Parasites – Signs and symptoms

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parasites in dogs

It can be scary thought when you think about having parasites in your body but you should know that you are not alone. Parasites are far more common that you can imagine. There are many people who think that parasites only exist in underdeveloped countries but this is not a truth. There are many people who go to regular checkups and when their doctors see their conditions then they notice that they have parasites. Parasites can cause many different symptoms but only a few of them are digestive in nature. The definition which is used to describe the parasite is next: “Parasite is any organism that is living and feeding off on another organism”. Intestinal parasites are tiny organisms, usually worms and they feed off of your nutrition. There are many types of parasites, such as hookworms, whipworms, pinworms, tapeworms, roundworms, etc. Parasites come in many different shapes and sizes and they can cause you a lot of problems [1]. Some parasites consume your food which will leave you hungry after every meal but you will not able to gain weight. Other parasites feed of your red blood cells which is causing you anemia. Some parasites lay eggs which can cause you irritability, itching and even insomnia. If you tried so many different ways to heal your gut and to get a relief from the symptoms but you do not have any success in it, then the parasite could be the underlying cause for many unresolved and unexplained symptoms.

blood parasites

Signs and symptoms of parasites

Here are some signs and symptoms which can show you that you have parasites:

  • You have been diagnosed with iron – deficiency anemia
  • You never feel satisfied or full after your meals
  • You experience fatigue, exhaustion, depression or frequent feelings of apathy
  • You have pain or aching in your muscles or joints
  • You grind your teeth in your sleep
  • You get skin irritations or unexplained rashes, hives, rosacea or eczema
  • You have trouble falling asleep or you wake up multiple times during the night
  • You have a history of food poisoning and your digestion has not been the same since
  • You travelled internationally and remember getting traveler’s diarrhea while abroad
  • You can have an unexplained gas, diarrhea, constipation or other symptoms of IBS

The signs of parasite can often appear unexplained and unrelated. We know that there are many different types of parasites that we are exposed to in our environments. Parasites are causing more constipation in the affected patients than diarrhea but there are some parasites which are capable to change the fluid balance in your gut and to cause diarrhea [2]. Parasites can release toxins in the bloodstream and this could lead to muscle pain, mood changes, skin irritations and trouble sleeping. These toxins can cause anxiety which can manifest in many different ways. You can wake up in the middle of the night or grinding your teeth in your sleep and they are signs that your body is experiencing anxiety while you rest.

Causes of parasites

There are many different ways in which you can contract a parasite. It is known that parasites can enter your body through contaminated water and food. Also parasites hide in undercooked meat [3], as well as in the contaminated water from underdeveloped countries, creeks, ponds or lakes. But the meat it is not the only thing which can make you to have parasites. Also the unclean or contaminated vegetables [4] and fruits can be a living place for parasites. There are some parasites which can enter your body by traveling through the bottom of your feet. When the person is infected with a parasite, then it is easy to pass it on. If you are affected by parasites and you do not wash your hands after you have used the restroom, then you can easily pass microscopic parasite eggs onto anything you touch, such as phone, the salt shaker, the door handle, etc. Also you can get a parasite when you are handling an animal that is affected with parasites [5]. One of the best ways to prevent parasite contamination and transmission is to wash your hands. Also when you are travelling overseas, then you can get foreign parasites. If you drink contaminated water during your travel, then you can also get some kind of parasite.

References:

[1] Haque R. Human intestinal parasites. Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition. 2007;25(4):387-91.

[2] Zhao Y, Yu YB. Intestinal microbiota and chronic constipation. Springerplus. 2016;5(1):1130.

[3] Nierenberg C. Organic meat may have higher parasite risk. Live Science. 2012. Retrieved from www.livescience.com/20856-organic-meat-toxoplasmosis-parasite-risk.html

[4] Said DE. Detection of parasites in commonly consumed raw vegetables. Alexandria Journal of Medicine. 2012;48(4):345-52.

[5] Greay TL, Zahedi A, Krige AS, et al. Endemic, exotic and novel apicomplexan parasites detected during a national study of ticks from companion animals in Australia. Parasites & Vectors. 2018;11(197).

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