Speaking of so called phantom illnesses, a recent randomized double blind trial of women suffering from candidiasis demonstrated that treatment with nystatin did not significantly reduce symptoms any better than a placebo.
“Consequently, the empirical recommendation of long term nystatin therapy for such women appears to be unwarranted,” said the New England Journal of Medicine.
However, an editorial in the same issue pointed out that diet, avoidance of mould and other current therapies were not tested and couldn’t be in an double blind fashion (ie, a study in which neither subject, control or researcher knows who is getting the real therapy and who, the placebo). Consequently, the study would be rejected as any definitive proof that chronic systemic candida albicans does not exist.
The editorial also pointed out that proponents of the syndrome complain that doctors are not listening to patients, who continue to maintain that they are not feeling well, even if their standard lab tests prove nothing is wrong. The other complaint is that the profession refuses to study the illness.
What the study points to is the need for a new medical test to prove the existence of candida besides the randomized, double blind one so close to every scientist’s heart. A new testing procedure may also isolate this syndrome from others like ME or depression, which have similar symptoms, so that not everyone complaining of chronic unwellness gets a restricted diet and long term nystatin treatment. As one clinical ecologist once put it, “When all you’ve got is a hammer, everything starts looking like a nail.”