Digestive Problems Caused by Parasites

The thought that you may have parasites in your body is very scary. They are organisms that feed and live in the body of another living thing. Most parasites are found in the digestive system because they are associated with food. While you may be scared to host a parasite, they are very common. In fact, most people do not realize that they are harboring such organisms until they are diagnosed. They cause a myriad of symptoms, including digestive challenges. Most of the parasites, in your digestive system, feed on part of the nutrients that the body requires.

Parasites aren`t limited to a particular group of people. According to WHO, 1 out of 3 people have been infected by intestinal parasites at a particular time. In most cases, your body`s immune system works to keep them in check and prevent infections. You may start to experience pesky complaints when the immune system fails to get rid of the parasites. source

Common Digestive Challenges

Although parasites can cause numerous digestive problems, there are five major symptoms that are used to describe a parasitic infection.

1. Diarrhea that prolongs for more than two weeks.

This should include changes in the frequency of bowel movements and appearance. Trichinella is the common cause of diarrhea. The parasite is renowned as trichinosis. You can get it if you take under-cooked or raw meat that comes from infected animals.

2. Chronic exhaustion that persists for more than one week regardless of a restful sleep.

Most parasites that cause diarrhea and vomiting lead to chronic fatigue. An example is Dientamoeba Fragilis. This parasite attaches itself to the large intestines where it infects the mucosal crypt cells. This invokes an inflammatory response that leads to diarrhea and vomiting. The person may feel exhausted if diarrhea and vomiting persist.

3. Sudden or unexplained weight loss.

This occurs if you lose over ten pounds within a period of 2 months. Roundworms and whipworms are the common causes of weight loss. Roundworms lay thousands of eggs a day. They can grow up 15 ft long. They multiply within a short time and start feeding on the nutrients that are meant for the body. This leads to a sudden weight loss. Roundworm can also cause upper abdominal pain, insomnia, asthma, peritonitis, appendicitis and fever.

Whipworms penetrate the intestinal walls causing hemorrhages. They stimulate nausea and diarrhea which leads to sudden weight loss. Whipworms can also cause lower abdominal pain, rectal prolapse, anemia and bloody stools.4. Feeling itchy around the anus.

There is a high chance that people who are not suffering from any rashes, but feel itchy around the anus, are infected by parasites. However, the condition must persist for more than two weeks to be characterized as a parasitic infection.

Pinworms are the main cause of the itchy feeling. Although the parasites are common among children, they can also affect adults. They are transmitted through exposed surfaces such as hands, clothes, toilet seats and toys. Once pinworms are ingested, they are incubated for two months before symptoms begin to show. For most patients,itching is worse at night. The parasite can also cause abdominal pain.

5. Abdominal pain and cramping.

Dientamoeba Fragilis is a common cause of abdominal pain. The parasite is one of the smallest parasites that reside in the large intestine. It spreads through ingestion of infected fecal material. This explains why physicians advise people to wash their hands before eating. Dientmoeba Fragilis can also cause diarrhea, vomiting, flatulence, bloating and nausea.

All in all, intestinal parasites can cause multiple digestive problems. Although one parasite can cause several symptoms, some effects are magnified with each type of parasite. Source

Other Digestive Problems Caused by Parasites
  • A never-ending hunger
  • Loss of appetite
  • Food allergies
  • Ulcers
  • Cravings for certain types of foods

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