There’s a knock on your front door one late flu season consumed night. You ask, “Who is it,” but get no response. The knocking continues getting louder with each pound more aggressive than the one before it, until suddenly the door flies open and a slew of parasites swarmed the house. You begin coughing and your nose begins to run. Damn…they’ve got you.
While this visualization is many things, let us pull out the truths in the statement about Parasites. A parasite is an organism that benefits at the expense of another. (For the purpose of this article humans will be the other organism that the parasite is benefiting from.) While reading this article I implore you to begin to open your mind to understanding that there are good parasites and bad parasites around us and living within us looking to harm and to help us. I say this not to instill fear but instead bring an awareness to a topic that is often times not discussed outside the realm of healthcare professionals.
There are 3 types of parasites: protozoa, helminths, and ectoparasites.
Protozoa are one-celled organisms that can live freely or be parasitic in nature with the ability to multiply in humans. Protozoa are typically transmitted from fecal-to-oral including but not limited to oral sex, food, and contaminated water. Analigus (rimming) and putting fingers or hands in your mouth after they have had contact with the anus are high risk behaviors that attributes to Intestinal Parasites.
Symptoms of Intestinal Parasites are:
Gas or bloating
Nausea or vomiting
Stomach pain or tenderness
Fatigue or weakness
Passing a worm in your stool
Oral-anal and oral-genital sexual practices predispose Men Who Have Sex With Men (MSM) to infection with many enteric pathogens, including parasitic protozoans and helminths. With this information in mind, it is critical that we all -no matter your sexual preference- use dental dams or latex gloves during contact with the anus; to clean the anus before engaging in rimming; to clean or use condoms on shared sex toys; and to use condoms or dental dams during oral sex in effort to protect ourselves.)
Helminths are large, multicellular organism that can generally be seen by the naked eye and are classified into three groups: Flatworms (i.e. Tapeworms), Thorny-headed worms (found in your gastrointestinal tract), and Roundworms (also found in your gastrointestinal tract and blood tissue). Ectoparasites are organisms that attach and burrow under the skin often times laying eggs leaving mosquito-like marks indicative of their current presence or past inhabitants (i.e. lice, mites, scabies). Historically, Malaria is one of the leading parasitic killers. Taking the lives of approximately 660,000 people each year -most deaths occurring in children of sub-Saharan Africa.
Similar to that of sexually transmitted infections, a person who is infected with a parasite can be “Asymptomatic”. If a person is asymptomatic he/she does not show symptoms of infection or of being ill. For those that have symptoms of infection they can range from ones similar to that of a common cold -coughing, sneezing, lite diarrhea- to chronic pain. For the more severe cases treatment includes medications (including antipsychotic drugs); all the while not knowing that the cause of the prolonged illness is related to a parasitic infection. If you believe you are infected with a parasite contact your doctor immediately. To provide a diagnosis & potential treatment your doctor will run lab tests on a stool sample.
Outside of the American adapted culture of popping a pill, there have been studies and experiments resulting in natural and herbal methods of prevention and treatment of parasites. *Before beginning a natural or herbal regimen to get rid of parasites, speak with your doctor or physician first to be sure there will be no potential health risk* Your greatest defense system against parasites is first and always your immune system. If your immune system is already in a compromised state due to pre-existing conditions (including but not limited to Cancer, HIV/AIDS, or other illnesses) when a parasite enters into your body it immediately goes in search of the perfect nesting ground to reproduce.
According to an article, Natural Remedies for Intestinal Parasites: 8 ways to Get Rid of Parasites Naturally, everyday foods and additives may be included in a natural treatment plan to rid your body of parasitic infections. A few remedies mentioned were Garlic, Pumpkin seeds, and maintaining a healthy Diet. Garlic has been found to have activity against Ascaris (Roundworm), Giardia lamblia, Trypanosoma, Plasmodium, and Leishmania. Traditionally, Pumpkin seeds (Curcubita pepo) have been used as a remedy for tapeworms and roundworms. The doctor’s favorite, maintaining a healthy Diet, has many benefits to your health in regards to the treatment and prevention of parasitic infections. Did you know that adding pineapples to your diet may aid getting rid of parasites such as tapeworms? Or that a healthy intake of carrots and sweet potatoes is a natural way of increasing Vitamin A in your system, increasing resistance to penetration by larvae? Well if you did, I didn’t. May I inquire as to why you are holding back the good stuff. After reading through this article it brought me to a place of reflection. I remember when my hair artist, who will remain nameless (Shanell Monique, who in addition to wearing many entrepreneurial hats is a Nurse of 14 years), would yell at me about not eating more vegetables. I do apologize. *Chuckles* I now know better & will do better.
As stated previously there are good parasites and bad parasites around us and living within us looking to harm us and to help us. Leeches for example, while not the most attractive creatures, do serve their purpose in this thing called the circle of life. In the medical field, modern day leeches live and grow in science laboratories. Their purpose is to eat unwanted blood, numb pain or reduce swelling and keep blood flowing in wounded limbs. This keeps the limbs alive and allows doctors to fix or reattach them. Like leeches the parasite, Maggot, has become quite the namesake in modern medicine. Maggots are used to clean up wounds that are infected or that are not healing well. Maggots only eat dead skin and tissue so they get rid of the diseased part, leaving the healthy part behind. Although I can not stand the sight of these slimy individuals both can save my life any day. After all my thigh has never done anything wrong to me and my foot keeps me balanced. Chomp on little guys.
In conclusion let’s hear it for the little guys who could quite naturally save your life one day. You’ve been presented with the material and now what will you do with it? I, for one will now begin to take better care of my health. I would rather not have to be in the middle of church and because of an unknown parasite have to make a mad dash to the restroom before I become known as the modern day Picasso or Devinci, if you catch my drift. “Ain’t I a stinker?” to quote Bugs Bunny.
I am a blogger and only give my opinions on the facts.
Columnist/Enticing Resultz Magazine