There is a misconception that intestinal parasites only exist in underdeveloped countries. Indeed they are more common there, but they are much more common than you think in developed countries as well. It’s not a very nice thought to know that you are a host to a colony of intestinal parasites, but you are not alone. According to the World Health Organization you are one of more that 3 billion people who suffer from some type of intestinal parasites, and not all these people live in undeveloped and poor countries.
Parasites in general are classified into many groups, but the two main types of intestinal parasites are helminths and protozoa. Helminths are worms with many cells that cannot multiply in the human body, such as tapeworms, pinworms, and roundworms. Protozoa, on the other hand, have only one cell and can multiply inside the human body and can cause serious infections.
Intestinal parasites are usually transmitted when a person comes in contact with infected feces (for example, through contaminated soil, food or water). There are other things that can increase your risk for getting intestinal parasites, such as visiting an area known to have parasites, poor hygiene and sanitation (for both food and water), having a weak immune system, handling animals and age factor (children and the elderly are more likely to get infected). Once you are infected with parasites, it is contagious and can be easily passed to other people.
As the name of parasites suggests, they live inside us and feed off us. In places with high hygiene levels parasites don’t cause a great threat, but in poor countries and places where hygiene is low and sanitary conditions are poor, parasites can pose a real life threat. When our intestines become a host to parasites, even the high levels of acid in the digestive tract cannot protect our body, so our body tries to defend itself through our immune system, and the gut can become inflamed. The intestinal parasites prevent from the food we eat to be absorbed properly by the body and release toxins into the bloodstream and lymphatic system. Severe infections can cause a bowel obstruction when your intestine is partly or completely blocked. The blockage prevents food, fluids, and gas from moving through the intestines in the normal way. Severe infestation can also cause anemia as it can cause bleeding in the intestines.
The problem is that because there are so many types of parasites, they may cause a wide range of symptoms, and only a few of them are actually digestive in nature. So if you have tried various treatments to relieve your symptoms without success, you may have intestinal parasites that can be the hidden cause of many unresolved health issues you have.
1. Excessive food cravings or alternatively loss of appetite
2. Weight lost
3. Stomach pain
4. Constipation, diarrhea, gas, or other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
5. Blood sugar fluctuations
6. Skin disorders, such as acute itching around the rectum and other body parts, rashes or other skin irritations
7. Anxiety and depression
8. Sleep disorders
9. pain or aching muscles or joints
10. Fatigue and exhaustion
11. Iron-deficiency or anemia
12. Immune disorders with excessive number of bacterial, fungal or viral infections
13. Diminished sex-drive
14. Bloody stools
15. Nausea or vomiting
The treatment for getting rid of intestinal parasitic infections can be done through conventional medication or through the use of alternative medical treatments.
If you suspect you have intestinal parasites, your doctor will be able to do a stool test to confirm it and use prescription medication that is most effective against your intestinal parasite.
1. Herbs – some of the more commonly prescribed herbal treatments include: garlic, goldenseal, barbery, anise, Oregon grape, wormwood, wormseed, black walnuts, curled mint, cloves, oregano, thyme and olive leaf. Consult a physician before taking any anti-parasite herbal supplement. You can learn how to use Herbal Medicine effectively to heal away disease & illnesses in my ebook: The Herbal Remedies Guide.
2. Supplements – consult a physician before taking any supplements to make sure they don’t interfere with current medication you take.
Probiotics (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacilus plantarum, Saccharomyces boulardii, and bifidobacteria help keep your digestive tract healthy and this discourages parasites. I have already written in the past about the 9 reasons to take probiotics and why they are so good for your health.
Digestive enzymes help to restore your intestinal tract to its normal state, which makes it inhospitable to parasites. Papain is an enzyme from the papaya plant that may help kill worms when taken 30 minutes before or after meals. Papain is also one of the main ingredients in my Digestive Enzyme Detox Smoothie.
Vitamin C – supports the immune system.
Zinc – supports the immune system as well and also used to heal stomach ulcers.
3. Homeopathic treatments – homeopathic remedies for parasite infections may include: Cina; Indigo; Spigelia; Podophyllum; Cuprum oxidatum nigrum; Teucrium; Sabadilla; Stanum.
4. Diet – A diet rich in raw garlic, pumpkin seeds, papaya seeds, pineapple, carrots, beets and pomegranates can help to kill parasites.
– In one study, researchers found that a mixture of honey and papaya seeds with plenty of water are good to flush the system.
– Consuming more fiber may helps the body get rid of worms.
– Avoid simple carbohydrates, such as refined foods, sweetened juices and sugars.
– Drink plenty of water to aid fecal elimination.
– Temporarily avoid coffee and alcohol.
– Consume foods rich in beta carotene, a precursor for vitamin A, such as carrots, sweet potatoes and squash. Vitamin A is thought to increase resistance to the parasites.
– Add spices such as turmeric and cloves that can help fight parasites.
5. Intestinal cleansing – this is a popular alternative approach that involves the use of a high fiber diet and supplements such as psyllium husks, citrus pectin, papaya extract, bentonite clay, activated charcoal, pumpkin seeds, beet root and flaxseed. If you are interested in detoxifying your body, you can find more useful information in my e-book The Detox Guide. This guide will teach you how to cleanse and energize your body, increase stamina and improve your body’s digestive process.
We’ve already mentioned that parasite infections is very contagious. You can easily pass parasites eggs onto anything or anyone you touch. Therefore it is important to wash your hands and maintain good hygiene habits to reduce the chances of further transmission. Wash your hands after going to the restroom and before eating or preparing food. If you travel overseas, pay attention to the quality of drinking water and the hygiene of the food you consume and wash fruits and vegetables well.
Your digestive system is complicated. If your digestive system doesn’t function properly, you may be interested to read my article about the 5 reasons your digestive system doesn’t function properly and what to do about that:
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