Worms and Intestinal Parasites: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Intestinal parasites, commonly called intestinal worms or parasitic worms, are unicellular or multi-cellular organisms that infect the gastrointestinal tract of both humans and other animals and live off their host. Infection with parasitic worms occurs much more frequently than one might believe. While children are often more likely to get parasitic worms, adults that do not keep a rigorous hygiene can also be at risk. If left untreated, intestinal parasites infections can prove life-threatening.

Contaminated food or water, coming into contact with bowel movements and ingesting it as a result of poor hygiene can get one infected with a variety of parasitic worms, ranging from ascaris, giardia, the trichina worm to tapeworms, the hookworm and so on. While an intestinal parasite infection presents symptoms and can be diagnosed through simple tests, many people who are infected are often oblivious to the infection and let it go undiagnosed until the parasite starts causing more serious health problems.

Intestinal worms

The key to understanding parasitic infections of the gastro-intestinal tract and the reason why they have such a harmful impact on one’s health lies in understanding what intestinal parasites are and what is their mechanism of infection. A parasite is an organism that lives in and feeds off another organism. Intestinal parasites, often referred to as intestinal worms or parasitic worms, are single-cell or multi-cell organisms that can potentially infect humans. They may be as little as a few millimeters or as big as a few meters, depending on their type.
Intestinal parasites go through three main phases of evolution: egg, larvae and adult. Again, depending on their type, they may reside in various animals (fish, rats, pigs, cows, humans, birds) and various parts of the body (intestines, lungs, liver, brain, eyes or lymphatic system).

Where can you find intestinal parasites? Intestinal parasites can live on fruits and vegetables, especially on crops fertilized naturally with animal manure coming from cows, pigs, sheep and so on. They can be found in the soil, almost everywhere, usually in the first 15 cm from the ground. They can be found in rivers, lakes and puddles. And because they can infect almost every living organism from mosquitoes, ants, wasps, fish, birds, pigs, cows, dogs, cats to humans, intestinal parasites are abundant in the bowel movements of all infected hosts and transmitted further from there.

While there are intestinal parasites that prefer certain hosts, most can thrive off any living organism. Here are the most common 5 types of intestinal parasites that can infect humans:

1) Roundworms, half of which are parasitic. The most common type of roundworm infection is attributed to Ascaris lumbricoides, an intestinal parasite that causes ascariasis. This type of roundworm infects over 20% of the world’s population and cases occur just as frequently in developed countries with proper sanitation as they occur in developing ones. Children are a high risk category for Ascaris infection because they are more likely to play with pets or stray animals that haven’t been dewormed and thus may come into contact with parasite eggs from their bowel movements.

Ascaris eggs can remain dormant for years and become ‘active’ following ingestion. Ascaris parasites are highly dangerous because once the ingested eggs hatch, the larvae migrate from the intestines to the heart, lungs, liver and even eyes (or get lost in other organs) to then return to the intestines as adults ready to reproduce. If left untreated, ascariasis can lead to death (it is estimated that about 20,000 children die annually as a result of  severe Ascaris infection).

Signs and symptoms of an infection often include eliminating worms or eggs through stools, but more severe cases may include shortness of breath, nausea, diarrhea, bloody stools, fatigue, abdominal pain, vomiting worms. Fortunately, the infection can be detected easily through stool examination and treated successfully with mebendazole, taken orally.

2) Pinworms. The pinworm, also called threadworm or seatworm is another common intestinal parasite and a type of roundworm. Out of three major pinworm species, Enterobius vermicularis is the only one to potentially infect humans and cause what is known as enterobiasis. This type of pinworm completes its life cycle in 8-13 weeks and colonizes the gastro-intestinal tract. A telling sign of pinworm infestation is itching in the perineal area.

If the area is scratched, the eggs of this parasite get attached to fingernails, hands, underwear or bed linen, from where they can easily be transferred to the mouth and ingested. Pinworm infections have extremely high rates of (re)infection, which makes it common for most household member to become carriers of the parasite at one point. Following treatment, strict personal hygiene and household hygiene are imperative.

3) Flatworms. The most problematic types of flatworms for humans (and livestock) are tapeworms and flukes. Tapeworms are the ones that reach monstruous lengths of almost 17 meters. Usually, people become infected with tapeworm larvae after consuming poorly cooked food. The larvea thrives within the intestines by anchoring itself to intestinal walls with hooks and some specimens may live up to 20 years.

A mature female tapeworm can lay millions of eggs every day which are then excreted, increasing reinfestation risks. Infestation is dangerous because tapeworm larvae may migrate to the lungs or liver where they form cysts. Pork, beef, fish, dog and sheep tapeworms are the most common potential causes of tapeworm infestation.

While tapeworm infections may be asymptomatic, sometimes, the following signs and symptoms may appear: continuous hunger, weakness, tiredness due to nutrient deficiencies caused by the parasite feeding off its host, nausea, headaches, diarrhea, indigestion, even weight loss or failure to gain weight despite eating well. Taenia solium (the pork tapeworm), Taenia saginata (the beef tapeworm) and Taenis asiatica (the Asian tapeworm) are known to cause the disease known as taeniasis. In the final stages of taeniasis, the parasites reach the brain and may cause severe neurological problems.

4) Whipworms. Trichuris trichiura is a 30-50 millimeter roundworm known as the whipworm. It causes the disease known as trichuriasis, also called whipworm infection. The name of the parasite has to do with its appearance, reminiscent of a whip. Whipworm infection is estimated to affect about 10% of the world’s population annually as a result of oral contact with soil contaminated with whipworm eggs. While the infection may not show symptoms at all in many individuals, when the worm population in the intestines begins to rise, fatigue, abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea may appear.

Trichuriasis is more likely to occur in tropical and subtropical areas of developing countries, where sanitation is practically inexistent. The infection occurs when people do not wash their fruits and vegetables properly, do not cook their food well or forget to wash their hands, especially after having contact with infected soil, animal or human bowel movements, both of which are often used as fertilizer.

5) HookwormsAncylostoma duodenale and Necator americanus are the main parasites causing hookworm infestation, known either as ancylostomiasis, or as necatoriasis. Hookworm infection occurs as a result of poor hygiene and infection rates are visibly higher in rural areas, tropical and subtropical regions, children, adults working in unsanitary conditions and so on. This type of parasite has a lifespan of around 5 years and inhabits the small intestine from where it feeds off blood. As a result, the most telling sign of infestation is anemia, closely followed by iron deficiency.

Unlike other intestinal parasites, hookworms usually infect people by penetrating their skin. For example, if you walk barefoot or handle infected soil, the larvae (and only them) transfer themselves to your skin, penetrate it to reach your circulatory system and then lungs. Their aim is to get to the trachea from where they are swallowed and end up in the intestines where they mature. A single female can lay up to 30,000 eggs in a day and larvae may remain dormant in tissues and become activated when other adult worms die.

Intestinal parasites

Some of these parasites fall into the category of protozoa (single-cell organisms), while the others into the category of helminths (multicellular organisms). An infection with the parasites known as helminths is called helminthiasis. It is estimated there are about 1 million species of parasites that may infect humans, as well as other animals. Most parasitic worms are thin, either round or flat and have a whitish-yellowish, sometimes transparent color.

While intestinal parasites feed off the nutrients we take from the food we eat, causing visible weight loss and growing hunger, others prefer blood, triggering anemia and iron deficiencies. When parasites grow in numbers, they become less discrete and telling symptoms such as rashes, itching in the groin area or eliminating live worms in stools may occur.

Depending on the type of parasite inhabiting one’s intestines, the degree of infection and the incubation period, intestinal parasite infestations may be more or less hard to detect. Usually, a doctor will examine one or more stool samples under the microscope to identify the parasites. It is also common for a doctor to place some duct tape around the anal region, then remove it to check it under the microscope for eggs. Ultrasounds are rarely used, but aim to locate parasites in the lymphatic system, while colonoscopies are only performed when your doctor suspects you have an intestinal parasite, but cannot find proof in stools (often because you may have only a few adults causing your health problems).

How to tell if you have intestinal parasites? Here are the most telling 8 signs and symptoms you have an intestinal parasite:
1) Abdominal pain or tenderness.
2) Itching and rashes in the groin area.
3) Passing worms in stools.
4) Tiredness, fatigue.
5) Visible weight loss.
6) Increased appetite.
7) Gas, bloating, nausea and vomiting.
8) Diarrhea, often with blood.

Less common signs and symptoms associated with a severe intestinal parasite infestation include:
1) Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.
2) Difficulty falling asleep.
3) Screeching teeth during sleep.
4) Unexplained skin rashes, hives, rosacea or eczema.
5) Muscle or joint pain.
6) Frequent feelings of apathy, depression, chronic fatigue, anxiety.
7) Constant feeling of hunger.
8) Hypoglycemia.
9) B vitamins deficiency.
10) Excessive mucus in stools, often accompanied by visible (or invisible) traces of blood.
11) Cough.
12) Jaundice.
13) Night sweats or chills.
14) Colitis.

Some of these symptoms are caused by parasites releasing toxins or their bowel movements into the host’s bloodstream and are the result of a severe infestation. For this reason, they rarely occur in individuals in developed countries, but are more common in poor, developing countries lacking sanitation and good hygiene education.

What causes an intestinal parasite infection?
1) Contaminated water.
2) Contaminated and unwashed fruits and vegetables.
3) Raw or uncooked contaminated meat.
4) Walking barefoot or handling contaminated soil.
5) Working with natural fertilizers such as human and animal manure.
6) Lack of good personal hygiene (hand washing) and sanitation (lack of toilets).

Once a person acquires an intestinal parasite and remains untreated, it is only a matter of time until he or she infects other members of the household, coworkers and so on. Seeing that transmission can occur fairly easily, prevention remains crucial in reducing both infection and reinfection rates. Here is how to prevent intestinal parasites:

1) Practice good hygiene. The most important thing you can do to prevent a great number of diseases, including intestinal parasites infections is to wash your hands thoroughly before you eat as well as before and after you use the toilet. Changing your bed linen and underwear regurlarly and washing them at high temperatures can help destroy excreted eggs and prevent infection of other people as well as reinfestation.

2) Drink clean water. Whether you have a certified clean water source, drink bottled water (which is best), filter or even boil and cool you drinking water, it is important to keep to your practice to avoid consuming contaminated water.

3) Wash your food and cook it well. Wash fruits and vegetables well before eating them and avoid consuming undercooked meat such as pork, beef or fish. Also, you may want to avoid foods fertilized with untreated human and animal manure.

4) Disinfect your shoes and house regularly. If you went for a walk in the park, leave your shoes at the door and change into a clean pair you use only inside the house. Disinfect your outsoles with diluted chlorine and do the same with the floors once in a while.

5) Avoid playing with unwormed animals. Stray cats and dogs and even household pets that have not been dewormed are very likely to carry one or more intestinal parasites that can infect humans. Being an adult, you will most likely wash your hands well after petting an unwormed animal, but children might put their hands into their mouth soon after touching the fur or tail of a stray animal, which might lead to the transmission of a potentially dangerous parasite.

How to treat intestinal parasites?
1) Medication used to treat intestinal parasites is called antihelmintic medication. It includes Benzimidazoles (mebendazole, albendazole, fenbendazole), Ivermectin, Praziquantel and so on. The most effective is mebendazole therapy, often prescribed in one dose or smaller doses taken over a period of three days, twice a day, with a last dose recommended 10-14 days after the completion of the first treatment (to kill remaining eggs).

What is interesting is that mebendazole has shown promising results in cancer treatment as well, with testimonies showing that it can induce partial and total remission in terminal cancer patients. It was shown to help reduce tumor size and prevent further cancer spread.

2) Surgery. This is a last resort and is recommended only in cases of extremely severe intestinal parasites infestation, when worms clump together in the abdomen, for example, expanding it visibly and putting great strain on the host’s body. Such cases are only seen in individuals living in extreme poverty, lacking hygiene possibilities. If the condition is left untreated and ends up in worms clumping together in various parts of the body (intestines, lymphatic system), medication is no longer effective and surgery becomes imperative.

Food for thought. While it may not seem as much of an issue, remember that intestinal parasites are extremely dangerous and can lead to long-term health problems. For example, Toxocara canis, an ascarid found in unwormed pet dogs, which can infect humans as well, can damage the heart muscle, the liver, the retina, cause seizures and coma. Another parasite appears to increase bladder cancer risks in adults, while many cause retarded physical and cognitive development in children. Basic hygiene rules and prevention can mean the world.

64 Replies to “Worms and Intestinal Parasites: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment”

  1. Worms loosing in stools, black headed. Age 38 and weight 50 kg, hb 6.7. Is it possible the absence of iron or vitamins to cause worms again and again? I have taken mebendazole for 3 days. I just need a chance to live. Help me.

    • If you are dealing with a severe intestinal worms infection, please see your doctor. Your doctor will need to investigate what type of intestinal parasite you have and prescribe you the best medicine for it. Your doctor will prescribe a first round of treatment for the worms and a second round of treatment usually a week later for any remaining parasite eggs.
      And yes, it is possible for vitamin and mineral deficiencies to encourage intestinal worms infections because nutritional deficiencies cause low immunity and this could make it easier for certain intestinal parasites to infect the gastrointestinal tract. However, low iron, low vitamin B12 and other nutritional deficiencies could be a result of having intestinal parasites. So please see a doctor as soon as you can for adequate treatment. Wishing you lots of health and hope to hear back from you with good news.

  2. Hello! I came across a medical computer diagnostic which claims that worms and other parasites can be detected by it. Before this I’ve only known that parasites can be identified and diagnosed through lab in stool samples. Would love to hear your opinion regarding this new tool.

    • Hello, Jennifer. I have not heard of this but I would be interested to know what type of medical equipment is this and how exactly does it diagnose intestinal parasites. Stool samples are currently the most efficient way of diagnosing intestinal parasites but any new medical developments are always welcomed.

    • Don’t listen to Marius. Stool samples are notoriously inaccurate. It is usually worthwhile to look into more involved tests if parasites are suspected. It is estimated by some experts that taking a stool swab, which is the maximum extent to which most MDs in the US attempt to diagnose larger parasites, results in less than a 5% detection rate even when there is an infection in the digestive tract. Of course, this technique is competely useless for parasites which are outside the digestive tract. This may explain why conventional medicine is seemingly oblivious on the potential extent of parasitic infection.

    • Hello, Miya. If you read again, you’ll see that I wrote that stool samples are an efficient way of identifying intestinal parasites, emphasis on intestinal. This is because the life cycle of such organisms often involves elimination of both adult parasites and their eggs in stools. What adds to the accuracy of this test is the fact that doctors can collect stool samples from different days, consecutive days and repeat this test to be sure there are no parasites (these steps alone account for a great variety of intestinal parasites life cycles). Not to mention the test is easy, pain-free which makes a patient more willing to submit additional stool samples. So yeah, all of this makes for a pretty accurate test for intestinal parasites, at least in my opinion.

      Naturally, for other types of parasites, different investigation methods are required. Parasites that form cysts in organs are discovered using MRI, CAT scan or X-ray testing. Parasites that produce an immune system reaction that involves the release of antibodies in the blood are best identified through blood testing for specific antibodies. While parasites that live in the blood are seen in blood smear tests.

      Different tests are accurate for different types of parasites, but a stool test remains pretty accurate for a great deal of intestinal parasites, if performed correctly. This means that the doctor should ask questions about your symptoms, lifestyle, such as potential food sources of parasites (raw or undercooked meat, from beef to slugs or fresh lettuce or unpasteurized apple juice), recent events, mostly travels, in order to determine if it’s an intestinal parasite that is prevalent where you live, one that is endemic to areas you’ve traveled to or one whose life cycle is dependent on a certain food group. And based on this, look for certain parasites in stools. Or if it’s another parasite entirely. The doctor should ask for multiple samples from consecutive and different days and repeat the test or give prophylactic treatment, based on their research and findings. Overall, it adds up to an accurate diagnosis for intestinal parasites.

  3. I just collected stool for a colon DNA test. I noticed the stool had many white things about the size of small soft grains of rice. I am wondering if these are worm eggs of some sort, or perhaps segments of a tape worm. I am hoping the lab that does the DNA test will report back if this is the case. Any ideas or predictions of what the little white things are? I haven’t eaten anything (rice or corn) that could come through undigested that resembles these things. I am an 83 yr old female.

    • Hello, Betty. By any chance, have you eaten almonds or sesame seeds recently? Because I get these small white particles in the stools when I eat almonds or sesame seeds, most likely because I don’t chew all of them extremely well and they sort of come through undigested. It would be possible for other nuts and seeds to do the same.

      At the same time, it’s a possibility you have intestinal parasites. Some worms and their eggs are tiny and white in color and could appear in stools. Now I’m not sure if the DNA test will be able to identify the exact parasite species because there are so many of them and usually even specialty tests look for particular species and sometimes omit others simply because they weren’t looking for them. But since these grain-like white particles are so visible, the doctors doing the DNA test should be able to tell if they are parasites and further recommend a coproculture stool test to identify the species and recommend treatment. Try to think if you have had any of the symptoms listed in the article, which could indicate if there is a possibility you have intestinal parasites. At the same time, know that not all intestinal parasites infections lead to symptoms, so a stool test would be your best chance at knowing for sure. Hope this helps and wishing you lots of health.

  4. I can actually see and feel what I think are parasites in my lower extremities (shins), lower back, shoulders, arms, hands, neck, and face. My hair is also inexplicably thinning. At first I thought I had some sort of neurological disorder, but I’m sure that’s not it. Is it too late once these have left the intestinal track? I’ve resorted to everything, a change of diet that includes raw fruits and vegetables, some cooked veggies, and very little meat (chicken). I’ve used black walnut hulls, oregano oil, and wormwood extracts and they only seem to tax my kidneys. I’ve used 100% gum spirits of turpentine, which revealed parasites clearly in my stool, but did not rid them from my entire body. I’ve also resorted to all types of candida cleanse methods, and nothing seems to be working. Please offer me a solution before I die.

    • Hello, James. First of all, please answer the following questions:
      1) Have you seen a doctor for the intestinal worms you say you have?
      2) Did you have a stool test to identify the exact type of intestinal parasite?
      3) Did you receive medication from your doctor to treat the parasitic infection (example: mebendazole)?

      These are important steps for the successful treatment of intestinal parasites. If you have not been to the doctor yet, please make an appointment, have a stool test and talk to your doctor about what the best treatment option is for you. Once again, if you haven’t gone to the doctor, it’s not too late yet. Just make an appointment as soon as possible.

      I am going to be honest with you here: I do not believe in alternative remedies for intestinal parasites. Very often, the parasites are too resilient to respond to natural treatments and only medication from your doctor can help clear the infection for good, especially the new generation of eggs. And it’s just as important to make a distinction between certain foods having antiparasitic effects and these effects being strong enough to produced desired outcomes. What this means is that even though oregano oil, for example, may be toxic to parasites, in the amounts that is safe for you to use it, it will probably not clear all the parasites.

      This being said, you’ve reported that some of the natural treatments you’ve tried have had side effects, especially on your kidneys. It it important to discontinue the use of all natural antiparasitic products you have been taking up until now that cause these side effects and see a doctor if the symptoms you are experiencing do not stop. Such side effects are signs that these products are really not good for your body and can result in toxicity.

      I am also curious to why you would so drastically change your diet. You should know that an intestinal parasite does not discriminate between sources of food: whatever food keeps you alive and healthy will also nourish the respective parasite. And a drastic change in diet like excluding meat products to such an extent is more likely to affect you than the parasite. For example, by eating very little meat you are depriving yourself of essential B vitamins that you need for good digestion, muscle health, nervous system health and energy metabolism. And of protein you need for healthy hair, muscles and brain health.

      And here is something you might find interesting: severe protein deficiency affects hair, causing thin, brittle hair that falls off. Serious B vitamins deficiencies can cause neurological symptoms, possibly of the likes you are experiencing when you say you feel parasites in your lower extremities, back, arms etc. It’s just like when you feel pins and needles in your muscles, your eyelid twitching or a large portion of a muscle just moving rhythmically all on its own.

      Because there are so many causes behind all sorts of symptoms and because even natural products have side effects, it is important to see a doctor and address all of these symptoms you have described to me. Remember that it’s not normal to feel unwell when on a natural remedy and often times, people misinterpret signs of toxicity as signs to detoxification. That is not true. Detoxification does not hurt. If it did, it would mean you would be too sick to even live. So please see a real doctor. Waiting to hear back from you with good news.

  5. ‘NO’ to all three of your questions.

    Thank you, as your reply makes me feel a lot better. I’m going to see a doctor this morning, hell or high water! In the meantime, I’ve passed up some good meals here lately, including some baked haddock that I cooked last night, but was afraid to eat. I’m about to go handle that right now!

    Thanks again…I’ll most definitely reply back with good news.

    • I am so happy to hear you are going to the doctor and to see you are tackling the issue with such responsibility. As a side note, you should know that it is important to cook fish very well because fish too may be carries of certain parasites. I prefer to boil fish or eat canned fish (it’s been pasteurized at high temperatures that make it safe to eat), but the important thing is to just cook it well, thoroughly.
      Wishing you lots of health!

  6. I have been infected with threadworm (not pinworm!) for 4 months. I have had repeated treatment with first mebendazole, 6 weeks worth daily, pyrantel pomoate alternately with above to no effect. Treatment then went to Ivermectin 3mg x 3 tabs, now had 4 times, albendazole, 2 tabs twice a day for 3 days, now had 4 times. I find the medications make symptoms extreme for about 4 days then it settles slightly before flaring up again. I am all about hygiene, shower morning and night and wash throughout the day when needed. I have tried internal cleansing, ceased all sugars, refined carbs, processed foods. Added all anti parasitic foods to what little diet I have, used or using wormwood, black walnut, DE, MSM, clove bud oil, oregano oil, coconut oil, garlic, bitter melon, neem leaf tea, colon cleanse, flax seeds and oil, pineapple, papaya seeds, probiotics, pumpkin seeds, colloidal silver and copper, neem oil, aloe vera, Ivermectin cream, anti Parasitic cream, scabies cream, lice wash, borax, bi-carb, Hydrogen Peroxide, you name it…the list goes on and on. I purchased a home steamer, air purifier, house gets scrubbed daily, everything washed in hot water, sun dried then put in dryer daily, all surfaces hot washed and steamed, vacuumed daily, toilet and shower cleaned after every use, you name it..worn dust masks the lot! My husband and father have both had it too although not to the extent I have. I’ve had 6 maybe 7 stool tests come back negative! I can assure you I have the evidence of this parasite. Dr. has seen so confirmation is not a problem however to prescribe longer term medication we need a pos test result. Stool samples are very unreliable. Threadworm do not lay eggs inside therefore eggs deposited outside need to be found in the small sample of stool actually examined under the microscope. I have had laboratory confirm lack of reliable testing. Also blood testing here only tests for bacteria released by parasite which points to infection also elevated white blood cell count. I’ve been told I have a severe infestation, yet results are all negative apart from elevated white cell and other things that were put down to health issues I already have. Very, very frustrating. I have them in my nose, lungs (showed up on xray) and every area downstairs including bladder. They come out of my mouth and make me vomit with how disgusting it is. I am so ill with these rotten things. Contracted from eating vegetable grown in soil purchased from a landscape business. Even though all vegetables regardless of where it comes from is washed and soaked in apple cider vinegar and washed well. Apparently there is a marked increase in cases in our local area, some people having found threadworm in their home water supply! I have other health conditions, some serious, including immune deficiency, no thyroid function etc. Apparently that’s why I’m so infected. This is the worst thing I have ever been through. It’s not just a little bit of itching. Insomnia, nausea, stomach pain, fever, chest/rib pain, urinary infections, digestive issues, sore eyes, headaches, hair falling out in chunks, rashes, crawling, itching, extreme fatigue or hyperactivity, it just doesn’t stop! I’ve seen an infectious disease specialist who, me being his first ever case, found it disgusting and said to just let my GP deal with it! Humiliation and distress. I want my, albeit limited, life back! I want to see my children and grandchildren whom I haven’t seen for 4 months. Not even at Christmas which we had to cancel. I can’t go anywhere because I couldn’t stand to put anyone else through this and it’s so infectious. I need help. This has cost us thousands we couldn’t afford and it’s not going away. I apparently have auto-infections. How do I get rid of this? Please!

    • Hello, Kath. I am so sorry to hear about this. Your situation is made difficult by existing health issues which can make it hard for a doctor to separate symptoms and provide a clear diagnosis. Can you please answer me this: did any of the tests you had show you had threadworms specifically? Or were there other parasites too? I am asking you this because threadworm is not that hard of an infection to clear, especially after all this treatment you’ve had. But other parasites may need more specific treatments. It is possible, and this is only a theory, that you might have contracted not one, but two different parasites that could have caused your health issues. For example, an intestinal parasite like the threadworm and another parasite that is evolved to infect the urinary tract and bladder. Some parasites like these may only show up in blood tests looking for specific antibodies which could explain why your stool tests are clean. Or they may show up only in urinary tests or endoscopy. Before anything else, please make an appointment with your doctor and discuss this possibility. Depending on what the doctor tells you, we may talk further. Wishing you lots of health.

    • Hello, try blended pumpkin seed followed by psyillium, husk, with juiced garlic! Takes a long time.

    • I relate to all your saying. You told my story. I’ve come to be so disgusted. I’m not 100 percent sure yet bit after 4 yrs of trying everything even turpentine which actually I have started it up with another product that is working, HOMOZON. I don’t know how I came across it, yet in my desperate attempt to get better I ordered it. Scary, I thought I’d seen everything. I’ve been taking it for 2 months now. The things coming are scary. The first 2 weeks I was on the toilet often. The things came out and still unbelievable. This stuff works. It may be 6 months, yet I’m getting feeling back in my free and legs. I am desperate because like you I’ve lost my life. These things have stolen everything from me and I’m at the point if this is forever I want it to end. If you have cancer at least you can talk about it. This infection no one wants to admit it exists and I know it does. Drs don’t want to deal with it. It has been a silent hell for me. Do many times I’ve wanted to give up. It’s a very lonely existence and thousands are suffering as we are. We have had to rely on the internet and basically be our own Dr. My heart goes out to you. I felt your pain especially about spreading it . I think a lot about that. I still use several other of my treatments because I’m very scared. Yet HOMOZON which is oxygen therapy has been a true miracle to me. It’s a powder been around over 100 yrs. Not dangerous. Your story touched me so needed to share this with you. God bless you.

    • OMG this is my story. Been to infectious diseases, Dr. did nothing. I see a couple different kinds now. Pinworms and threadworms in my feet, face and whatever lives in sinuses, my hair, my ears and my eyes. Now all I do is suffer in silence. Dr. and ER thought I may need crises not I feel them move and see them move, I cannot get Dr. to take me seriously even with chest cough, feeling like I have pneumonia and hard to breathe. Two weeks went to color hair, started burning and like things were jumping out of hair. I already have PID and am severely anemic as though this doesn’t help me I’m not alone.

    • I am sorry to hear this, Cheryl. Can you talk to your doctor to just give you a prophylactic treatment for worms and intestinal parasites?

  7. I have have been diagnosed with worms by my Naturopath for 4 times now in the last 7 months! She uses a Vega machine so I’ve no idea what type of worm or parasite it is. On this occasion I was suffering a sharp pain for a few days on my left side before I went to see the Naturopath. She tested me yet again with the Vega machine and said my liver was not working properly either! I’ve been taking the herbal treatment she prescribed for 4 days and I feel so tender and sore in my gut in fact I feel worse than I did. Not only that I feel so very bloated and even after going to the toilet (which I’ve done loads of) I still feel that I have not emptied my bowel. I even took some Movical yesterday to try and help shift if there was a bit of a blockage.
    On a couple of occasions I have noticed in my stools very soft matter with a couple of little pellets of very hard stool. Could I have a blockage which is making it easier for me to have parasites?
    Yesterday I passed a couple of bright red things in my stool which alarmed me I thought it was red pepper but I hadn’t eaten any of that. One was a ball I thought it was a ball of blood then on prodding it I saw it was not a ball but a firm almost rubbery texture something about 5 mm long? The second piece was about 10 mm long with one side smooth and the other side looked like a lumpy texture (like the little lumps on a chicken skin before it’s cooked).
    These things were bright red and I’ve kept one in a tube to show my doctor. What on earth could it be? When I went back to look at it in the tube it’s now really dark brown. I’m scared that I’ve got a massive worm in my body and that was bits of it breaking off.
    Please help me!

    • Hello, Jo. First of all, if the herbal treatment is making you feel worse than before, stop taking it. No natural treatment and no form of detoxification should make you feel worse. Do you know what’s in it first of all? Because the bloating could be because it contains lots of fiber or because it contains strong laxative herbs. It is possible these plants have either irritated your digestive system themselves or upset you as a result of their laxative properties. And this could be making you feel like you still have to go. As long as you eat anything and take laxatives or herbal preparations with laxative properties, you will keep having lots of bowel movements and keep feeling like there is more. And this is not necessarily good in the long run because your digestive system need time to process food properly and nourish you and hurrying it like that is not healthy.
      Also, a lot of obscure herbal preparations can be contaminated with heavy metals which could cause various symptoms such as loose stools, bloating, feeling of unwell, sharp pains, liver problems and so on, so make sure you know the origin and contents of the preparations you are taking. If the pain in your side has started after taking the herbal preparation, it would be wise to discontinue it because there is a chance that preparation has caused it in the first place.
      So unless your doctor prescribes laxatives for a chronic form of constipation, you don’t need to take them. Manage your bowel movements frequency and stool consistency naturally with a soothing tea once a day, fruits, vegetables, dried fruits, nuts and seeds.

      Now about the difference in stools consistency, namely the pellets of hard stool in softer stools. Sometimes when you go to the bathroom but you can’t pass everything, what is left will be dehydrated so the next time you have a bowel movement, it can come out like a stool with normal consistency with some hard lumps mixed in. This can also happen when you hold your bowel movements for too long. Again, the remedy for this is to go to the bathroom the moment you need to, drink plenty of water and eat enough fiber from sources such as bananas, pears with skin, apples with skin, kiwifruit, dried plums, dried figs, nuts, seeds etc.

      As for the red things, if it’s not peppers, could it be tomatoes? Have you eaten any fresh tomatoes with skin or tomato sauce with pulp in the last few days? Goji berries can also come out like that, sometimes watermelon, red apples, grapes or other red fruits with skin, and there must be others foods too. All of these can result in bits of bright red, rubbery particles in stools. Usually parasites are too small to be seen or, if you can see them, they are transparent, cream-colored, grayish, but usually not bright red. That’s why I was wondering about what you’ve might been eating.
      In any case, it’s great that you going to the doctor and you should address the concern regarding hard stool consistency too.

      If you are worried about parasites, don’t rely on inexact tests. Go have a stool culture test called a coproculture which should be able to identify any parasites or intestinal worms. You can also ask your doctor if he or she can prescribe a prophylactic treatment for intestinal parasites. It’s usually mebendazole or something similar and can be given in case of suspicion of parasites.

      As for the tests your naturopath has been performing with that machine, know they are unreliable. Intestinal parasites can only be seen in stool cultures, under the microscope or indicated by various symptoms you may manifest and are best treated with medication. No natural product will get rid of them. If it did, there wouldn’t be so many critically ill children and adults with severe intestinal parasites infections. It would be best to also discontinue the herbal preparation and see if the digestive upset and sharp pain continue. If they do, see a doctor for this too. Keep the herbs in case your doctor may need to test them. Hope this helps and would love to hear back from you after your visit to the doctor.

  8. I must confess that intestinal worm infection is the worst tragedy to befall anyone. I have a 42 year old aunt who has been suffering series of ill health since childhood. This minute, she is alive and active, the next minute she starts complaining of abdominal pains, sleepless nights, headaches that don’t ever stop, fatigue, diarrhea. A little exercise and she sweats like a gallon of water is dripping from her forehead. Gosh! You know the most painful part of the story line? She has been on malaria and typhoid medications all these while according to the doctor’s prescription. Who does that? I decided to get to the root of the matter and end it once and for all by God’s special grace. My question now is, is it safe to administer Lavamisole because I suspect Ascaris here or maybe Nacator or its amazing sister Ancylostoma.
    Please help a sister in need. It’s that terrible round here.

    • Hello, Jessy. Only a specialist can advise you with regards to the safety of the said anthelmintic medication. What I can tell you is that this specific anthelmintic causes low white blood cell count which predisposes to infection. So it comes with certain risks for your aunt, hence the reason why she should see another doctor who can assess her health, run some tests and provide an accurate diagnosis. Based on a current assessment of her health, medical history, test results and diagnosis, the doctor can recommend one medication or another.
      It would be great if your aunt can have some tests to determine the exact parasite so as to receive a medication that targets said parasite more efficiently. A stool test looking for specific parasite species would be of great help in both providing an accurate diagnosis and recommending an efficient treatment.

      And then it’s important to prevent reinfection. Avoid walking barefoot, clip nails short, wash hands before eating and upon coming home, avoid gardening or handling soil without gloves, wash underclothes at 90 degrees Celsius daily, disinfect surfaces, wash vegetables and fruits very well, cook all meat thoroughly, especially pork and chicken, avoid rare and medium rare steaks etc. Hope this helps and wishing you and your aunt lots of health!

  9. Hi, Marius. Thanks for the informative article! I have a very simple question that I’m hoping you can help me with. I would like to get into the routine of deworming regularly – not that I have high risk habits, but I feel it’s living responsibly. I have taken Vermox for this purpose but I am not sure whether it is effective for tapeworms and I’ve been struggling to find consistent information on this. If you could please confirm whether Vermox can be used for tapeworms and if so, how should the dosing be scheduled? Thank you!

    • Hi, Luke. You can look up a study called Studies on the comparative efficacy of mebendazole, flubendazole and niclosamide against human tapeworm infections.
      It says in this study that niclosamide and mebendazole both have high cure rates for tapeworm and the disease it causes, taeniasis. However, multiple doses and a several day treatment are needed for high cure rates. Praziquantel is also commonly prescribed for tapeworms.

      I too practice deworming once a year and use Vermox as well. I do a lot of gardening and have several pets and I find it contributes greatly to preventing worms and intestinal parasites, along with good hygiene, so I understand where you’re coming from. My treatment plan includes taking 100 mg dose of mebendazole once a day for 6 days in a row for adult worms and intestinal parasites, followed by one 100 mg dose after 7 days for any remaining eggs. And it’s been effective so far since I haven’t had any parasites. But you should talk to your doctor and see what he or she recommends because I am not a doctor and cannot and do not recommend any treatment.

      It’s important that you understand there are side effects to any intestinal parasites medication:
      – Abdominal cramps
      – Nausea, vomiting
      – Headaches
      – Diarrhea or constipation
      – Fever, sweating
      – Body aches, muscle pain
      – Malaise, fatigue, sleepiness
      – Dizziness, vertigo
      – Rashes
      – Low blood pressure and changes in heart rhythm
      – Allergic reaction with potential anaphylaxis
      So please be aware there may be serious side effects to deworming medication and you should take all the necessary precautions to avoid them. This is why it’s best to talk to your doctor for a treatment plan. Hope this helps.

  10. Thank you Marius, that study is exactly the kind of information I’ve been looking for. I will talk to my doctor about a treatment plan before taking any further action. Thanks again.

  11. I get loose motions and bcz of that I lost my appetite. The doctor prescribed me Ofloxacin and Ornidazole, Loperamide for three days. Loose motions stopped but I still feel quite itchy. What should I do? Now I sometime sweat at night. And have body pain.

    • Hi, Shal. Please answer me these questions:
      1) What was the diagnosis your doctor gave you?
      2) Do you have an infection and, if so, what kind?
      3) Do you know if you have parasites and, if yes, what kind?
      4) Did you have a stool test for identifying parasites?
      5) When did the night sweats begin, before or after you started treatment?
      6) Did you have blood with loose stools? If so, what color?
      7) Do you do gardening or have pets that stay both indoors and outside?
      8) Have you been on vacation recently and where?

      It is possible for the loss of appetite and itching to be caused by intestinal parasites and worms or by protozoa. A stool test helps identify the exact parasite and allows the doctor to prescribe the most efficient medication. Because not all medicines are as effective. Plus, you’ve been prescribed Ornizadole which works for protozoa and some bacteria, but a lot of intestinal parasites respond to anthelmintics. The sweats at night could be caused by an infection like a bacterial infection, a viral infection or a parasitic infection. At the same time, antibiotics cause night sweats too. So it’s best to think when the nighttime sweating started, before or after treatment, and tell your doctor about it. Body aches are a very common symptom and are caused by so many things, from the flu or stomach flu to various medication.

      What you should do is consider these questions and see your doctor to discuss your symptoms in more detail. This can help your doctor better understand what you have and provide an adequate treatment. In the meantime, make sure you keep to excellent hygiene. Wash hands before eating, wash bed linen and underwear at 90 degrees Celsius in the washing machine, keep nails short, don’t share personal objects, disinfect floors and cooking surfaces and wash and cook your food very well. Hope this helps. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

  12. People are here because Drs. leave us desperate. I absolutely think a medical Dr. needs to be seen. After 5 of them, it does no good to keep trying. State insurance wont just keep paying. Drs. see negative stool test and that’s all they need. They don’t do squat.

    • Have you considered asking one of these doctors for a prophylactic treatment for intestinal parasites? Even though they don’t show in stool tests, this can be done and it can help you feel better knowing that you’ve dealt with the possibility and not worry about having parasites. Interested to hear your thoughts on this, Miya.

  13. Hello, everyone. I agree with many of the replies I’ve just read; no doctor (in the USA, anyway), has the knowledge or training to deal with what the CDC is now classifying many of the parasitic diseases (including ‘helminth’) as “emerging and under-diagnosed” in the US.
    Dogs, cats, etc., that receive regular veterinary care, stand a much better chance of being diagnosed, treated and cured of a parasitic infection. And mostly this is done prophylactically. While I’m very, very glad for all our beloved pets, why isn’t this available for humans?
    It has been my personal experience that doctors such as gastroenterologists and dermatologists are programmed to label us as having delusions, with little to no testing to quantify this diagnosis. A person who is delusional has a very serious psychiatric disease, called psychoses. I am sure that people who have Ekbom’s Syndrome (delusional parasitosis), do exist, but if you check out the blogs spots on the internet you will see literally thousands of people talking about this issue!
    Surely not all us can be delusional!
    Perhaps, even as recently as 20 to 30 years ago, the US had little cause for concern, but why on earth wouldn’t we be affected, like any other country, today? People come from all over the world, US citizens travel all over the world, items are bought and sold from all over the world, including (sadly), some exotic pets. It’s insane to think we remain in a protected bubble.
    I just want to thank whoever developed this ‘commentary’, as I feel a little better now for just having an arena of like-minded people to get this off my chest.

    • Hello, Victor. I agree with you on this: parasites have been around for very long and have produced disease for just as long. So they’re not just emerging. At most, parasitic infections have been under-diagnosed. And since not even the most common parasitic infections can always be identified through conventional tests for various reasons (either doctors are not looking for a certain parasite specifically or it can’t be found during the first test because of its particular life cycle) it would be great if everyone could have access to prophylactic treatment.
      Of course, people should be informed about the side effects of anthelmintic medication such as nausea, stomach upset, diarrhea or risk of anaphylactic shock.
      Wishing you lots of health, Victor!

  14. Thanks, Marius. You’re probably right about parasites having been around for a long time and the CDC labeling certain parasites as “an emerging disease”, it’s probably just another way of stating that these parasites are just “very under-diagnosed”.
    What is disturbing to me is a question of whether or not medical students are even being taught to consider this as a possible diagnosis? I live in an area that allegedly claims to have some of the best medical facilities (doctors, hospitals, labs, etc.) in the US. So far, I’ve yet to meet a doctor or inquire at the hospital’s lab, or an independent laboratory that has ever heard of ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay), tests that are specific to screening for parasites! They still believe that the only way to screen for parasites is the good old-fashioned stool sample way! I think this is scary that we are so behind-the-times that one might consider going to a foreign country to get diagnosed and treated appropriately, but there it is…
    I certainly appreciate you taking the time to leave a reply. Thank you! And Marius – here’s wishing very good health back to you!

    • There seems to be an awful lot of conditions that appear to not receive proper attention (laryngospasms, for example). I also do not understand the reluctance to providing prophylactic treatment for intestinal and other parasites, especially when it can be done safely and is cost-effective.
      And while stool tests (when done properly, repeated at certain intervals to account for the differences in life cycle of various parasites, employed to look for more than a handful of the most common parasites and used as part of a larger, more extensive medical investigation with regards to parasitic infections) can represent a great screening tool for so many intestinal parasites in my opinion, other types of tests like blood tests, antigen and antibody tests or X-rays should also be considered within the range of available screening options and applied whenever necessary. Not all parasites are intestinal worms and not all are visible in stools. So many we are just beginning to understand show up in different areas of the body so, yes, there is a need for greater flexibility and a more modern approach to the diagnosis and treatment of parasitic infections. Especially since we’re just now realizing the extent of the damage one parasite can do to our health long-term (like river flukes that can cause bladder cancer).
      It appears it’s up to us to sometimes insist on receiving adequate care, stay informed and look for doctors more willing to put in the effort needed to provide comprehensive health care.
      Wishing lots of health to you too, Victor, and thank you for your input on the subject!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.