this approach. It's claimed that eating these foods promotes yeast overgrowth.

There are no standard guidelines for how long this treatment should go on.

Cost considerations

It costs money to buy antifungal agents and probiotics, and to make dietary changes.

Does yeast overgrowth management work?

This therapy has not yet been rated.

There are some warnings about the use of yeast overgrowth management therapy:

  • People who use the antifungal medication fluconazole (Diflucan) over a long period need a doctor to monitor their liver function to make sure there are no toxic effects. Skin conditions have also been associated with this antifungal agent.
  • Side effects including diarrhoea have been associated with long-term use of the antifungal medication nystatin (Nizoral).

Who practises yeast overgrowth management?

GPs, paediatricians or paediatric dietitians can give you information about this therapy.

Parent education, training, support and involvement

If your child is taking antifungal agents, you need to learn about appropriate doses for your child. You also need to ensure that your child is monitored for potential side effects like liver toxicity.

Where can you find a practitioner?

It's best to speak to your GP or paediatrician or a paediatric dietician before using antifungal agents or changing your child's diet substantially.

You could also talk about this therapy with your NDIA planner, NDIS early childhood partner or NDIS local area coordination partner, if you have one.

There are many treatments for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They range from those based on behaviour and development to those based on medicine or alternative therapy. Our article on types of interventions for children with ASD takes you through the main treatments, so you can better understand your child's options.