Intestinal parasites are the scourge of modern society. According to statistics, almost every second person owns this or that creature, hiding in the lumen of the intestine. We are talking about helminths - parasitic worms and the simplest microorganisms invisible to the ordinary eye. All of them exist at the expense of the owner, extracting nutrients, vitamins and mineral elements. But are parasites as dangerous as they say and is it always necessary to treat an infected person urgently?
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 proposed, amazing recipes are offered, which, according to forum members, can cure all diseases, from the well-known giardiasis to the exotic schistosomiasis. From television screens broadcast that humanity is in danger, and each of us has been seriously and without hope for a long time. The news is picked up by colleagues, relatives and friends frightened by the terrible prospects, and the advertising of miracle remedies that can save humanity from dangerous neighbors does not stop.
What is really going on? Parasites do exist, of course, and when infected, they can cause a lot of harm to a person. That's just that not everyone on Earth is sick, and even more so, not everyone needs medical help. Before you try a novel remedy for frightening roundworms or frightening heartworms, you need to make sure such treatment is necessary.
It is important to understand: not all drugs can 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?
Common parasites found are:
- Giardia is the most frequent companion of children 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 adults who do not follow the rules of personal hygiene.
- Roundworms are parasites that live in the small intestine and can enter other organs (including the lungs). Reaches large sizes, can cause intestinal obstruction.
- The porcine and bovine tapeworm, the broad tapeworm chose the large intestine as its location. Infection occurs through dirty food and hands.
- Opisthorchis and fascioli prefer to exist in the biliary tract, causing 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 hygiene rules, swimming in local water bodies, eating traditional food, including those bought on the market with your hands, leads to active infection with unusual parasites, which can be recognized far from immediately.
Symptoms of parasitic infestation
The infection often goes unnoticed by a person. The infamous Giardia can go unnoticed for years and the only symptom is a change in usual behavior. Giardiasis, "a disease of melancholy and sadness", makes the patient lethargic, apathetic, leads to fatigue, loss of strength, depressed mood. It rarely occurs to someone 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 the invasion, certain signs may appear:
The most common manifestation of a 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 increase in the liver and spleen. The accumulation of parasites in the intestines can cause obstruction, leading to severe pain in the abdomen and the absence of stool. This condition requires immediate surgical attention.
Some parasites are capable of adhering to the intestinal mucosa to obtain the nutrients necessary for life. Constant injuries lead to blood loss, which causes a lack of iron and contributes to the development of anemia.
general intoxication syndrome
One of the signs of parasitic invasion is a prolonged subfebrile body temperature. If no other causes of fever are identified, it is worth looking for helminths.
Long-lived parasites disrupt the digestive tract, which causes the development of allergic reactions. It can be a breakdown of stool when eating certain foods or a skin rash like hives.
Parasites reduce the synthesis of immunoglobulins, and mainly Yg A. This leads to the appearance of frequent colds and exacerbation of chronic pathology.
Other signs of parasitic invasion
Against the background of helminth infection, other symptoms may appear:
- bruxism - grinding of teeth 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 of these symptoms are nonspecific and can occur in a variety of diseases. Before trying to cleanse the body of parasites, you need to make sure of their presence, and also find out who exactly became this uninvited guest.
Some parasites are easy to detect in stool or bedding, while others are not detected without special laboratory tests. If you suspect an infection, you should see 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 screened for every parasite known to science and wasting time, money and nerves on such searches.
To diagnose dangerous hosts, the following methods are used:
- detection of parasites and their eggs in feces;
- serological studies to determine the antibody titer.
Diagnostic methods do not always show infection with parasites. Incorrect technique of collecting feces, violation of the transport 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 complete elimination of the parasites. If the patient is sure that he is infected or there are certain prerequisites for this (visiting exotic countries, non-compliance with the rules of personal hygiene, cases of infection in a close environment), 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. Abdominal pain, stool decomposition, and skin rash do not indicate unequivocal helminth infection, as these signs are also found in other diseases.
For deworming, various drugs are used to destroy dangerous hosts and remove them from the body. These drugs are toxic, cause unpleasant side effects, so you can only take them as directed by a doctor. The doctor will determine the dose and duration of the medication, and will also indicate what effect should be expected. If you do not follow these safety rules, you can seriously harm your body and achieve unwanted effect.
Antiparasitic drugs are only the first stage of therapy. In addition, the doctor prescribes other medications:
- means for restoring the 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 parasites, but also to restore the normal functioning of the body. At the second stage, various herbal decoctions are also used for successful treatment:
- flax and pumpkin seeds, etc.
These herbs are contained in various dietary supplements that are used to cleanse the body of parasites. It is necessary to use such products very carefully, since not always only relatively harmless components are included in the composition of such additives. At best, there will simply be no effect of 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, the person received a lot of new problems. It is especially dangerous to take questionable supplements for the elderly and all those who have heart, kidney and liver diseases.
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 relatives;
- outbreak of parasitic diseases in the region of residence;
- obvious violations of the rules of personal hygiene when visiting exotic countries;
- eating raw or undercooked meat and fish, drinking unpurified water from questionable sources.
Prophylactic deworming may be recommended for pet owners, especially if the dog or cat is outside. But even in this case, it will be easier to give a pet an antiparasitic pill than to subject your family members to a similar procedure.
Before conducting any experiments on your own body, you should consult a doctor.