Parasites: 101

Not long ago it was common to hear members of the community doing an Autumn de-worming or their annual Spring cleanse. These folks would mix concoctions of castor oil with their family’s proprietary blend of minerals and botanicals. These people were concerned about intestinal worms after months of working in the garden and the barns caring for farm animals.

We now use words like ‘Parasites’ to replace the historical terms of ‘worms’. There are literally thousands of different species of parasites. They can be diagnosed, by chance during a stool collection if some ova (eggs), dead parasite, or a free parasite is collected. A more advanced stool collection is available for a fee. A Comprehensive Digestion Stool Analysis is more likely to indicate the metabolites of parasitic infection, however it is not 100% accurate either. Experienced practitioners can also use Electro-Dermal screening to determine the certainty and the identity of your infections. The diagnosis of parasitic infections is left up to the treating physician whom will qualify if any of the testing results and patient symptoms could be caused by a parasitic infection.

Diarrhea caused by parasitic infections represents the greatest single worldwide cause of illness and death. Parasitic infections are more common in underdeveloped countries in part due to poor sanitation. The numbers of these infections however are increasing in North America due to world travel. It is currently the third major cause of disease and death in North America.

Symptoms of parasitic infections may include some or many of the following: constipation, and/or diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue, flatulence, bloating, irritability, nervousness, gastritis, headaches, hives, skin problems, joint pain, post nasal drip, sugar cravings, allergies, brain fog, sleep disturbances, grinding teeth, dark circles under the eyes, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, decrease in appetite, and weight loss.

We have an immune system to protect us from infections however the terrain of our body may become favourable to parasitic infections if we produce less acid in the stomach and/or if pancreatic enzyme production decreases, etc. Parasites will thrive where the terrain gives them an opportunity to exist.

Treatment of parasites may include the use of homeopathic preparations, herbal preparations and pharmaceutical prepared medications. Prior to selecting a treatment of antibiotics, herbals, homeopathics or anti-helminthics, consider addressing the underlying factor which may have predisposed your terrain for infection. The treatment usually includes pancreatic enzyme support and berberine containing plants such as Hydrastis Canadensis, Berberis vulgaris, Berberis aquifolium and Coptis chinensis. Treatment of parasitic infections may include oral parasitic cleanses. There does exist a number of pre-packaged programs at the health-food stores.

Please use caution if you are currently taking any medications and/or you suffer from IBS, IBD, colitis, crohn’s or diverticulitis. For extremely stubborn and chronic long-term infections, experienced health care providers utilize intravenous applications of hydrogen peroxide. We strongly recommend that you consult with your healthcare provider prior to initiating a pre-packaged parasite cleanse program.