More than 300 types of parasites live in the human body. For some of them, a person is the main host, for others - an intermediate one, and there are those for which parasitism in a person is a dead end in development. But all the same, parasites in the intestines cause diseases, the diagnosis and treatment of which are often difficult.
What types of parasites are found in the intestines
What types of parasites are found in humans? All parasites that live in the intestines can be divided into two large groups:
- protozoan, the most prominent representatives are amoeba and Giardia;
- worms, also called worms or helminths.
Protozoa or protozoa consist of one cell, but this does not make their influence on the body less. Often, infection with protozoa causes serious disorders and can lead to the development of concomitant diseases.
Worms are divided into two groups, these can be roundworms (nematodes), flatworms (flukes). Moreover, worms live in various parts of the intestine, for example, in the small intestine you can find tapeworms, roundworms, Giardia. In the thick live whipworm, dwarf tapeworm, and pinworms prefer to breed in the lower parts of the rectum.
Many worms are able to migrate from the gastrointestinal tract and penetrate into other organs and systems (liver, lungs, muscles, brain), echinococcus, roundworm can serve as an example.
How infection occurs
According to statistics, 85% of the population has at least one type of parasite living in the intestines. Symptoms of parasitism are not always pronounced, because the parasite does not seek to destroy its host, often intestinal parasites live in the body for many years without showing themselves. Therefore, it is often difficult to find out if there are worms in the body and get rid of them. Tapeworms can reach a length of 7-12 meters, which exceeds the normal length of the gastrointestinal tract, and live up to 20-25 years.
Infection occurs by swallowing the parasite or its larvae along with food, water. The larvae can be found directly in food, for example, infection with a wide tapeworm or cat fluke occurs when eating insufficiently well-processed fish. Bovine and pork tapeworm enter the human body with the meat of domestic animals.
Other worms can get into the intestines with unwashed vegetables and fruits, when using undisinfected water from open reservoirs. An important role in the transmission of parasites from one person to another is played by domestic animals, as well as flies and cockroaches.
The pathogenesis of the development of the disease is different for different types of parasites, but there are common symptoms that are common to all. Worms can cause damage to the intestinal walls and disrupt digestive processes, or absorb nutrients from food and release toxic products that cause intoxication and allergic reactions. Hence, the signs and symptoms of diseases caused by different parasites can be different.
Protozoan forms of parasites can live both in the intestinal lumen and in its tissues. For example, Giardia attaches to the mucous membrane of the small intestine and absorbs not only nutrients from food, but can also damage intestinal cells, which causes the development of an immune response to invasion, allergies. Often Giardia penetrate the hepatic ducts, causing symptoms inherent in chronic cholecystitis. To bring them out, it is necessary not only to take medicine against them, but also to cleanse the liver.
Amoebas only in 10% of cases cause complications that allow to determine the invasion, in other situations the disease is asymptomatic and it is possible to find out that the patient has amoebiasis only by chance. The invasive form of amoebiasis is associated with the penetration of amoebas into the intestinal mucosa. This causes its destruction, sometimes up to perforation.
Damage to blood vessels can lead to bleeding (amebic dysentery). Upon penetration into the mucous tissue, it undergoes necrosis, foci of inflammation, abscesses are formed, and amoebic abscesses can also occur in other organs (liver, lungs). The cause of extraintestinal complications is the hematogenous spread of amoebae.
The main signs of amoeba infection are abdominal pain and blood in the stool.
For worms such as nematodes, of which whipworm is a representative, humans are the main host. They do not use substances that come with food in their diet, nematodes attach to the mucous membrane and feed on tissues and blood. Features of attachment to the wall lead to the fact that it is not always possible to remove them by doing a bowel cleansing, an enema. The eggs laid by these intestinal parasites enter the external environment with feces, where the development of the larva occurs.
Another type of roundworm, roundworm, parasitizes in humans and in the form of a sexually mature individual and larva. A sexually mature individual, and they have sexual differences, lives in the intestinal lumen, the duration of parasitism is about a year. During this time, she can lay up to 200 thousand eggs, which are excreted in the feces, since oxygen is needed for the development of the larva. Often, bowel cleansing allows you to remove ascaris from the body with feces.
Ascaris larvae enter the body with contaminated food, penetrate the intestinal wall and enter the lungs with blood flow, where they live for some time. Then they enter the oral cavity through the bronchi and trachea, where they are re-swallowed. At this time, a person has signs of inflammation of the upper respiratory tract, cough symptoms. Then the cycle of development is repeated.
Pinworms, causative agents of enterobiasis, on the contrary, absorb vitamins and nutrients from the intestinal lumen. The toxic substances they release can cause allergic reactions. They are characterized by autoinvasion, or self-infection.
The female lays eggs at night in the anus, crawling out of the rectum. This causes severe skin irritation and itching. A person, combing the skin, captures the eggs, and if you do not follow the rules of hygiene, you can again become infected with pinworms by swallowing their larvae with food. Since they live in the lumen and do not attach to the wall, often folk methods, bowel cleansing with therapeutic enemas (wormwood decoction, milk with garlic) help to remove them.
Infection with roundworms and tapeworms often occurs from domestic animals. Be sure to periodically inspect the feces of your pets for the presence of worms in them. Do not walk them near playgrounds to reduce the risk of infecting children. Treat (deworm) your pets.
Tapeworms, flatworms can parasitize in humans for years, they have organs (suckers, hooks) that allow them to attach themselves to the intestinal wall, which keeps them in place. Reaching huge sizes, they absorb nutrients from food, the entire surface of the body, which often leads to a change in the weight of the patient, disruption of the functioning of the digestive system and other organs. Getting rid of them is difficult, often you have to take antiparasitic drugs several times to remove them from the body.
Symptoms of parasitism
When a person has intestinal parasites, the symptoms may vary depending on the type of parasite. The main ones are related to the activity of the gastrointestinal tract, but there are also signs of intoxication of the body, lack of vitamins and nutrients. Parasitism symptoms may include:
- dyspepsia. Patients complain of abdominal pain, indigestion (diarrhea, constipation), nausea. Often there is increased flatulence, itching in the anus. With damage to the liver and bile ducts, the picture resembles acute cholecystitis. With the formation of abscesses, perforation of the intestine, symptoms of an acute abdomen appear. Sometimes, against the background of parasitism, intestinal obstruction appears, requiring surgical intervention.
- Allergic reactions. This is the body's immune response to invasion, it can be expressed by a rash, the occurrence of allergic rhinitis, bronchitis, asthma.
- Decreased general immunity. More often it occurs due to a lack of nutrients in the body and the toxic effect of the metabolic products of worms. First of all, this affects the human skin, various inflammatory processes appear on it (acne, acne, boils), there is the development of papillomas and warts, a change in pigmentation, color. The lack of vitamins leads to dry skin, the formation of cracks (seizures). It is these symptoms that allow an experienced doctor to make a diagnosis.
- Pain in muscles and joints. They can occur as an autoimmune lesion caused by allergization of the body by parasites, or when they spread to these areas by the hematogenous route.
- Change in weight, and the weight is not necessarily reduced, possibly weight gain, since insufficient intake of sugar in the patient's blood causes a feeling of hunger. Toxins released by parasites can affect metabolism.
- Fatigue, nervousness, headache, sleep disturbance, all these are symptoms of intoxication of the body. Often there is a symptom such as bruxism, teeth grinding in a dream. Long-term parasitism can lead to a slowdown in development in children, memory impairment.
- Anemia. A frequent symptom of helminthic invasions. It is caused not only by blood loss, but also by a violation of the intake of iron and vitamins in the body.
The danger of helminthic invasion also lies in the fact that irritation of the mucous membrane, its damage can cause the development of oncogenic diseases.
Diagnosis is made by examining feces under a microscope. This method does not always give positive results, it is often necessary to repeat the tests several times. When examining feces, indirect signs of the presence of worms can also be detected, for example, blood, an increase in the amount of fat due to a violation of their absorption in the small intestine. In the blood, eosinophilia is often found, which is a sign of allergization of the body.
If a person has worms, complex treatment is carried out. It is not enough just to take the medicine for worms to get rid of them. In parallel, they cleanse the intestines, restore immunity, reduce the allergization of the body. Then you need treatment aimed at restoring immunity, beriberi, and treating anemia.
Antiparasitic drugs are used. The medicine must be prescribed by a doctor. Many antiparasitic drugs are also toxic to humans, and a small dose that does not cause adverse effects in humans does not always lead to the death of parasites. Therefore, before starting treatment, the worms need to be weakened. To do this, use special diets, the purpose of which is to reduce the nutrients in food.
Often, the use of such a diet and traditional medicine allows you to cleanse the body of helminths. The diet should not contain dairy and meat products, which are the favorite food of helminths. You should also limit the use of sugar and carbohydrates. The most useful diet, including a lot of vegetables, herbs. The diet is a preparatory stage when the liver and intestines are cleansed.
Helminths do not tolerate sour, bitter substances, so they appear less often in people who prefer spicy food. So, the use of ginger, cinnamon, cloves in cooking reduces the risk of infection with worms. The use of sauerkraut brine half a glass before meals also allows you to remove worms without the use of drugs and prevents infection.
Cleansing the body of parasites
Many folk methods with which you can remove worms use garlic, onions, horseradish, lemon juice, lingonberries. A good effect is cleaning pumpkin seeds with honey.
One of the best ways to get rid of worms is the triad method. It includes the use of an alcoholic tincture of green walnut peel, bitter wormwood seeds and ground cloves. This method of cleansing is long, you need to take tincture and seeds throughout the year.
Pomegranate bark helps to get rid of tapeworms, its decoction is taken before meals. Alcohol tincture of horseradish with garlic also has a good effect. From medicinal herbs, to cleanse the body, birch buds, yarrow, tansy, celandine, horsetail are used.
Cleansing of the body is also necessary when treatment is carried out with medications. When taking antiparasitic drugs, mass death of parasites occurs, which increases the intoxication of the body. Therefore, it is necessary to use sorbents (activated carbon), laxatives, enemas, including therapeutic ones. This allows you to cleanse the intestines from dead helminths and reduce the absorption of their decay products.
If there is a suspicion of liver damage, then bowel cleansing should be carried out after liver cleansing. Liver cleansing can be carried out with the help of decoctions of medicinal herbs (chamomile, tansy, oak bark), beet kvass, tubage with mineral water, sorbitol, magnesia.
Parasites in humans are not uncommon. Diagnosis of helminthiases is difficult, the symptoms are not always pronounced, their treatment is long, so prevention and periodic cleansing of the body to get rid of them is of particular importance.