The Role of Mold and Candida in Hormonal Autoimmunity in Females

By Dr. Susan Tanner, MD


Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves disease are both autoimmune diseases in which the body mounts an immune response to one’s own thyroid gland and the hormones it produces.  They are well-researched and described in the medical literature. We have also discussed them in our previous articles about mold and thyroid.   What is less known, however, are the autoimmune types of situations involving female hormones.  These can include endometriosis, PMS, and other issues that can contribute to pain and even infertility.

The belief in Environmental Medicine is that the body’s immune system can become imbalanced after the accumulation of a “load” which may be comprised of viruses, toxicity (including mold), and genetics. When the threshold of the individual becomes exceeded (this is unique to each person), then immune reactivity can occur. In this article we will concentrate on reactive presentations specific to female hormone problems.

Toxicity and Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a disorder of increasing frequency.  The endometrium is the spongy lining inside the uterus, which swells, sheds, and bleeds on a monthly cycle.  It is responsible for nourishing a fetus, as the blood supply to it is rich. When bits and pieces of the endometrium begin to grow in places outside of the uterine lining, the condition is referred to as endometriosis.  Commonly, this can affect fallopian tubes and ovaries but has also been known to spread to the wall of the colon.  Under the control of hormones, these areas swell and bleed just as the uterus does, creating pain, cysts, adhesions and infertility in some cases.  Medical literature has not really been able to answer the question of why this happens but a growing number of studies in environmental medicine point to several possible causes.  One is toxicity.   A study from some years back done on primates showed that every female gorilla subjected to pesticide exposure developed endometriosis.  This was quite telling, as endometriosis had never been described in primates other than humans prior to this.

Candida As a Trigger for Endometriosis

Among the Endometriosis Society in the United States, it was suggested that the presence of candida yeast was a trigger for endometriosis development.  It was/is believed that the ongoing presence of candida creates an autoimmune condition in which the body sensitizes not only to candida but to female hormones as well.  Skin testing by the provocation/neutralization technique to candida, estrogen, and progesterone supported this theory, and the concomitant allergy treatments to the same yielded benefits to the patients.  That said, continuing efforts to suppress or eliminate the candida were required. I believe we can further extrapolate this information to include mold elimination from the environment for the following reasons:

  1. First, we have seen patients with autoimmune thyroid disease become much better, if not completely cured by mold remediation.
  2. Secondly, with regards to the study of pesticides and primates, the liver’s function of detoxification of pesticides is very much like that of mold mycotoxins. By lowering the burden on the liver in all ways possible, it stands to reason that hormonal autoimmunity would be improved, just as it is for those with thyroid autoimmune diseases. For example, many Hashimoto’s sufferers see marked improvement in thyroid symptoms when they get into a mold-free environment.
  3. Finally, the treatment of candida almost always improves hormonal symptoms to some extent. For example, if the candida is interfering with the gut microbiome and is also releasing toxins inside the body, hormonal imbalances naturally occur, because the body is prioritizing dealing with the “threat,” and is not secreting or signaling hormonal production as it should.

Not only is endometriosis a manifestation of hormonal autoimmunity, but other syndromes as well seem to respond favorably to similar treatments aimed at eliminating mold and candida.  These syndromes include PMS (and all of the symptomology that this brings in), fibrocystic breasts, irregular periods, and Polycystic ovarian syndrome.  In all of these scenarios, nearly every time these patients are tested, they show reactivity on skin testing to candida, and their own hormones, especially progesterone.

Provocation/Neutralization Testing and Therapy

Provocation/neutralization skin testing is a very specific kind of allergy testing that is only done by a small percentage of doctors and most of them are in the academy of environmental medicine.  It is not commonly done by a traditional allergist, although a few do perform the testing. You will have to ask them to be tested.  It is a time-consuming process that I will not attempt to describe here, but it requires a knowledgeable and well-trained staff member to do the testing. Once the test is done, a treatment vial is given that is administered either by drops under the tongue or by self injection.  It is a very therapy safe and not life threatening in any way. For more information on this, go to where you can find practitioners listed by city and state.

Back to Mold/Candida and Hormones

A reaction to hormones does not mean that your body does not need the hormones or that other imbalances don’t exist that may be also be contributing to your symptoms.  But recognizing and treating the body’s reaction to one’s own proteins or hormones can help to heal these imbalances as well as supplying needed remedial hormonal treatments. Afterall, all body systems are interconnected and operate in response to one another. When one thing is off, like mold in your environment, there are almost always downstream effects. As many of you reading this know, ripple effect can go on and on until the triggering threat is finally dealt with and/or eliminated.

Both mold and candida need to be considered and addressed in all the ways we have mentioned in prior articles in order for treatment for hormonal autoimmunity issues to be successful.  That brings us back to the basics or the “big three” pillars of health that need to be in place for all bodies to thrive: clean air, clean water, clean food;  without these,  other treatments are temporarily successful at best and complete failures at worst. I will not tackle each at the close of the article, but, at a minimum, check your air and surroundings for mold and chemicals and, if you find them, eliminate them.  Keep your water intake pure and plentiful.  Keep your diet free of additives, chemicals, and sugar. Finally, take the steps needed to restore the gut lining, so that it can be at its best and protect your body with optimal immune function. This will include taking steps the eliminate the pathogens, like candida, that may be dominating the terrain, as well as replenishing the gut with beneficial bacteria and nutrients.

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