I have decided to give your question a try, as you show a genuine
interest in learning about parasitic infections. I also believe this
question may have gone unanswered due to the alternative medicine
slant. I say this with no disrespect whatsoever to the holistic and
alternative medicine community, as I certainly feel it has its place,
and is can be beneficial to those who utilize its services. From what
I have seen over the years, and also in my research, is that *some*
alternative medicine groups appear to attribute many health, and
sometimes ALL problems to some form of parasite in the human body. It
appears, also from my research, that many of these ?parasites? are
nebulous, unknown, and unseen parasites. It also seems that the word
?parasite? is being used loosely, to indicate perhaps a bacterial or
viral infection, and are blamed for a plethora of problems.
Having said that, I am going to ?brave? this question, in spite of my
own mild suspicion of the incidence of human parasitic cases, as well
as some of the purported cures. My answer also only addresses
intestinal parasites, as that is what you ask about. I am assuming you
have no interest in blood parasites such as falciparum species malaria
and others) and trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), or lung -
Pneumocystis carinii (which is really a fungus, but is often found
listed as aparasite) or genital parasites such as trichomonas
According to this poorly written web site, whose link appears below,
all of the following symptoms could be attributed to parasites:
·Feel tired most of the time (Chronic Fatigue)?
·Have digestive problems? (gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea
that come and go but never really clear up)
·Have gastrointestinal symptoms and bulky stools with excess fat in feces?
·Suffer with food sensitivities and environmental intolerance?
·Developed allergic-like reactions and can?t understand why?
·Have joint and muscle pains and inflammation often assumed to be arthritis?
·Suffer with anemia or iron deficiency (pernicious anemia)?
·Have hives, rashes, weeping eczema, cutaneous ulcers, swelling,
sores, papular lesions, itchy dermatitis?
·Suffer with restlessness and anxiety?
·Experience multiple awakenings during the night particularly between 2 and 3 am?
·Grind your teeth?
·Have an excessive amount of bacterial or viral infections?
·Difficulty gaining or losing weight no matter what you do?
·Did a Candida program which either didn?t help at all or helped
somewhat but you still can?t stay away from bread, alcohol, fruit, or
·itchy ears, nose, anus
·forgetfulness, slow reflexes, gas and bloating, unclear thinking;
·loss of appetite, yellowish face
·fast heartbeat, heart pain, pain in the navel;
·eating more than normal but still feeling hungry;
·pain in the back, thighs, shoulders;
·burning sensation in the stomach;
·drooling while sleeping;
·damp lips at night, dry lips during the day, grinding teeth while asleep;
·women: problems with the menstrual cycle;
·men: sexual dysfunction;
Health and Age web site presents similar symptoms. Note that the last
in the list is the only definitive symptom!
· Nausea or vomiting
· Gas or bloating
· Dysentery (loose stools containing blood and mucus)
· Rash or itching around the rectum or vulva
· Stomach pain or tenderness
· Feeling tired
· Weight loss
· Passing a worm in your stool
In over twenty five years of health care, I have seen parasitic
infections, and perhaps would consider parasites in a patient with
some of the above symptoms, but not without a complete workup to rule
out more serious systemic disorders. Almost all of the patients I have
seen with a true parasitic infection have been returning travelers,
patients on chemotherapy, HIV patients, and other immuno-compromised
patients. My concern is that some patients who may suffer from
undiagnosed medical conditions, such as diabetes (feeling tired all
the time, many bacterial infections, eating more than normal etc.) or
H. pylori /ulcers (burning sensation in stomach, digestive problems)
would be treated for parasites alone, and not the actual disorder.
While some patients may have actual parasites, it seems that parasites
are getting the blame for more than their share of problems!
As far as Endolimax nana (and some of its ?cousins?), this organism is
According to Jack Welch, M.D., Ph.D. of Georgetown University: Not
everything reported by the lab is pathogenic. For instance, the
following organisms do not need treatment:
oChilomastic mesnili cysts
Dr. Welch is well supported by the CDC:
The following intestinal amebas do not make people sick and therefore
are called "nonpathogenic."
According to the CDC, the above amoebas do not make even patients with
a weakened immune system (such as those with HIV, on chemotherapy,
organ transplant patients, or other immuno-supressing disorder) ill,
and recommends no treatment.
?Endolimax nana, Entamoeba coli, and Iodamoeba butschlii are
nonpathogenic commensals and as such require no treatment. They are
however markers of exposure to human feces and are often found in
patients who are also infected with pathogenic organisms. Giardia and
Entamoeba histolytica can cause invasive disease and should generally
be treated. ?
While gross identification of some larger parasites such as pinworm
and hookworm is not difficult, identifying Entamoeba hartmanni from
Entamoeba histolytica and other microscopic organisms, is not easy.
One needs to utilize particular staining and microscopic techniques.
One would need to be familiar with the various life cycle forms of
each parasite. Additionally, to identify parasites found in human
stool, one would need a very strong stomach! (While working with
ou-tpatients, I was most grateful for the invention of para-packs -
those sealed plastic containers that the patient fills with stool, at
home, then returns the closed container to the lab) For accurate
diagnosis, 3 different samples, on 3 different days is recommended.
To make an accurate diagnosis. one would need to be adept at
identifying a parasite microscopically, be familiar with locations
where parasites are found, which animals/environments typically host a
parasite, the morphological characteristics of each parasite, whether
or not they are considered pathogenic, the life cycle forms (cyst,
troph, etc), and then correlating this information to the patient?s
activities and symptoms.
I have examined stool samples for parasites, and you would be
surprised at how much some seeds and cellulose cells (from partially
digested vegetables) resemble parasitic cyst forms!
Because of copyright protection, I am unable to reproduce this
information, but you can find excellent laboratory methods for proper
identification of parasites here. The ?Staining? and the ?Microscopic
Identification? sections are helpful:
The CDC sponsors this excellent image gallery of parasites here:
Consider too, taking a parasitology or a microbiology course that
focuses on parasitology at a local college or community college, or
Here?s a sample distance learning program:
?The drug of choice for giardiasis is metronidazole 250 mg tid for 7
days, which also has activity against E. histolytica. Unfortunately,
there are no reliable therapies for Cryptosporidiosis, though
paromomycin or nitazoxanide may have activity and offer benefit.?
?It is not 100% clear that E. nana causes disease. However, in some
HIV+ patients with diarrhea and other symptoms, if E. nana is treated
with Flagyl or other antibiotics, the symptoms may improve. You didn't
say whether you are still having problems now that your bout of 'flu'
is over. If you feel ok now, it is not necessary to be retreated at
A very good, comprehensive list, from ?The Medical Letter, on Drugs
and Therapeutics?, outlines conventional medicines fro parasites. For
copyright reasons, I can only refer you to the site:
?The authors speculate that fiber induces mucus secretion and reduces
the attachment of trophozoites. It may also affect the growth of
bacterial flora, pH and the competition for nutritional resources
among organisms. Measures that build and restore the gastrointestinal
immune system are worthwhile interventions. Modification of bowel
flora, bowel environment and digestive enzymes act synergistically in
From Alternative Medicine and Health web site:
·?Eat a high-fiber diet, as tolerated.
·Avoid milk and dairy products including cheese if you find they
irritate your digestive system.
·There are herbal preparations that have been shown to be helpful in
fighting protozoa disease. Available in health food stores, they
contain the herbal bitter wormwood (Artemisia absinthlure). Follow the
directions on the package.
?A parasite cleaning treatment is called a vermifuge. It is often a
combination of wormwood, black walnut hull extract and ground cloves.
Each is used for killing the parasites in the various stages of
development, egg, larva, and adult.?
Herbs 2000 site discusses parasites and has links to many alternative therapies:
This site lists items such as garlic, goldenseal, oregon grape root,
and Barberry, as well as listing supplements that are used to treat
These supplements are often used:
Artemesia annus (par qing), an oriental herb
Grapefruit seed extract
Supplemental bowel flora: acidophilus and bifidus
Parasites of the Human Body, blood, stool, and other areas
An illustration of the cycle of infection of Dientamoeba fragilis, a
flagellate can be seen here:
This comrehensive site has all you ever wanted to know about parasites!
The best, most practical source of information about diagnosis and
treatment is the AAP's Red Book: The Report of the Committee on
Infectious Diseases (new editions come out about every three years).
Great Smokies Diagnostic Lab, a lab that specializes in parasitic infections
Sample parasitology course test:
There you go, Gabriel! I hope you have found the referenced material helpful!
If any part of my answer is unclear, please request an Answer
Clarification, before rating.This will enable me to assist you
further, if possible.
alternative parasites treatment