Although largely ignored in today’s traditional and integrative medical landscape, intestinal parasites – some of which are also referred to as “worms” – are real and pose a serious threat to human health and well-being. A common misconception about parasites is that they only infect people in third-world and impoverished countries. In reality, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, such infections also occur in the United States and can affect millions of people.
There are different kinds of parasites, including those that are single-celled protozoa and those that are many-celled – the “worms.” Some of the most common parasites that affect humans are:
●Enterobius vermicularis (Pinworm)
●Giardia lamblia (Giardia)
●Ancylostoma duodenale (Old World Hookworm)
●Entamoeba histolytica (Amebiasis)
●Ascaris lumbricoides (Large Roundworm)
●Necator americanus (New World Hookworm)
Parasites typically enter human bodies through the mouth or skin. Unclean or contaminated food or water can introduce parasites to the body, as can insects (by biting the skin) or even direct skin contact with a parasite. Diagnosis of a parasitic infection is typically made by a laboratory inspection of blood, urine, stool, or skin. Some parasites are visible in stool and their eggs can be detected in stool and around the anus.
A parasite, by definition, is an organism that lives off of, or in, another organism and derives its nutrition from the host. Parasites can live and thrive in different parts of the human body, but in general, when parasitic infestation shows itself in the gastrointestinal tract, symptoms can include:
●Nausea or vomiting
●Flatulence or bloating
●A rash or itching, particularly around the rectum or vulva
●Feeling chronically tired
●Unwanted weight loss
Treatment for parasitic infestation typically involves a prescription medication which, taken over a few days, kills the parasite and allows the body to expel it. Natural approaches also exist and typically include ingestion of herbs including garlic, goldenseal, anise seed, wormwood, black walnut, and others. However, evidence for these natural approaches need to be verified.
Following treatment, a physician will re-test the patient to be sure that the parasite has been cleared from the body. Because re-infection is possible and can lead to more serious complications, it is important to follow preventative measures which include practicing good hygiene, avoiding insect bites, and being careful to avoid contact with contaminated soil, water, or food.
Disclaimer: This information is meant to be used for educational purposes. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These ingredients and DrNatura is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any diseases.
As with any medical information on health, it is always best to check with your personal physician who knows your medical history best since they are more qualified in giving you the best recommendation. Our information, advice or recommendation is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have.