Parasite Infection of the Intestine

Parasitic infection is a digestive disease caused by infection of parasitic microorganisms and worms.

Symptoms of Intestinal Parasitic Infection

The symptoms of intestinal parasite infection are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss and malnutrition
  • Anal itching or pruritus ani, also itching in the genital area
  • In children, urinating in bed

How Is It Diagnosed?

To diagnose parasitic infection, your doctor may order the following tests:

  • Stool test
    The stool test would reveal the presence of worms or cysts.

  • Blood test
    This test would reveal the immune reaction against Giardia and the presence of white blood cells called eosinophils, which fights parasitic infection.

  • Physical examination
    S welling of the face, hands and feet are diagnosis of an allergic reaction to the toxins secreted by parasitic worms.

Causes of Intestinal Parasitic Infection

The culprit parasites include:

  • Protozoa
  • Amoeba
  • Roundworm
  • Tapeworm

These parasites are transmitted through:

  • The fecal-oral route
    This form of food contamination is caused mainly by unsanitary handling of food by food handlers who do not wash their hands well after going to the bathroom.

  • Contaminated drinking water
    Giardia, cryptosporidia, and microsporidia parasites are common in rivers, streams, lakes, well water, and even in tap water in some cities.

  • Through the skin
    Some parasites are able to burrow through the skin, for example when you are swimming or standing barefoot in a river. Some ground worms are able to burrow from the ground and enter the body through the sole of the feet.

How Can It Be Prevented?

Prevent parasitic infection by following these precautions:

  • Drink only bottled water
  • Do not drink unboiled or unfiltered water from rivers, streams, and lakes.
  • If your tap water or well water is contaminated: boil or filter the water before drinking.
  • Do not eat undercooked pork and meat, such as steak tartare, as trichinosis and tape worm are found in these food.
  • Do not walk barefoot in rivers and pastures.

What is the treatment for parasitic infection?

Depending on the specific culprit parasite, anti-parasite medications are prescribed to treat this condition.

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