Parasites have evolved into creatures that have sophisticated ways to enter and corrupt our bodies. The book “The Parasite Menace” by Skye Weintraub talks about the ground reality of the parasites, and how their presence has put over 85% of North America at risk. Today, it is almost impossible to clearly distinguish the signs of having a parasitic infection as their symptoms resemble that of some common diseases. Most of the time, these symptoms go unnoticed and the other times overlooked.
This post is to deep dive into the known symptoms of having parasites. Familiarising yourself with these symptoms will not only help you identify the parasitic infection at an early stage, but it will also give you time to act on it and even prevent some of them.
Symptoms of human parasites
Let’s have a look at these symptoms in detail:
Allergies: If an alien organism like a parasite enters our body and tries to harm our organs, then the body’s immune system gets into action immediately. The fighter cells get activated and increase the levels of eosinophils. The increased level of eosinophils causes inflammation in our body that results in allergies.
Mental Fatigue: According to a study done by Lena Brundin, the brain releases less serotonin which is the primary cause of depression if parasites have infected the brain to change its chemistry. People infected with parasites also complain about restlessness and anxiety.
Bad Breath, bad taste in the mouth, and body odor: Although these symptoms are rare, however, people with pinworms evading their system have complained of having bad breath and an odd taste in their mouth. In research done by Bahri Ermis, few of the children affected by worms were monitored and found to have bad breath.
Breathing difficulties: If you accidentally consume parasite eggs and they hatch into your intestines, then there is a high chance for them to get into your lungs via your bloodstream. Once they make a home in your lungs, diseases like pneumonia and cough are likely to occur.
Candida: Candida or Crohn’s is a type of fungal disease. Candida can be found both on the skin and inside it. Sometimes it can prove out to be fatal if it is found in critical organs like the lungs, heart, and kidney.
Fluctuation in weight: Parasites present in your bowel can tweak your appetite and restrict your bowel movements. The waste generated by our body accumulates in the intestine and this results in a protruding belly. Even heavy workouts may not help you with this sort of parasite-generated weight.
Severe Dehydration: Parasitic infections like Giardia is often accompanied by diarrhea. Diarrhea leads to an excessive liquid loss in our bodies hence the problem of dehydration lingers on.
Sensations: If you have a constant itching in your ear, nose, or any other body part then you might be infected by parasites.
Eye pain and dark circles under the eyes: Parasites can severely damage your eyes by blurring its vision and causing sensitivity to light. Redness and inflammation around the eye region are clear symptoms of having a parasitic infection. The blood vessels around the eyes are extremely thin and sensitive and a parasite may deprive these vessels of the necessary nutrition. Dark circles under the eyes may develop because of the restricted blood flow.
Loss of appetite and digestive problems: According to WHO, around 10% of the developing world are infected by worms in the intestine. These worms plague the digestive tract of our bodies. They enlarge the muscles of the stomach and make it saggy. In extreme cases of intestinal infection, a person can experience constant vomiting and the presence of blood and pus in the stool. These symptoms are very often accompanied by a severe loss of appetite.
Body pain and fatigue: Parasites take up the nutrition that is required by the cells of our bodies. This results in malnutrition and the body remains fatigued perpetually because of it. Lack of body-building nutrients like protein and calcium also causes pain in the joints and makes physical activities seem like torture. A study done by Chelsea E. Matisz and her colleagues showed signs of joint inflammation in people infected by helminth parasites.
Impaired cognitive skills: According to Dr. Aroian, professor of molecular medicine states that the parasitic infection can rapidly degenerate your cognitive skills. The parasite slows down brain functions and results in partial memory loss, learning disabilities, and seizures. Children and young adults are likely to show such symptoms when infected by parasites.
Mood disorders: Parasites have the ability to alter our behavior and moods. People infected with parasites have frequent mood swings. Some of the studies have revealed that some extreme cases of these infections have resulted in bipolar syndrome.
Anemia: Some parasites cling to the lining of our intestines and consume the nutrients. If they are present in large numbers then they create an iron deficiency in our blood that leads to anemia.
Skin problems: Some tangible signs of having parasitic infections are as follows:
- Swelling and sores
Affected sleeping pattern: Circadian rhythms is what general people call “body clock”. Researchers claim that the parasite that infects the liver often causes disturbances in this rhythm. Hence, a lot of people complain of daytime sleepiness and insomnia. Also, some parasites tend to exit from our bodies through the anus during the nighttime and this causes a lot of discomforts.
Weak immune system: While defending our body from the parasitic infection, the immune system eventually degrades. The defense mechanism of our body becomes weak and it becomes more susceptible to other infections and diseases.
Diabetes: The constant release of enzymes to kill the parasites present in the body leads to deteriorating pancreatic function. Thus the ability to produce insulin reduces in the pancreases. Due to low levels of insulin in the body, the blood sugar level increases and causes diabetes.
Our body has its ways to alert us about internal ongoings of our system. The above list thoroughly elaborates on all such signs in an attempt to create awareness about the symptoms of human parasites.
These symptoms look quite common and hence people often neglect them for being a parasitic infection. However, we need to be more conscious and identify these signs, and symptoms carefully. Early detection of these symptoms allows you to take precautionary measures in time and saves you from fatalities of sorts.