Many people are living with parasites in their body without even being aware of it. Parasites are microorganisms that live and feed of other organisms. Some of them can be a direct cause of diseases, while others cause diseases due to the toxins they produce.
There are numerous types of parasites such as tapeworms, lambia, hookworms, trichinella, etc. Some survive feeding off the food you consume; some lay eggs inside the body while others feed off red blood cells. These dangerous microorganisms enter our bodies through the skin or mouth and the risk of infestation is increased if you enter areas full of parasites, travel to places with infestations or consume contaminated water or food. The risk further increases due to poor sanitation and hygiene or having close contact with pets.
Here are the usual symptoms of parasitic infestation:
Chronic digestive problems
Parasites cause inflammation when they are present in the intestines, damaging the intestinal lining which results in diarrhea. The toxic waste they produce causes gas, bloating, nausea, constipation and burning sensation in the stomach. Fiber-rich and alkaline foods can help you relieve the symptoms, but if they continue, you should consider using a parasite cleanse.
Parasites in the upper small intestinal region can cause inflammation and irritation, leading to bloating and pain. Parasites can block the passing of waste material which results in pain in the abdomen. This kind of pain is related to roundworms, fluke, hookworms and tapeworms. A study from 1986 has shown that hookworm infestation causes abdominal discomfort especially in people who have travelled abroad. If you suffer from abdominal pain every now and then, you should visit the doctor to exclude parasitic infections.
Pinworms are usually responsible for this symptom which occurs when female parasites lay eggs in the rectum. When you scratch the area, the skin breaks and the risk of a secondary bacterial infection increases, and because the itching often occurs overnight, sleeping difficulties and insomnia may occur. If you’re experiencing this symptom for more than 2 weeks, you should visit a doctor at once.
Fatigue and weakness
These two symptoms are related to intestinal worms which feed off your body’s nutrients. When you’re lacking essential vitamins and minerals, the body becomes weak, leaving you exhausted and depressed at a physical, but also on mental and emotional level. The organs work harder due to the overload of toxic metabolic waste produced by the parasites leading to low energy levels, fatigue and weakness.
Change of appetite and weight loss
Increased appetite and weight loss at the same time can mean that you’re suffering from tapeworm or pinworm infestation. The parasites feed off the food you eat through the day, making you feel constantly hungry, even after eating a meal. Consult a doctor if you experience these symptoms.
A parasitic infestation can cause hallucinations, anxiety, depression and mood swings, which often come in pair with digestive issues. The toxic metabolic waste produced by the parasites attacks neurons and neurotransmitters, causing mood swings, restlessness, nervousness and depression. According to scientists, intestinal inflammation can result in brain inflammation and vice versa.
This unusual symptom occurs overnight because of anxiety and restlessness as well as because of the waste and toxins released by the parasites in the body. A study published by the Dental Research Journal in 2010 revealed the connection between parasitic infestation and bruxism in children, which is why you need to check your kid’s stool in order to make sure that the symptom is not caused by parasites.
Anemia or iron deficiency
Anemia is often caused by roundworm or pinworm infestations as the parasites are feeding off nutrients including iron. A study published by Indian Pediatrics in 2003 spoke about a prevalence of intestinal parasites up to 30-50% and anemia from 40-73% in school girls aged 2-4 in Karnataka. This problem was probably caused by poor hygiene, illiteracy and other factors. Another study from 2008, this time coming from Nigeria, reported that worm infestation and anemia were present in preschool children of peasant farmers in Calabar, Nigeria. Anemia prevents proper development in children and the infestation causes weight loss.
Inflammation caused by parasites can result in skin rashes, hives, eczema and other allergies. The toxic waste released by parasites increases the levels of eosinophil in the blood, resulting in ulcers, lesions, swelling and sores. Parasites can also cause dry skin, brittle hair and hair loss.
Pain and muscle in the joints
Some parasites can infest the muscle and joint tissue, becoming enclosed in cysts and causing inflammation and pain. This symptom is usually mistaken for osteoarthritis, but it is caused by the parasites releasing toxins which cause inflammatory reaction in the body. If the pain doesn’t go away, you should visit a doctor.