Parasites are any organism that derives its food, nutrition and shelter by living in or on another organisms. They can live in the body for many years without causing symptoms and when they do, the symptoms are often subtle. Parasites are ubiquitous and difficult to diagnose without the right testing as their symptoms are vague or mimic other illnesses.

Parasites are Common in the United States

Parasites are a very common yet under-diagnosed or misdiagnosed problem. We often perceive parasites to be a disease of developing countries however parasites in the U.S. affects millions of people. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that between 100,000- 1,000,000 cases of Giardia lamblia occur each year in Americans, and that one in every six people, had one or more parasites. Most parasitic infections probably result  from ingestion of food or water contaminated with sewage. Other factors which have contributed to the increase in parasitic infection are travel, water contamination, day care centers, increased immigration, armed forces, pets, processed and sugary foods, antibiotics and immunosuppressive drugs and HIV/AIDS. 

Parasite Symptoms

Parasites can generally be divided into two groups:

Helminthes which are multicellular parasites or worms and are most commonly found in the intestines, liver and pancreas and do not reproduce in the body. An adult worm can range from 15-35 cm., or almost 14 inches! Helminthes are contracted through exposure to feces, water or soil and tend to be more common in children, while protozoa can be found in food, water, insect and animal bites and contact surfaces. 

Protozoa which are single celled parasites that can infest the entire body causing serious infections. They rapidly multiply in the body. The most common in the U.S. are giardia and cryptosporidium.

Parasite Treatment

Stool tests are very useful in finding parasites.

Protozoan infections may be traditionally treated with antibiotics, immune building herbs, binding clays. Herbs such as wormwood, black walnut, maiden barber and absinth have been traditionally used as curatives particularly when treating worms. Other herbs and medications may be used depending upon what your practitioner finds through examination, testing and your medical history.

The goal of any parasitic treatment is to eradicate the parasites and not just relieve the symptoms. People who live together can infect one another when making food or sharing the bathroom. It is a good idea to treat all household members at the same time.The protocol for treatment of gastrointestinal parasites is:

Through proper lab testing and treatment of intestinal parasites,  health can be greatly improved.

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Gastrointestinal Therapy

Having Gastrointestinal symptoms? Check for parasites!