Are Stomach Parasites Causing Your Fatigue?
You might wonder why I’m including an article on stomach parasites symptoms in a website about chronic fatigue syndrome.
The reason is that after carrying out a lot of testing, including comprehensive stool testing, it was discovered that I had a stomach parasite. This parasite contributed greatly to my particular version of chronic fatigue syndrome.
I think it is very important that you carry out testing to discover if stomach parasites could be contributing to your chronic fatigue.
There are some stomach parasite symptoms to watch out for and I’ll go into this further in the following information.
Normally, there are thousands of tiny organisms and bacteria living in your gut. Most of them are harmless and are responsible for contributing to the balance and general health of your digestive system.
Sometimes, however, you may experience a range of gut-specific symptoms such as:
- Unexplained constipation
- Bloating and gas
- Trouble falling asleep
- Brain fog
- Aches and pains
- General fatigue
All of these symptoms can be traced to a parasitic infection.
Types Of Intestinal Parasites In Humans
Parasites are living forms that feed on a host to gain nourishment and protection.
They can cause poor nutrient absorption, leading to weakness and weight loss or weight gain.
If you’re infected with a gut parasite, you can also develop a whole range of symptoms such as skin irritations and unexplained rashes, hives and eczema, aches and pains in your muscles and joints, general fatigue, depression and feelings of apathy.
The first type of gut parasites are known as helminths – parasitic worms that live in the small bowel and attach themselves to the wall of the intestine.
They are multi cellular organisms, visible to the naked eye, and are usually caught if you drink contaminated water or by treading on contaminated soil in countries with humid climate and poor sanitation.
The roundworms, or nematodes, have long and thin unsegmented bodies, while the tapeworms have long flat ribbon-like bodies and numerous segments.
Flukes tend to resemble leaves in their appearance and unlike the other two types of helminths, don’t have any body cavities.
Unlike other pathogens such as viruses or bacteria, or protozoa – organisms living in your gut – helminths don’t proliferate within their host.
The worms can grow and mature, but once they produce offspring, it’s usually voided from the host to infect new people. Most helminth infections are well tolerated, especially if you have a strong immune system. However, some helminths can cause more serious damage. The larvae and the adult roundworms can move within tissues and cause obstruction, inflammation, anemia and even organ malfunction.
Adult flukes can cause fibrosis in the organs or hypertension when their eggs become lodged inside the vessels.
Unlike helminths, protozoa are tiny single-celled organisms that live in your intestine. Some of them seem rather harmless, and others can be beneficial to your gut health.
In some cases, however, protozoan parasites can cause a variety of digestive symptoms, fatigue and exhaustion.
Normally, protozoan organisms permeate the environment. They form cysts – a resting stage during which they are resistant to any temperature extremes or chemicals.
Infection with protozoan parasites occurs when you can ingest a cyst from your environment, though your immune system will normally keep the protozoa under control.
The tapeworm is one of the most common gut parasites. You can catch one if you drink water contaminated with tapeworm eggs or larvae, or eat raw or under cooked meat.
Tapeworm eggs are passed with the feces and can survive for days to months in most environments; from there, they find their way into cattle and pigs.
Once you ingest the larvae or eggs, they develop into adult tapeworms in your intestines and attach themselves to the gut wall, where they can live for years.
With time, the adult tapeworm produce proglottids, which mature and detach from the tapeworm, migrate to the anus and are passed in the stool to infect other hosts.
Normally, the tapeworm resembles a large white ribbon that can grow up to 50 feet and if left untreated, can reside in your intestines for up to 30 years.
Symptoms of tapeworm infection include digestive problems such as nausea, lack of appetite, abdominal pain and weight loss, as well as unexplained lumps and bumps, severe allergic reactions, recurring bacterial infections and, in some cases, neurological problems such as seizures.
The Giardia intestinalis is a protozoan parasite which can infect your bowels and cause giardiasis. Infected individuals can pass it in their stools and if you consume water, food or drinks contaminated by the infected feces, you can catch giardia.
In some cases, you can develop giardiasis after direct contact with someone, for instance if the infected person had the parasite on their hands after they went to the toilet.
Unlike tapeworms, giardia don’t have a larvae stage. Giardia cysts develop and as few as 10 can result in infection. When the cysts are ingested, the low pH of the stomach breaks them open and the activated flagella enters the small intestine.
Once inside, the giardia starts reproducing asexually and in some cases, may form further cysts in the small intestines.
In most cases, infection with giardia is asymptomatic, but if you have a weakened immune system, it can cause either chronic or acute diarrhea.
Symptoms normally start 1-2 weeks following initial contact, and can include abdominal pain, bloating, dehydration, flatulence. The diarrhea can last around a week with the acute form of giardiasis, or 2-6 weeks if you suffer from the chronic form.
5. Blastocystis Hominis
The blastocystis hominis is another type of protozoa and is usually found in the stools of people with diarrhea as well as of healthy people without any digestive symptoms.
Little is known about this parasite, but experts suggest that certain forms might be more linked to an infection than others.
This is the parasite I had and which was contributing to some of my chronic fatigue symptoms. And until I managed to get rid of this parasite I was unable to get completely well.
The blastocystis hominis has four distinct life stages – vacuolar, granular, ameboid and a cystic stage, which is arguably the most infectious one. You can catch blastocystis hominis by drinking contaminated water or through direct contact with an infected person (oral-fecal transmission).
The symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps, bloating and flatulence, as well as loss of appetite and weight loss, fatigue and hives.
Natural Treatment For Intestinal Parasites
There are many natural herbs that can kill off parasites in the gut including berberine, oregano oil and grapefruit seed oil. Tinctures including wormwood, black walnut and olive leaf are also effective. This study shows the efficacy of using herbs to control intestinal parasites.
Foods which have anti parasitic effects include coconut, garlic and pumpkin seeds and can be included in your diet easily.
Shredded coconut and pumpkin seeds can be included in healthy gluten free breakfast cereals and smoothies. Coconut oil can also be included in your healthy smoothies and used for sauteing vegetables.
Cooking with garlic is easy too, you can add it to roast veggies, stews and soups.
Adjustments to your diet are also crucial in eliminating parasites for an effective parasite cleanse. To starve them you need to remove the food they grow on, namely sugar in all forms including fruit, grains and gluten.
My 4 Step Intestinal Parasite Cleanse
The regime I followed to rid myself of the blastocystis hominis started with a water fast for 3 days ensuring my gut was empty, followed by a session of colonic irrigation.
Then I hit the parasite pretty aggressively with berberine, oregano oil and grapefruit seed oil cycled for 3 days each. This was to ensure the parasite didn’t become resistant to any of the herbs. Read about the highly effective oregano oil I used and why it’s important to use this type here.
My diet was also very pure consisting mainly of meat, fish and vegetables. As blasto feeds on sugar, my diet was completely free of fruit, dairy, gluten, grains and sugar. It sounds boring, but I simply visualized starving and killing off the parasite that was giving me so much trouble and it became easier to adjust to the restricted diet.
I stayed on the diet and herbs for approximately 4 months to make sure the parasite (in all its growth stages) was eliminated. During this time I also had a few more colonic irrigation sessions to keep flushing my digestive tract.
Once I had killed off the parasite with the herbs, I concentrated on re populating my gut with probiotics as the herbs kill off the good bacteria along with the parasite.
It is very important to include a good probiotic supplement and probiotic foods in your diet after you have finished taking the anti parasitic herbs. Continuing with a healthy diet is also critical to ensure you are encouraging healthy gut flora.
Some good probiotic foods include plain unsweetened yoghurt made with live cultures , kefir, kimchi, fermented vegetables, and kombucha tea.
Blastocystis is a very resistant parasite and it took several months to finally get rid of it. However, the change in my overall health was amazing. I slowly started to feel more energetic and could finally start exercising again once it was eliminated. Until I rid myself of this parasite I had been unable to exercise for more than two years.
Along with all the supplements I was taking to help with other chronic fatigue syndrome issues, I finally recovered completely. In my case I have no doubt that this parasite along with gut dysbiosis was a major contributing factor to my ongoing lengthy journey with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Putting It All together
If you think you have stomach parasite symptoms, carry out comprehensive stool testing with your naturopath to find out if you have some form of intestinal infection. Follow the diet guidelines given by your health professional to starve the particular parasite infection you have.
Selecting a few anti parasite herbs and cycling their use ensures the parasite does not become resistant o the herbs. Once the infection is under control and the parasite eliminated you should follow up with probiotics to make sure your gut is re-populated with good bacteria.
Please feel free to ask any questions or leave comments below.