Intestinal parasites are the scourge of modern society. According to statistics, almost every second person is the owner of this or that creature hidden in the lumen of the intestine. We are talking about both helminths - parasitic worms, and the simplest microorganisms that are invisible to the ordinary eye. They all exist at the expense of the owner, drawing in nutrients, vitamins and minerals. But are parasites really as dangerous as they say, and does an infected person always need urgent treatment?
A few words about fashion diseases
The subject of parasites is actively exaggerated in the media. On numerous Internet forums, disputes about how to properly remove protozoa and helminths from the body do not stop. The most incredible schemes are presented, amazing recipes are offered, which, according to the members of the forum, can cure any disease, from the well-known giardiasis to exotic schistosomiasis. From the television screens they broadcast that humanity is in danger and each of us has long been seriously and hopelessly ill. The news is picked up by colleagues, relatives and friends are afraid of terrible prospects, and the promotion of miracle drugs that can save humanity from dangerous neighbors does not stop.
What is really happening? Of course, there are parasites, and if infected, they can cause great harm to a person. That's just not every inhabitant of the earth is sick, and even more so, not everyone needs medical help. Before attempting a novel remedy for scary roundworms or scary filariae, make sure that such treatment is necessary.
It is important to understand: not all drugs are able to cope with a real problem. Many dietary supplements that are widely advertised in the media are not only useless but also dangerous and can lead to the development of serious health problems.
Uninvited guests: who threatens a person?
Commonly found parasites are:
- Giardia is the most common companion of children aged 2 to 5 years attending kindergarten. Adults with giardiasis rarely get sick.
- Pinworms are another parasite that mainly affects preschool children and adults who do not follow the rules of personal hygiene.
- Roundworms are parasites that live in the small intestine and can invade other organs (including the lungs). Reaching large sizes can lead to intestinal obstruction.
- Pork and beef tapeworm, broadband worm chose the large intestine as their localization site. Infection occurs through food and dirty hands.
- Opisthorchis and fascioli prefer to exist in the bile ducts, which provokes the development of obstructive jaundice.
Exotic parasitic diseases have also been reported in recent years. This image is associated with the active migration of the population visiting popular tourist destinations, including the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Non-compliance with the rules of hygiene, swimming in local waters, eating traditional foods, including those bought from the market with your hands, leads to active infection with unusual parasites, which are far from immediately recognizable.
Parasitic infestation symptoms
An infection often goes unnoticed by a person. The infamous Giardia can go unnoticed for years, and the only symptom is a change in habitual behavior. Giardiasis, "a disease of melancholy and sadness", makes the patient lethargic, apathetic, leads to tiredness, weakness, depressive mood. Hardly anyone thinks of looking for the cause in parasites. Most people attribute these symptoms to stress, tiredness, lack of sleep and other attributes of a person's normal life.
Some of the parasites that live in the intestines make themselves felt quite clearly. Against the background of the invasion, certain signs may appear:
The most common manifestation of parasitic infection, characterized by the appearance of such symptoms:
- nausea and vomiting;
- abdominal pain (usually around the navel);
- Diarrhea or constipation, unstable stool with pathological impurities.
In half of the patients, there is an enlargement of the liver and spleen. The accumulation of parasites in the intestine can lead to constipation, severe abdominal pain and loose stools. This condition requires immediate surgical treatment.
Some parasites can attach themselves to the intestinal lining in order to obtain essential nutrients. Constant injury leads to blood loss, which creates iron deficiency and contributes to the development of anemia.
Syndrome of general intoxication
One of the signs of a parasitic invasion is a prolonged subfebrile body temperature. If other causes of fever are not identified, it is worth looking for helminths.
Long-standing parasites disrupt the digestive tract, which provokes the development of allergic reactions. It can be a collapse of stool when eating certain foods or a skin rash like hives.
Parasites reduce the synthesis of immunoglobulins, and most importantly Yg A. This leads to frequent colds and an exacerbation of chronic pathology.
Other signs of parasitic invasion
Against the background of infection with helminths, other symptoms may appear:
- bruxism - grinding teeth while sleeping;
- insomnia, frequent awakenings at night;
- pain in muscles and joints (when parasites spread or as an autoimmune reaction to their presence);
- Shortness of breath, cough (when parasites enter the bronchopulmonary system).
All of these symptoms are non-specific and can occur in a variety of diseases. Before trying to cleanse the body of parasites, you should make sure of their presence, and also find out who exactly this uninvited guest became.
Some parasites are easily detected in feces or on laundry, while others go undetected without special laboratory tests. If you suspect an infection, you should see a doctor—a general practitioner or an infectious disease specialist. The doctor conducts an examination, analyzes the patient's complaints and gives his recommendations for further diagnosis. There is no point in getting tested for every parasite known to science and wasting time, money and nerves on such searches.
To diagnose dangerous guests, the following methods are used:
- Detection of parasites and their eggs in the faeces;
- Serological tests to determine the antibody titer.
Diagnostic methods do not always show infection with parasites. Incorrect chair collection technique, violation of the transport scheme - all this can lead to the failure to identify dangerous neighbors. Serological tests are also not always conclusive, since high immunoglobulin G titers persist for some time after the parasites have been completely eliminated. If the patient is certain that he has been infected or if certain conditions are met (stay in exotic countries, non-observance of personal hygiene rules, cases of infection in the immediate vicinity), the examination should be repeated.
Is it necessary to cleanse the body of parasites?
Deworming is only indicated when the diagnosis is confirmed by laboratory methods. Symptoms alone are not enough to take any action to cleanse the body of parasites. Neither abdominal pain nor stool or rash indicate a clear infection with helminths, since these signs are also found in other diseases.
For deworming, various drugs are used to destroy dangerous guests and remove them from the body. These drugs are toxic, cause unpleasant side effects, so you can take them only as directed by a doctor. The doctor will determine the dosage and duration of the drug and also what effect to expect. If you do not follow these safety rules, you can seriously harm your body and get an undesirable effect.
Drugs against parasites are only the first stage of therapy. In addition, the doctor prescribes other drugs:
- agents for restoring the intestinal flora;
- Preparations for normalizing gastrointestinal motility;
- antihistamines to eliminate an allergic reaction;
The purpose of such treatment is not only to destroy the parasites, but also to restore the normal functioning of the body. At the second stage, various decoctions of herbs are also used for successful treatment:
- linseed and pumpkin seeds etc.
These herbs are found in various dietary supplements used to cleanse the body of parasites. It is necessary to use such products with great care, since not always in the composition of such additives there are only relatively harmless components. In the best case, the miracle cure simply does not work, in the worst case, undesirable reactions and complications occur.
There are cases when excessive passion for enemas, decoctions and tinctures led to poisoning or chemical burns, and then, instead of getting rid of parasites, a person got a bunch of new problems. Taking dubious supplements is particularly dangerous for the elderly and anyone suffering from heart, kidney, or liver disease.
It makes no sense to periodically cleanse the body of parasites at home with improvised means. Preventive deworming is only justified in special situations:
- detection of parasites in family members;
- Outbreak of parasitic diseases in the residential area;
- obvious violations of the rules of personal hygiene when visiting exotic countries;
- eat raw or half-cooked meat and fish, drink unpurified water from dubious sources.
Prophylactic deworming may be recommended for pet owners, especially if the dog or cat goes outside. But even in this case, giving a pet a parasite pill is easier than putting your family members through a similar procedure.
Before conducting experiments on your own body, you should consult a doctor.