Parasites - just the sound of the word is enough to make my skin crawl. The thought of little worms or other critters wiggling around in my digestive tract and other areas of my body makes me itch all over and feel queasy in my stomach. It's like imagining something out of a low budget sci-fi movie. But it's not all imagination and bad horror story writing. Parasites are a common problem (more common than you think) and they can be responsible for a whole list of health conditions.
Back in 1978, the first major worldwide survey of parasitic diseases revealed that one in every six people studied had one or more parasites living somewhere in their body. Today, parasites remain a widespread problem around the world, especially in developing countries without the sanitation standards that more developed countries have in place. However, even countries like the US and Canada have surprisingly high instances of parasitic activity in their populations.
What Exactly are Parasites?
Okay, we know that parasites are bugs and worms and other creepy crawlies. But what EXACTLY are they?
A parasite is any organism that invades and lives at the expense of another organism known as the "host". Parasites disrupt the normal functioning of the organs of the host and continually excrete waste products that stress and wear down the immunity of the host. Not only can they live in the intestinal tract, but also in the lymph, blood, vital organs and tissues. They can even live in our eyes! (I will spare you the creepy pictures of that)
There are approximately 3200 different varieties of parasites which fall into 4 categories:
Health Conditions Associated with Parasitic Infection
Okay, so now that I've totally grossed you out by explaining the different varieties of parasites and how easy it is to be exposed to them, let's look at some of the many health conditions associated with parasites. Dr. Hulda Clark, a world renowned independent health researcher, along with many other parasitologists around the world, have linked parasitic infections to just about every known health condition, including:
Symptoms of Parasitic Infection
Rest assured that the scene from the original Alien movie where the huge parasite comes exploding out of the guy's stomach will NOT happen if you end up with a parasitic infection. However, the following symptoms may be experienced:
Quite the list isn't it? Parasites are powerful little critters and, when allowed to take up residence and proliferate in their host, they can cause some serious discomfort.
How Can We Eliminate Parasites?
Well, the good news is, you don't need this guy if you suspect you have parasites.
If you have severe symptoms, I recommend that you visit your primary care doctor to have the appropriate blood and fecal testing performed. If a parasitic infection is confirmed, the conventional medicine method of treatment is usually an antibiotic or other form of pharmaceutical therapy which can last for several weeks depending on the severity of the infestation. You can go that route if you choose, or you can seek out alternative remedies with the help of a qualified natural health practitioner such as a certified nutritionist or naturopathic doctor. There are many powerful and highly effective herbal remedies which have been used for thousands of years such as wormwood (fitting name if you ask me), black walnut and cloves.
If you have any of the above-listed symptoms and, despite seeking medical advice or trying other remedies without success, you may want to consider treating for a parasitic infection. You can ask your primary care doctor for the necessary testing to be performed, or you can seek the advice of a certified holistic nutritionist or naturopathic doctor to review your symptoms with you and come up with an appropriate course of action for elimination. There's a good chance that, if you've exhausted all other options and gotten no relief, a parasite elimination protocol may just be the solution. I recommend that you always work with a qualified practitioner who is trained in parasite elimination methods so that you can be sure you are taking the right steps and so that you can be appropriately monitored and supported through the process. It make take some months to eliminate everything, because the parasites live in cycles, but it's worth the effort.
Even if you don't suspect that you have parasites, I am a firm believer that it's a good idea to do a good parasite cleanse twice a year, especially if you have pets, are exposed to farm animals, eat under-cooked red meat or sushi on a regular basis or are an avid traveler. Chance are, you have been exposed and have some form of activity going on within you, even if you aren't experiencing any symptoms. There are many gentle and effective cleanses that you can do on a regular basis to keep the bugs a bay and keep your system functioning optimally.
Here's to creepy-crawly-free and blissfully vibrant days!
If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to or have parasites, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519.404.9919 for a free 15 minute discovery session during which we can discuss your symptoms and I can explain your options to you.
Jill Taylor is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist based in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. She is the mom of two pretty awesome teenagers, s very dramatic dog, a hedgehog and a snake (yikes!). Jill assists her clients in achieving true wellness through thoughtful and compassionate dietary and lifestyle coaching. Feel free to visit the "Contact" page to get in touch. Jill would love to hear from you!