Thursday, June 17, 2010
By Susan Evans, MD
One of my close colleagues experienced chronic repeated bouts of bloating and abdominal pain. Even though my colleague was extremely health conscious, nonspecific abdominal pain can be very difficult to diagnose and treat. Fortunately,after visiting a gastrointestinal specialist it was determined that his abdominal discomfort was due to a parasitic infection. There are many types of parasites that can enter our bodies and negatively effect our immune system and overall health. Walking around barefoot, eating unclean fruits and vegetables, and even drinking untreated water are usually the most common portals of entry for parasites. A parasitic infestation may include symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, aches, pains, anemia, skin rashes, nervousness, sleep disturbances, allergies, and fatigue.
Parasites may effect your mood, your well being, and can interfere (and sometimes block) your natural intestinal vitamin absorption. Parasites feed from inside your body. These creatures include tape worms, round worms, hook works, pin worms, that can grow to various sizes and lengths. Tape worms can attach themselves to the intestinal walls and stay nourished off food that you eat.
There are a number of ways to avoid getting parasites: cook your food, wash fruits and vegetables and hands before eating (wash your hands after using the bathroom as well.) Wear socks or shoes instead of going barefoot. Keep your fingernails short and clean. If you are traveling, share your travel plans with your physician who will help you take preventative measures so you don't come back with a parasite.
You can see your doctor and ask for a complete parasitic panel, including stool study if you have symptoms of chronic inflammation or poor digestion. There are antibiotics that treat parasites, however most will grow back with eggs, if you do not follow the proper procedures. There are also natural remedies that give relief to parasites and kill them, and their eggs, off. There also is holistic treatment for parasitic conditions that will normally knock out the parasitic infection with strong herbs. See your local herbalist for evaluation if antibiotics are not right for you. Ginger is a good staple to keep in your diet, it has long been used in Africa and India to treat parasites. Look also for antiparasitic herbs as wormwood bark, to treat common parasites infestations.
It is also important to have regular bowel movements. As parasites can be in your digestive track, that need to make their way through. Eat plenty of fiber, or cleanse 2times a year, to keep your digestive health moving.