Parasites and Ulcerative Colitis
After 5 years of suffering, we found out my son had Parasites, blastocystis hominis to be exact. He suffered all those years because the majority of the laboratories in the United States aren’t up to date on parasites or their the mutations. Unless the lab knows what to look for most are missed. We found Dr. Omar Amin and his lab in the US that is well known worldwide in testing for parasites and also conditions of the colon. He also has a center in Europe.
They will send you a kit. Follow the directions exactly and mail in your stool samples. They will send your doctor the results when testing is complete.
The majority of Doctors, GI’s and labs, in the United States and other industrialized nations, are not familiar with parasites. They are not familiar with the many different kinds, especially those that have mutated. This is because they were not trained to spot them. There is a belief in developed countries that parasites only infect people in under-developed countries. This is not true. With travelers and importation of foods, parasitic infections are becoming prevalent in developed nations.
According to the AMA (American Medical Association), parasites are thought to exist only in the tropics and ‘third world countries’. This is what you will hear from your doctor/GI. The truth is that industrialized nations are exporting foods from around the world. People are traveling all over the world and bringing them back with them. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) the incidence of parasites in the United States has increased dramatically especially amongst children.
The best way for you to find out if you have parasites is to find a GOOD parasitologist. My son had stool samples sent to 5 labs by different doctors he was seeing. None of them spotted the Blastocystis Hominis. It took sending a sample to the lab http://www.parasitetesting.com/index.cfm to find out he had them. The report was then sent to his doctor. His doctor put him on Flagyl but that only made him very sick and killed off the good bacteria in his colon giving rise to a yeast overgrowth which also causes Ulcerative Colitis symptoms.
Researching on the internet led us to use Alinia for Parasites an anti-parasitic drug. We requested that his doctor prescribe Alinia (Nitazoxanide) for him. He was put on a 3 day course of Alinia and the subsequent lab results came back negative for parasites. YAY! We also had to deal with the Yeast overgrowth and using Joy of Mountains Oregano Oil® and VSL#3® (probiotic) worked. He has been in remission for six years now with minor flares in the Fall and Spring seasons and still has sensitivity to some foods, salicylates, and food dyes.
There are numerous ways to get rid of parasites.
The World Health Organization estimates that 3.5 billion people all over the globe are infested with one of the many types of intestinal parasites. As many as 450 million are sick due to the infestation. Children are more likely to be infected with parasites than adults. Intestinal parasites are most common in developing tropical countries of Africa, Asia, and South America. (19)
Americans are currently hosts to over 130 different types of parasites, including giardiasis, amebiasis, toxoplasmosis, schistosomiasis, filariasis, blastocitis and malaria. Some are microscopic and some are as large as a foot long, such as tapeworms. American shores have seen nearly every type of exotic parasitic disorder that exists. Most Americans, including doctors, falsely believe that these parasites are only found in foreign countries, especially developing countries. (20)
Colonoscopy is not enough for detecting parasites as you can see from a colonoscopy image of a colon with parasites compared to a colon with UC from other causes. They look alike.
Many contributing factors have been identified in the increased incidence of parasites on American land and the American population. International travel, increased use of day care centers, the rise in use of antibiotics and immunosuppressive medications, and the increased population of immigrants and refugees have all contributed to this increased occurrence of parasites. There are some sources reporting that as much as ¼ of the population of just New York City and surrounding areas are infected with a parasite. It is also estimated that in the year 2025, as many as 8.3 billion people on earth will be infected with at least one parasite. People who are already immunocompromised, due to other diseases, treatments or even malnutrition, are most at risk for a parasitic infestation. (21)
How are Parasites Contracted?
Parasites are generally contracted through the oral-fecal route. Parasites and their eggs can enter the host’s digestive tract through the host’s contact with contaminated feces. For example when someone’s hands are not thoroughly washed after using the bathroom or changing a diaper, then that person prepares food. The incidence of parasites are more common in areas where sanitation and hygiene habits are poor. These parasites are also more common in people who live on and near farmlands. (22)
Life Cycle of Parasites
It is through its life cycle that parasites can cause problems to the infected host and continue on its own species. Depending on environmental conditions, such as temperature, oxygen and acidity, as in the gas with gastric juices, parasites can take on different forms; cyst, vacuolar or central body, granular, and amoeboid. B. homis, along with many other parasites, is suspected to exist in its thick-walled cyst or egg stage in fecal matter in order to propagate its spread.
It is then passed onto another host through poor hygiene practices. Parasites can be spread by contaminated food, drinking water, swimming in invested waters and even doing laundry. After a parasite is ingested by a new host, the cysts infects epithelial cells in the intestinal tract. Once in the epithelial cells, it then reproduces asexually. The new cysts will eventually rupture and release their many offspring in the form of vacuoles. From this point they then grow through a multi—vacuolar stage and then an ameboid stage, then they have the potential to infect another host. What is particular troublesome about the life cycle of many parasites, including B. homis, is that they go through periods of skin or shell shedding. During these periods infected patients can experience ulcers that bleed and cause even more discomfort. (23)
The Blastocystis Hominis is one of the most difficult parasites to get rid of and the most common. Because it is also found in many people who are asymptomatic, labs will overlook this one. They shouldn’t they also cause symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis.
B_hominis happens to be the most common intestinal parasite. Interestingly, approximately half of people who suffer with chronic intestinal problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome have contracted this parasitic infection. This parasite is common in animals and humans. Experts estimate that about 25 percent of the population are infected with Blastocystis. http://www.blastocystishominis.org/
Blastocystis and other similar parasites often irritate the intestinal mucosa. These parasites produce an alcoholic substance in the body which causes stomach pain and fatigue. Studies suggest that about one in three people infected with this parasite will have chronic Ulcerative Colitis symptoms. Many patients infected with this parasite are also infected with another parasite, Dientamoeba fragilis, which causes similar symptoms and issues in the bowels.
For many years, experts in the medical field in the US believed that Blastocystis parasite was normal and harmless. There are actually about ten different strains of this parasite, with up to three of them causing symptoms. However, the other seven can cause an allergic reaction in some people, making them problematic as well. Although not serious like some parasites, this parasite can cause gas, bloating and abdominal distension. In people who are allergic, it can cause itching. Other symptoms of this parasite include abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, fever, and insomnia. http://www.ehow.com/facts_5343918_life-cycle-blastocystis-hominis.html
Symptoms of a Parasite Infestation
Parasites can illicit many different symptoms in people. They can present with all the common symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis.
• Bloody Diarrhea
• Bloating and gas
• High or low blood sugar levels
• Drowsiness after eating
• Explosive diarrhea
• Unclear thinking
• Blood clots
• Joint pain
While waiting for the medication to work, patients who have intestinal parasites may find relief by modifying their diets. Avoiding sugar and starches that naturally turn into alcohol will reduce symptoms for many patients. The process of turning sugars into alcohol increases gas and discomfort in the intestines.
In addition, starches and sugars feed the intestinal parasites, causing them to multiply. More parasites mean an increase in symptoms and their severity. Patients who have intestinal parasites should avoid sugar, bread, potatoes, pasta, and even corn. If you have a tendency towards Ulcerative Colitis anorexia, you will want to make up those calories.
Here are some good sites to check out:
List of Parasites: http://www.parasitetesting.com/wiki.cfm
Includes Pictures: http://www.parasitetesting.com/parasites.cfm