You may have seen an episode of a medical drama involving an intense story where doctors find a massive tapeworm inside of someone. This may sound extreme but a tape worm is a parasite and many people actually are walking around with parasites inside of their body. It may not be as dramatic as a 3 foot long tape worm but that does not mean that tiny invaders have not found a home inside of your body. Parasites can invade the body in a number of ways and symptoms should be watched out for. Dr. Oz describes common parasites and explains how common they really are, “Parasites aren’t limited to travelers and exotic-food fans: Approximately 1 out of 3 Americans is infected with an intestinal parasite at any given time. Most of the time, your body’s immune system helps to keep parasites in check or clear them from the body so they don’t cause any symptoms. Sometimes, though, those pesky digestive complaints could be a sign that the parasites are getting the better of you. In addition, Dr. Oz goes on to offer the following warning signs as something everyone should keep their eyes peeled for:
- Changes in the appearance or frequency of bowel movements, especially if you have excessive diarrhea or loose stools for two weeks
- Chronic exhaustion not resolved by a week of restful sleep
- Unexplained and sudden weight loss of at least 10 pounds over two months
- Itching around the anus for at least two weeks, especially if there is no rash
- Cramping and abdominal pain
One of the most common ways people become infected with parasites is by coming in contact with infected feces. You may read this and think, “Well, I have not touched any infected feces so I am safe. ” But, just think about everything you touch in a day and everything that other people have touched and think about how easy it would be to come in contact with even a tiny, microscopic amount of infected feces. Infected feces could even be in soil or in the food you eat, especially if you do not properly wash all of your food.
If you are concerned that you may have parasites it is important to consult a physician right away. A physician will be able to offer guidance and direct you to the appropriate treatment based on your personal health history. There are prescription medications to treat parasites that can be administered in one dose or over multiple doses depending on your personal experience with parasites. Additionally, alternative therapies to treat parasites include avoiding refined foods and simple carbohydrates, increasing your fiber intake, increasing your probiotic intake, adding digestive enzymes to your nutritional intake, and increasing Vitamin C and Zinc. There are also many herbs and homeopathic treatments available should you choose an alternative therapy route for your treatment. While alternative therapy may take longer than prescription medications to rid your body of parasites, alternative therapies have been shown to be very effective.