They eat the bowel content or suck the blood from the intestinal wall -Intestinal Parasite/Worm

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Human intestinal parasites are either one-cell organisms or intestinal worms that live in the small or large intestine and use the stool or blood from intestinal wall as a source of food. Intestinal worms are few millimeters to several meters in size, they eat the bowel content or suck the blood from the intestinal wall and can cause about the same symptoms as one-cell parasites.

How Can One Contract Parasites?

Parasites are shed in human or animal stool; a source of an infection in poor countries is usually stool-contaminated food or water, and in industrialized countries, recreational water (lakes, pools) or homosexual men.

Symptoms of Intestinal Parasites

Mild diarrhea with waxing and waning course, appearing few days to several weeks after the travel into the country with poor hygiene, and lasting from several days to months(for comparison: bacterial diarrhea usually has a sudden and dramatic onset within some hours after a meal, and heals on its own in few days).

Mucus in the bowel movement

Bloating and flatulence

Weight loss is common.

Pale skin, tiredness, tingling (due to reduced absorption of minerals and vitamins).

Entamoeba histolytica may cause severe colitis with ulcers, abdominal cramps, blood in the stool with occasional pus – the disease is known as amebic dysentery  Entamoeba may invade liver, lung, brain, or other organs, where it forms cyst.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis can be often suspected from history of prolonged bloating or diarrhea and can be confirmed by the following tests:

Ova and parasites (O&P) test of the stool. The test is often false negative so three stools from three different days (at least two days apart) should be tested.

Hemoccult test may reveal blood in the stool

Blood tests often reveal elevated eosinophils and IgE antibodies and lowered ferritin, hemoglobin or red cells

CT or biopsy isneeded to find cysts in the liver, lungs or brain.

Treatment

Anti-parasitic drugs, like metronidazole, quinacrine, tinidazole and furazolidone are usually effective, but the exact treatment regime, as prescribed by your doctor, should be followed. Paramomycin is not absorbed from the intestine into the blood, so it may be used in pregnancy 

Intestinal parasites are usually successfully treated, but may reoccur if the source of infection still exists.

Prevention 

An infection by intestinal parasites can be prevented by:

Washing of hands with soap before eating and after bowel movement

Food cooking kills all parasites 

Avoid eating smoked food that is cooked

Wash raw vegetables and fruits before eating.

Warning

It is important to know that the stool of a person with intestinal parasites is contagious as long as infection lasts. Infection like Entamoeba hystolitica possibly last for years after symptoms cessation. The stool of an infected person without any symptoms is also contagious.

 



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