Intestinal parasites: what you need to know

intestinal parasites statistics - comic

Intestinal parasites is unfortunately a subject that has been neglected by occidental medicine.  The whole thing is usually downsized to intestinal cramps trigger by some worms that one would have caught during an exotic journey. That, like we say, is only the small visible part of the iceberg.

What internet says about parasites

I spent quite some time trying to gather information about parasites, and especially intestinal parasites. Too often, I ended up with the same kind of article: parasites are classified into two groups. The tapeworms (cestoda), with the famous Tænia as a captain. And the roundworms (nematode), among which the most famous would be ascaris and pinworms.

snake - comic

The symptoms are usually located around the intestines (yep, you could have guessed…) : pain, cramps, digestive issues, diarrhée, bloating, farting…

That’s basically it. All the articles copy each other so you’re quickly wonder round and round (worms) in circles.

What we shall not conclude

You feel relieved, you know know that you have no intestinal parasites. Indeed, you didn’t go around the world since a while, and you don’t have heavy cramps in the intestine.

Except you think that subject is done but you missed the essential. You may not, indeed, have any intestinal worm. But let me introduce the elite corps of intestinal parasitism.

Unicellular parasites, without anyone noticing

Unicellular parasites, also known as protozoa, are quite neglected around the world. You may have heard of the ameba, it’s the most known. Endolimax Nana, Blastocystis Hominis… the list is huge! With their unpronounceable names, these are professional squatters.

parasites kinds - worms vs protoza - comic

I couldn’t say if it’s the lack of prevention or what, but nobody gives a shit about unicellular protozoa that colonize your gut (yep, I had to do that pun). I do.

I couldn’t find a single study that gives the statistics of all the protozas together. A European study1 conducted in France tells that the Blastocystis sp. parasite was found on 18.1% of the population. This study also establishes a link between the presence of the parasite and abdominal pains.

Another study2, on the Endolimax Nana parasite, tells that in the USA, we estimate that this parasite would be found in 50.2% of the people with a disease, and up to 23.9% of the healthy population (In Europe, it’s much much less! – respectively 30% and 2.1%)

Now, if we regroup all the statistics of each parasite. What are the chances that you have at least one of them? Yeah, you guessed right. The answer is: a looooooooot.

You can be healthy and still host intestinal parasites

Yep, if you read carefully, unicellular parasites have been found into healthy people. So stop searching for the symptoms that will let you to know for sure if you have parasites or not. You’re wasting your time.

What about me? With my chronique fatigue, what shall I conclude? I shouldn’t have to spell it out. Healthy people might have some, and ill people even more. But then, how do you know? And how do you get rid of it?

parasites airbnb - comic

Getting rid of your intestinal parasites by eating garlic and coconut?

7 Natural food to get rid of your parasites” Great, I’m gonna try that!

You can stop right now. You’re loosing your time with natural ways to get rid of your parasites. I’ve tried them, all of them, in large quantities, and nothing worked. Those sites, again, just copy each other. Plus I couldn’t find a single one of those content with a scientific source or even some kind of logic. There are tons of parasites out there, and those articles won’t even tell you for which ones it is supposed to work… anyway, that’s a loss of time. (and honestly, eating tons of garlic for nothing is not so much fun nor convenient)

Do not mix up parasites with vampires.

The only efficient method: stool parasitology test

Just go to your doctor and ask for a stool parasitology test. In the facts, that means pooping in a container and giving it to a lab that will search for parasites marks.

poop in the bucket, parasitology - comic
Sorry, I couldn’t resist, I had to draw it.

In case of a positive test, just take what your doctor tells you to, and everything should go back into order!

Important note: some doctors still think that some parasites are not pathogenous (=harmless). Except that years later, we may find out that they actually were not that harmless. So, in any case, I recommend you insist for being treated and just get rid of your parasites!

Small anecdote: when you take food supplements, you’re parasites may also feed on those. I’ll let you think about it!

Did that article convince you to go and ask for a test? Leave a message in the comments.

  1. Prevalence, risk factors for infection and subtype distribution of the intestinal parasite Blastocystis sp. from a large-scale multi-center study in France.
  2. Systematic review on Endolimax nana: A less well studied intestinal ameba, by Casper Sahl Poulsen and Christen Rune Stensvold

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