Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment of Intestinal Parasites
Everyone would like to protect themselves from any infection, especially one that sounds as menacing as intestinal parasites or worms. Many people have likely at least heard of this condition, but probably could not tell you too much about it. Learning more about this condition is an important first step towards taking the appropriate precautions. With that in mind, below is a review of some of the commonly requested information about this illness so that you can know how to identify and treat it if necessary.
What Are Intestinal Worms?
Intestinal worms are so small that they cannot be seen with the naked eye. They are generally transmitted by consuming contaminated food or water, and can even be transmitted through contact with people or places that lack proper hygiene or sanitation. In general this condition is harmless, but can be very serious for people with weakened immune systems, the elderly, or children. The two main types of parasites are protozoa and helminthes. Protozoa are one-celled organisms that can easily multiply once inside their human host. Helminthes are multi-celled organisms such as tapeworms or roundworms. Unlike protozoa, this type of parasite cannot multiply once embedded in its human host.
What Are The Symptoms of Intestinal Parasites?
Symptoms of intestinal parasites are varied, and it is important to point out that they can usually live in the human body for many years and never cause any symptoms to be evident. Having said that, when intestinal parasites symptoms do appear, the most frequent ones are diarrhea or vomiting, since your body is trying to rid itself of a parasite; abdominal pain, nausea, tiredness and weight loss. If you go to your doctor and present these symptoms, he or she will most likely ask if you have traveled out of the country recently and visited somewhere with fewer safety standards for food and water. Once the determination is made that you may have intestinal worms, you will likely have to submit to a fecal test. The purpose of this test is to examine if there are either protozoa or helminthes present in your stool. If the doctor is interested in taking a sample, you should not take any antibiotics or anti-diarrhea medications before. It is also possible that you will need to have an x-ray with barium, but that is in more extreme examples and generally not necessary.
Treatment Options for Intestinal Parasites
There are a variety of options available to you for the treatment of intestinal parasites. In the best cases you can take a single pill one time, and in more extreme cases you may need to be on medication for multiple weeks. The most important thing is to take the medication exactly as it is prescribed. While conventional medicine will rid you unwanted parasites more quickly, there are alternative treatments available if you do not like taking medicine. However, your physician will need to figure out what kind of parasite you have first before being able to prescribe either conventional or alternative treatments. In the meantime, stay hydrated and get to the doctor as soon as possible to avoid further complications.