Intestinal parasites are the scourge of modern society. According to statistics, almost every second person is the owner for this or that creature, hidden in the lumen of the intestine. We are talking about both helminths - parasitic worms, and the simplest microorganisms invisible to the ordinary eye. All of them exist at the expense of the owner, pulling on themselves nutrients, vitamins and mineral elements. But are parasites as dangerous as they are said to be, and is it always necessary to urgently treat an infected person?
A few words about fashionable diseases
The topic 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 cease. The most incredible schemes are put forward, amazing recipes are offered that, according to members of the forum, can cure all diseases, from the well-known giardiasis to exotic schistosomiasis. From the TV 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 frightened by terrible prospects, and the advertising of miraculous remedies that can save humanity from dangerous neighbors does not stop.
What is really happening? Of course, parasites exist and, when infected, can cause a lot of 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 you try out a newfangled remedy for frightening roundworms or terrifying filariae, you should make sure that such a treatment is necessary.
It is important to understand: not all drugs are able to cope with a real problem. Many dietary supplements 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?
The following parasites are usually found:
- Giardia is the most frequent companion of kids from 2 to 5 years old who attend kindergartens. Adults with giardiasis rarely get sick.
- Pinworms are another parasite that occurs mainly in preschool children and in adults who do not follow the rules of personal hygiene.
- Roundworms are parasites that live in the small intestine and are able to penetrate other organs (including the lungs). Reach large sizes, can lead to intestinal obstruction.
- Pork and bovine tapeworm, wide tapeworm chose the large intestine as the place of their localization. Infection occurs through food and dirty hands.
- Opisthorchis and fascioli prefer to exist in the biliary tract, provoking the development of obstructive jaundice.
In recent years, exotic parasitic diseases have also been reported. This picture is associated with 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 water bodies, eating traditional food, including those purchased from the market with hands, leads to active infection with unusual parasites, which can be recognized far from immediately.
Parasitic infestation symptoms
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 fatigue, loss of strength, depressive mood. It rarely occurs to anyone to look for the cause in parasites. Most people attribute these symptoms to stress, fatigue, lack of sleep, and other attributes of a person's normal life.
Some of the parasites that live in the intestines make themselves known quite clearly. Against the background of invasion, certain signs may appear:
The most common manifestation of a parasitic infection, characterized by the occurrence of such symptoms:
- nausea and vomiting;
- pain in the abdomen (usually around the navel);
- diarrhea or constipation, unstable stool with pathological impurities.
Half of the patients have an enlarged liver and spleen. The accumulation of parasites in the intestines can cause obstruction, lead to severe pain in the abdomen, and the absence of stools. This condition requires immediate surgical attention.
Some parasites are able to stick to the intestinal mucosa to obtain the nutrients necessary for life. Constant injury leads to blood loss, which provokes a lack of iron and contributes to the development of anemia.
Syndrome of general intoxication
One of the signs of parasitic invasion is prolonged subfebrile body temperature. If other causes of fever are not identified, it is worth checking for helminths.
Long-existing parasites disrupt the digestive tract, which provokes the development of allergic reactions. It can be a breakdown of the stool when eating certain foods or a skin rash like hives.
Parasites reduce the synthesis of immunoglobulins, and primarily Yg A. This leads to the appearance of frequent colds and exacerbation of chronic pathology.
Other signs of parasitic invasion
Against the background of infection with helminths, other symptoms may occur:
- bruxism - teeth grinding during sleep;
- insomnia, frequent awakenings at night;
- pain in muscles and joints (with the spread of parasites or as an autoimmune reaction to their presence);
- shortness of breath, cough (when parasites enter the bronchopulmonary system).
All these symptoms are nonspecific 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 became this uninvited guest.
Some parasites are easy to detect in feces or on linen, while others are not detected without special laboratory tests. If you suspect an infection, you should consult a doctor - a general practitioner or an infectious disease specialist. The doctor will conduct an examination, analyze the patient's complaints and give his recommendations for further diagnosis. There is no point in being examined for all parasites 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 faeces;
- serological studies to determine the antibody titer.
Diagnostic methods do not always show infection with parasites. Incorrect stool collection technique, violation of the transportation scheme - all this can lead to the fact that dangerous neighbors will not be identified. Serological studies are also not always indicative, because high titers of immunoglobulin G persist for some time after the complete elimination of parasites. If the patient is sure that he is infected or there are certain prerequisites for this (visiting exotic countries, non-observance of personal hygiene rules, cases of infection in close surroundings), the examination should be repeated.
Is it necessary to cleanse the body of parasites?
Deworming is indicated only when the diagnosis is confirmed by laboratory methods. Symptoms alone are not enough to carry out any measures to cleanse the body of parasites. Neither abdominal pain, nor stool breakdown, nor skin rash indicate unambiguous helminth infection, since these signs are also found in other diseases.
For deworming, various medications 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 indicate what effect should be expected. If you do not follow these safety rules, you can seriously harm your body and achieve an undesirable effect.
Drugs against parasites are only the first stage of therapy. Further, the doctor prescribes other medicines:
- means for restoring intestinal microflora;
- preparations for the normalization of 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 contained in various dietary supplements used to cleanse the body of parasites. It is necessary to use such products with great care, since not always only relatively harmless components are included in the composition of such additives. At best, there will simply be no effect from the miracle remedy, at worst, unwanted reactions and complications will appear.
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 received a bunch of new problems. It is especially dangerous to take dubious supplements for the elderly and all those who have diseases of the heart, kidneys and liver.
It makes no sense to engage in regular cleansing of the body from parasites at home with improvised means. Preventive deworming is justified only in special situations:
- detection of parasites in family members;
- outbreak of parasitic diseases in the region of residence;
- obvious violations of the rules of personal hygiene when visiting exotic countries;
- eating raw or half-cooked meat and fish, drinking 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, it will be easier to give a parasite pill to a pet than to subject your family members to a similar procedure.
Before carrying out any experiments on your own body, you should consult a doctor.