How to spot the signs of parasites

By Pippa Thompson

A parasite is an organism that gets the nutrition it needs by feeding off the tissues or body fluids of its host. There are parasites for every single tissue of the human body and they can cause a variety of health problems.

It’s a misconception that only people who live in underdeveloped countries are infected with parasites and you don’t need to travel anywhere exotic to pick up an unwanted guest.

In fact, it’s easy to get a parasite infection anywhere; poor personal hygiene, contaminated food or water, infected pets and even sexual intercourse can put you at risk of infection.

Do you have an unwanted guest?

So, do you have an unwanted guest? Quite possibly; infections often remain undiagnosed and parasites are prevalent all over the world. These critters don’t mind where you live or what language you speak; they just want to find a host and home.

Spotting the signs of infection

It can be hard to spot the signs of a parasite infection as the symptoms can often be confused with other illnesses and the question of parasites is often overlooked by GPs.

Some common symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, chest pain, chills, cramping, chronic fatigue, coughing, diarrhoea, dizziness, fever, flatulence, headaches, joint pain, weight loss, sweating, nausea, skin complaints, mental and nervous system problems, to name just a few.

IBS and parasites

It’s easy to see how parasites could be behind some of your unexplained symptoms or unresolved health problems. For example, the common medical condition, IBS, has several symptoms that are similar to those of a parasite infection.

IBS is characterised by chronic abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating, and alteration of bowel habits in the absence of any known organic cause.

There are dozens of studies that show the link between the parasite Blastocystis hominis, known as B. hominis, and IBS.

One study tested people with IBS symptoms and results revealed that up to three-quarters of them were infected with the parasite B. hominis. When those patients were treated for the parasite infection, their IBS symptoms were resolved.

Specialist testing

Unfortunately, some GPs won’t consider testing for parasites, and not all tests are accurate which can lead to misdiagnosis.

This doesn’t mean having to visit a specialist hospital or even persuading your GP that your problems could be the result of some unwanted visitors. But it is important to test with a reliable and specialist parasite-testing laboratory to confirm or rule out an infection.

Parasites can infect the different systems in the body, so it is important to use the right type of test for your symptoms and parasite tests need to be analysed by specialist technicians to ensure you receive an accurate diagnosis.

Worried about parasites?

Visit to order a specialist parasite test and find a recommended health practitioner near you.


Read Now

4 ways to stop cavities

Have you ever experienced a sharp, searing pain, which heralds a trip to the dentist? Cavities –...

The best swimming pools in the world

HANGING GARDENS UBUD Payangan, Bali Set in lush rainforest, just half an hour’s drive from Bali,...

WIN! A Draftbooster for your wood-burning stove worth £499 Enter now

Win three pairs of leak-proof performance underwear from Confitex! Enter now

Win the Property Big Kahuna! Enter now