testing for parasites

(Image thanks to simplydiscus.com/)

Parasites – another cause of IBS symptoms.

These symptoms range from diarrhea, constipation and gas, to bloating, cramps, nausea, poor digestion, fatigue, muscle aches, bleeding, rectal itching, and abdominal pain. They are linked to many, many symptoms.

Parasites cannot live without you. You provide them living space and food, but unlike friendly bacteria, parasites do nothing for you in return. They only act against you.

Parasites vary in size from the very tiny, which can be seen only under a microscope, to inches long. Some can find their way into just about any area of the body, but most are found only in the digestive tract. The severity of your symptoms and the amount of damage they cause varies depending on the parasite involved, the number of parasites, and the level of resistance your body has.

They damage the body in a number of ways, by absorbing nutrients that you need and by directly damaging your digestive tract; and, if they are capable of migrating, possibly damaging other areas of your body as well. They often reproduce rapidly and by the thousands, and are easily spread to other people. Unfortunately, a strong population of good bacteria does little to protect you from parasites.

Additionally, parasites are more common than generally believed. Although most Americans consider them to be a Third-World problem, they infect millions of Americans – even those who never leave the country or drink from mountain streams (a common source of the parasite Giardia). We live in a global community. Parasites enter this country every day through the importation of contaminated foods and seemingly innocent products such as clay pottery.

It is true that many common parasites are native to the tropics, where it is warm and humid. But the fruits and vegetables we import from these warm countries can be a source of parasitic contamination, affecting every area of the United States. However, because of the misperception that parasites are not an American problem, they have often been overlooked as a possible cause of digestive illnesses.