You might have heard scary stories about giant tapeworms living inside people. But most parasites are so tiny you need a microscope to see them! Many people worldwide have these little creatures in them and don't even know it.
You might have too much yeast or tiny parasitic worms in your belly. If you feel abdominal pain or stomach pain, it might be because of parasitic infections. The CDC, a significant health group in the U.S., says that more than 40 million people in America have a long-lasting sickness called toxoplasmosis. You can get this sickness from eating undercooked meat or drinking contaminated water.
Also, about 14% of people in America have had contact with another kind of tiny worm called Toxocara. This often happens when people eat raw meat. In places where things are not very clean and people need more money, the problem is even worse. The World Health Organization tells us that more than 700,000 people die every year worldwide because of tiny worms and diseases from bugs like mosquitoes. Some of these bugs have adult worms that can make you feel sick. The actual number of people with these diseases is even higher than reported.
The World Inside You
Our bodies have many tiny living things like yeast and bacteria. We have over three pounds of these little creatures in our bellies! We need them to help us digest food and absorb nutrients. Good bacteria, called probiotics, are essential for our health.
These tiny living things inside us are a big deal. They help with digestion, strengthen our immune system, and even affect our mood. But they can also make us more likely to get sick from parasites.
Good Bacteria Out of Balance
When the good bacteria inside us get mixed up, we can have problems. This can happen for many reasons: the food we eat, certain medicines we take, feeling stressed or coming into contact with something infected. Our bodies also usually have yeasts, but too much of them can be bad for our health.
For example, you might have heard of yeast infections in women. These are usually a clue that there's a bigger problem happening inside the body.
The Unwanted Guests: Parasites
The most worrying thing that can live inside the human body is parasites. Unfortunately, many people have them, particularly those who are very sick or have conditions like cancer. They often have at least one kind of parasite, sometimes due to poor sanitation or a lack of clean water. Studies in the field of Infectious Diseases confirm this worrisome trend.
Parasites can range from super tiny, visible only with a microscope, to big ones like adult tapeworms that can be several feet long. Imagine a tapeworm can attach itself to your intestinal wall and stay alive inside you for over 30 years! Stomach cramps can be one of the many symptoms you experience during the incubation period of the parasite. Infections from parasites can last a long time, too, causing severe illness in some cases.
Some common parasites come from contaminated soil or are considered tropical diseases. Since parasites are so versatile, it's crucial to ensure you're drinking clean water and taking other necessary precautions, especially if you're experiencing stomach cramps, which could be a sign of a parasitic infection.
Maintaining clean water and good hygiene can lower the risks of hosting these unwelcome guests in your body. So, please pay attention to stomach cramps or other symptoms, as they may signal that something is off within your system.
Different Types of Parasites
Nobody likes to think about creepy critters in their belly. However, knowing what could be there is good because many people have them. Many different kinds of parasites can live in our gut and other parts of our body. Here's a list of some common ones:
Around 800 million people around the world have whipworms. They like to stay in the big intestine, one of the body sites where they reside, and come from a group of parasites called helminths. You can get them from dirty soil and food that grows in that soil, like some raw foods. Some people don't even know they have them because there are no signs. Water from lakes can also be a source if it's contaminated.
Tapeworms mostly stay in the gut, another one of the body sites, but they can travel to other places like the brain, liver, spine, and heart. Young tapeworms form little sacs and can live in different organs. They are a common source of salmonella infection, especially if you consume contaminated raw foods.
These worms can live in different parts of your body, like the gut, blood, and special tubes that carry liquid in your body (lymphatic system). One kind of roundworm is called Ascariasis. Roundworms can also cause salmonella infection, particularly if you've been exposed to water from contaminated lakes or have consumed raw foods that are infected.
These are the most common worms in the U.S. Female pinworms lay lots of tiny eggs when sleeping, making your bottom itch and mess up your sleep. Kids often give it to each other. It's essential to wash bed sheets, pajamas, and underwear often. And if one person in the family has it, everyone should be treated.
These are other kinds of helminths. They stick to the wall of the small intestine and can make you lose blood. Many don't know they have them because they don't feel sick.
The CDC says only 10-20% of people with this parasite feel sick. It's more common in hot countries or if you visit one.
These are tiny parasites like giardia. They can get into your blood from bug bites. They can also live in your gut and be passed on in poop.
Cryptosporidium aka (Crypto)
This one is often found in water and is a common reason people get sick from water in the U.S. It can give you stomach problems and make you lose weight. Not everyone with it feels sick, but they can still provide it to others.
How Do You Get Parasites
You might be wondering how these unwanted critters get inside you in the first place. Well, it can happen in many ways, depending on the type of parasite. You could get them from touching dirty soil, eating food not fully cooked, or even bites by specific bugs. Traveling to countries with fewer health resources or drinking water that's not clean puts you at risk, too. Because some parasites are so tiny and can live on things like doorknobs for weeks, they can spread quickly from person to person.
Getting rid of parasites isn't just a one-step deal. It's usually a process that involves three main steps:
- Eliminate the Invaders: The first thing is to eliminate the parasites. This often involves medication that targets the specific type of parasite you have.
- Flush Them Out: After killing them, you'll need to flush the dead parasites and the toxins they've produced out of your body. This can involve taking more medicine or other treatments to clean out your system.
- Help Your Body Heal: The last step is to help your body recover and build itself back up. This can involve eating healthy, taking vitamins or other supplements that boost your body's natural defenses.
How to Tell If You Have Parasites
It can be challenging to determine if you have parasites, as many symptoms can be subtle or easily confused with other health issues. Some parasites are so discreet that they don't even cause noticeable symptoms! However, if you're experiencing multiple issues from the list below, it's worth considering that you might have a parasitic infection.
Common Symptoms of Parasites
- Weak Immune System: Frequent sickness
- Itchy Rear: Especially troubling during nighttime
- Digestive Troubles: Including bloating, cramps, constipation, diarrhea, or nausea
- Feeling Drained: Constant fatigue
- Vision Issues: Spots or 'floaters' in the eyes
- Sleep Struggles: Difficulty sleeping and grinding teeth at night
- Blood Issues: Such as anemia
- Respiratory Problems: Like asthma
- Flu-like Feelings: General malaise
- Muscle Pain: Pain in Muscles and Joints
- Skin Conditions: Psoriasis or eczema
- Intense Hunger: Even after eating
- Mood Disorders: Anxiety and depression
Risks of Untreated Parasites
Suppose you ignore these symptoms and don't get treated. In that case, parasites, as well as yeast and Candida overgrowth, can contribute to severe and long-term health conditions, such as:
- Fertility Issues: Including permanent damage to fertility
- Serious Diseases: Like cancer and Multiple Sclerosis
- Autoimmune Disorders
- Bone Health: Conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis
- Nutritional Issues: Malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies
- Chronic Fatigue
- Gut Issues: Such as Leaky Gut Syndrome
- Kidney Stones
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Like Crohn's Disease
- Skin Problems: Including eczema and psoriasis
- Sleep Disorders: Insomnia and sleep disturbances
- Digestive Issues
Parasite Cleanse for Kids
Parasite cleanses for kids is a treatment approach to eliminate parasitic infections that may affect children, including diarrhea among children and even diaper-aged children. Often consisting of natural remedies and prescribed medications, a parasite cleanse for kids is designed to rid the body of organisms that depend on the host for survival at the host's expense.
Conducting a parasite cleanse for kids requires particular caution, especially regarding diarrhea among children or diaper-aged children. A qualified healthcare provider must always supervise it to ensure it is safe and effective. Furthermore, it is essential to remember that not all parasite cleanses are suitable for children, making professional guidance indispensable.
Before starting any parasite cleanse for kids, including those aimed at diaper-aged children, obtaining an accurate diagnosis to target the specific type of parasite involved is crucial.
Adding these considerations makes the importance of professional supervision and accurate diagnosis even more apparent, especially when children's health is at stake.
Conventional Parasite Treatments
Usually, if you go to a healthcare provider suspecting a parasitic infection, they will ask for a stool sample. Traditional tests often require live, visible parasites in the stool sample to confirm a condition. However, more advanced PCR tests can detect even dead or dormant parasites. If you test positive, you'll typically be prescribed anti-parasitic medication to eliminate the infection.
Natural Remedies for Intestinal Parasites
If you're interested in natural alternatives, there are several effective methods to help your body combat and expel parasites.
Change Your Diet
Eating healthily is crucial since a robust immune system is your first line of defense against parasites. Consuming too much sugar can weaken your immune system and create an environment where microbes thrive. So, cutting out processed sugar is highly recommended. Even natural sugars in honey and certain fruits should be minimized during an active infection.
Consider using natural stevia occasionally, but avoid anything that provides a sugar source to the body, as this could nourish the parasites or yeast. Additionally, consider cutting out dairy temporarily to give your body an extra boost. Focusing on whole foods rich in nutrients is essential for building a solid defense against parasites.
Other Natural Remedies
While changing your diet is critical, other natural remedies can also help treat parasites. For example, some people turn to herbal supplements known to have anti-parasitic properties. These can include herbs like wormwood, black walnut, and garlic. However, it's essential to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new conventional or natural treatment.
Sweating as a Detox Method
As your body works to eliminate parasites, it's essential also to get rid of their toxic by-products. Some of these, like heavy metals, are most effectively expelled through sweat. You can induce sweating through various means, such as physical exercise, time in a sauna, or even strenuous outdoor activities like gardening. Additionally, consuming cayenne pepper can raise your body temperature and promote sweating, aiding detox.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is a naturally occurring sedimentary rock that is highly effective in killing parasites and their eggs. Besides its anti-parasitic properties, DE is rich in silica, which is essential for hair, skin, and nail growth. It even contains trace minerals and aids in digestion.
To incorporate DE into your routine, mix one teaspoon in eight ounces of water daily. Gradually increase this to one to two tablespoons a day. Make sure to use only food-grade DE. Taking DE could lead to a Herxheimer reaction, a temporary symptom increase due to the toxins released from dying parasites.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is a versatile household item with numerous health benefits, from lowering blood sugar to improving digestion. While it's not a standalone parasite treatment, it can strengthen your body's natural defenses.
Because of its potency, ACV should be diluted in water before consumption. A good starting point is one teaspoon up to three times daily, taken 30 minutes before meals. You can gradually increase the amount to one tablespoon as your body adapts.
One of the vital components of a healthy digestive system is the balance of gut flora. Parasitic infections, antibiotics, and hormonal birth control can disrupt this balance. Probiotics effectively restore good gut bacteria, which is essential for a healthy digestive system. Including fermented foods in your diet can be beneficial, as can probiotic supplements. However, it's advisable to refrain from consuming probiotics within an hour of taking Apple Cider Vinegar or Diatomaceous Earth.
Herbs and Spices
- Garlic: Known for its potent antimicrobial properties, garlic is effective against various pathogens and parasites. Incorporate raw garlic cloves into your meals to reap its benefits.
- Cinnamon: This spice is another effective anti-parasitic agent. Mix half a teaspoon of high-quality cinnamon powder in water, kefir, or coconut milk yogurt and consume it up to three times daily.
- Essential Oils: Oils like clove, eucalyptus, fennel, and white camphor have anti-parasitic properties and can be diffused or used topically. However, consult a qualified aromatherapist before internal use.
- Other Herbs: Andrographis, wormwood, clove, and black walnut hull are often used for their anti-parasitic effects. Always research thoroughly or consult an expert before starting any new herbal regimen.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and can significantly enhance your immune system. If you're experiencing symptoms of a parasitic infection, consider taking up to 5 grams of Vitamin C per day, distributed in 2-3 doses. However, excessive Vitamin C can lead to loose stools, so adjust your dosage as needed.
Coconut oil is a natural anti-fungal and offers a range of health benefits. It's excellent for cooking and can even be blended into coffee or tea. Consuming several tablespoons daily can support healthy bowel movements, which is particularly important when eliminating toxins.
Herxheimer's reaction, named after the German dermatologist Karl Herxheimer, who first identified it, occurs when large quantities of pathogens like parasites or yeast are rapidly killed off, releasing toxins into the bloodstream that can overwhelm the body's detoxification systems. To minimize the impact of this "die-off" reaction during parasite treatment, it's advisable to adopt an anti-yeast and anti-parasite diet several weeks before initiating any remedies or supplements.
Starting with small doses of treatments like apple cider vinegar and diatomaceous earth and gradually increasing them allows the body to adapt. It may reduce the severity of Herxheimer's symptoms. If symptoms resembling a cold or flu appear, it's likely a mild form of Herxheimer's reaction; reducing supplement dosages and increasing water intake can help alleviate these symptoms more quickly.
Always consult healthcare professionals for proper diagnosis and treatment plans tailored to your condition.
Other Important Notes on Intestinal Parasites
A comprehensive approach that includes lifestyle changes is essential for effective management of intestinal parasites. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep bolster the body's natural defenses.
Epsom salt baths and adequate hydration can help detoxify while avoiding sugar and refined carbs and speeding up healing. Aim for at least nine hours of sleep for optimal recovery. Always consult healthcare professionals for proper diagnosis and treatment.