Please note: A number of other websites refer to using bentonite clay. Please DO NOT substitute their guidelines or product for ours. Our clay is stronger in its action than a lot of other clays, different in its texture and the way it behaves. Our guidelines are designed to work with our products.

This guideline has been written by our practitioner Sarah Beesley (MHD Hons) to provide a comprehensive approach. The best result is gained when the whole guideline is followed. 

The following information is not intended to diagnose any condition or to replace the advice of your doctor.  

In all cases of suspected parasitic infection, see your doctor first.

How Do I Know Whether I Am Infected?

The term parasite refers to anything that lives off the resources of its host or adapts its host to ensure its own survival. Worms, protozoa, yeasts, mites, nits and lice all come into this catagory. Over 70% of parasitic infections are by microscopic parasites; only 30% are visible to the naked eye.

Over half of all people will be infected with a parasite at some point in their lives. Yet many of us do not recognize the signs and symptoms of a parasite infection because parasitic infection often mimics other conditions. Testing will sometimes show an infection and some parasites may be visible to the naked eye. However, many will go undetected and many of the related symptoms explained away.

The most common symptoms of a parasite infection include constipation, diarrhoea, gas and bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, joint and muscle aches, anaemia, allergies, skin conditions, tumours, nervousness, sleep disorders, teeth grinding, chronic fatigue, and immune dysfunction.

We feel the best is approach if you have animals, are a gardener, handle compost or have children, is to treat yourself, your animals and your family for parasites on a regular basis.

14 Common Symptoms of Parasitic Infection

It is important to understand that while most parasites have a life cycle that involves the gut of their host, many of them travel outside of this into other areas of the body.

1) Constipation

Some parasitic worms are actually large enough to physically block the passage of nutrients and waste at certain points in the digestive system. Severe parasitic infections in the bile ducts of the gall bladder or liver or in the intestines can make bowel movements difficult, leading to worsened symptoms of constipation.

2) Diarrhoea

Another common symptom of parasites is the development of diarrhoea, or frequent, loose, watery stools. Many parasites produce a prostaglandin that leads to a sodium and chloride loss in the body. This in turn can cause diarrhoea and is especially true in the case of protozoan infections. Protozoa are easily tested for and any case of severe diarrhoea should be investigated with the correct testing.

3) Gas and Bloating

Parasites that live in the upper small intestines can cause intestinal symptoms such as inflammation which leads to gas and bloating. Frequent occurrences of gas and bloating are classic signs of a parasite infection and/or weak digestion which will make it easier for parasites to survive.

4) Irritable Bowel Syndrome

One of the more common symptoms of parasites is irritable bowel syndrome. It is not uncommon for IBS to be caused by an intestinal parasite, because they can dig in and attach themselves to the intestinal wall. This can cause irritation and inflammation that can in turn lead to muscle spasms, intestinal blockage and malabsorption of nutrients. Fatty substances in particular may become difficult to digest.

5) Joint and Muscle Aches

Intestinal parasites can also move and migrate throughout the body. It is not uncommon for them to become encysted in joint fluids or even in the muscles themselves. This causes pain, aching and irritation that are often mistaken for arthritis. Joint and muscle pain can very commonly be caused by the body’s own immune system response to the parasite infection.

6) Anaemia

There are several types of parasites that attach themselves to the lining of the intestines and divert nutrients away from the human body. In severe infections, these parasites can lead to blood loss sufficient enough to cause anaemia.

7) Allergies

Intestinal parasites cause irritation and inflammation. They can also cause extensive damage to the lining of the gut if they attach themselves to it. The body’s response to the parasites may be to produce increased levels of eosinophils (a type of white blood cell) which are one of the body’s immune system defenders. The chemicals made by the eosinophils then heighten allergic reactivity. People with asthma often have an Ascaris infection in their lungs where the larvae cause direct irritation within the lung tissue.

8) Skin Conditions

Intestinal parasites can cause the release of hormones and immune system defenders that can in turn irritate the skin. Hives, rashes, weeping eczema, and other allergic reactions are common with intestinal parasites. Protozoan infections can also cause ulcers, swelling, sores, lesions, and dermatitis directly within the skin, as can mites and lice.

9) Tumours

The body may develop a tumour like mass in response to the parasitic infection that is also known as a granuloma. The tumour is the body’s attempt to encase parasitic larvae or eggs. Granulomas most often develop in the colon or on the rectal wall, but they are also found in the lungs, liver, peritoneum, and the uterus.

10) Nervousness

Intestinal parasites release waste products and other toxic substances into the body’s system. In chronic or severe parasitic infections, these toxins may irritate the central nervous system resulting in teeth grinding, restlessness, nervousness, and anxiety.

11) Sleep Disorders

Intestinal parasites can cause irritation that can disturb sleep patterns making it difficult to fall asleep and to stay asleep. In the night, the body works to eliminate toxins via the liver. Parasitic infections can interrupt this process and upset the rhythms of the body. In fact, some parasites may try to migrate out of the anus at night causing itching, discomfort, and irritation.

12) Teeth Grinding

Parasitic infection can also cause a condition known as bruxism, or theabnormal grinding, clenching, and gnashing of the teeth. This condition occurs most often at night, and it may be linked to the restlessness and anxiety caused in the body by the parasite’s release of waste and other toxins.

13) Chronic Fatigue

Parasites can exhaust and deplete the body on a physical, mental, and emotional level. They can lead to the mal-absorption of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins, draining the body of both nutrients and energy. As a result, another common symptom is the development of chronic fatigue, with symptoms such as exhaustion, aches, apathy, depression, difficulty concentrating, and impaired cognitive ability.

14) Immune Dysfunction

Parasites will leech vital nutrients from the body, forcing the immune system to operate with a poor supply of vitamins, minerals, and energy sources. Parasites also stimulate the production of immunoglobulin A, which is a defender against foreign substances. Over time, this over stimulation can exhaust the body’ssupply of immunoglobulin A, leaving the body susceptible to attacks from bacteria, yeast, fungus, virus, and other foreign invaders.

Parasitic Types

Protozoa are single celled creatures and can invade ANY cell in our bodies. Protozoa reproduce and multiply by duplicating themselves like a bacteria or virus.

Types of Protozoa

TRICHOMONAS – Lives in the female vagina and urethra and causes a slightly yellow discharge with itching and burning. It also lives in the prostate of men.

 

Trichomonas

MALARIA – This is transmitted by mosquitoes and affects red blood cells.

BLASTOCYSTIS HOMINIS – This is a very common microscopic parasitic organism that is found throughout the world. Infection is called blastocystosis or blasto. Symptoms include loose stools, diarrhea, abdominal pain, anal itching, weight loss and excessive gas. They can remain in the intestines for weeks, months and years. It is unknown how blastocystis is transmitted.

GIARDIA LAMBIA – These live in drinking water and are not affected by chlorine because of their hard outer shell. They cause severe stomach infections that are routinely misdiagnosed as the stomach flu, the stomach bug or a stomach virus with severe diarrhea and abdominal pain. The infection also causes gas and greasy stools that tend to float, fatigue, nausea, weight loss and dehydration. The symptoms show 1-2 weeks after infection and can last for 2-6 weeks. A giardia infection is very contagious.

Giardia
CRYPTOSPORIDIUM – This parasite comes from run off water from cattle farms. The infection is called Cryptosporidiosis – also known as crypto. This parasite is protected by an outer shell that allows it to survive outside the body for long periods of time. This shell also makes it resistant to disinfectants. During the past 2 decades, crypto has become recognized as one of the most common causes of waterborne disease within humans in the Western World. The most common symptom of cryptosporidiosis is watery diarrhea. Other symptoms include dehydration, weight loss, stomach cramps and/or pain, fever, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms show 2-10 days after becoming infected and can last for 1-2 weeks. (I have however, experienced people who have a cyclical infection which seems to come and go for months even after medical treatment).

AMERICAN TRYPANOSOMIASIS – Also called Chagas Disease is an infection caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. Worldwide, it is estimated that 16-18 million people are infected. 20%-30% of infected people will develop the most severe symptoms TEN to FORTY YEARS after the initial infection. These symptoms include cardiac problems ,swollen esophagus and/or swollen large bowel.

TUBERCULOSIS – This parasite lives in the white blood cells and kills over 3 million people per year.

PFISTERIA – Comes from undercooked or raw fish (sushi).

LEISHMANIASIS – From sand flies, this parasite infects the skin and causes skin sores and can cause internal damage to the spleen, liver and the bone marrow. The skin sores are called cutaneous leishmaniasis – they can change in shape and size over time. They look sort of like a volcano with a raised edge and central crater. Sometimes scabs form – and the sores can be painless OR painful. We recommend these be packed with Purely Earth Clay daily alongside standard treatment until resolved. Some people have swollen glands near the sores and these should be packed as well. Internal leishmaniasis is called visceral leishmaniasis and is marked by fever, weight loss, an enlarged spleen and liver and swollen glands. Infection can last for years and it only takes one bite from a sand fly to obtain the initial parasite.

LISTERIA – From undercooked chicken.

TRICHINELLA – From undercooked pork.

SPIROCHETE – This parasite is carried by lice, ticks, fleas, mites and flying biting insects who all transmit them to humans. They cause relapsing fever, jaundice, Lyme disease, Vincent angina and Wyles disease.

ENTAMOEBA HISTOLYTICA – This is the most pathogenic amoeba for humans. It comes from contaminated water and foodstuffs and is spread through the anal – oral route. The infection causes bloody stools, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. They also affect the lungs and the brain. It usually takes 1-4 weeks for symptoms to show after becoming infected. The symptoms include loose stools, stomach pain and stomach cramping.

BALANTINIUM COLI – This comes from water that is contaminated with pig feces, such as pig farm run off water. This parasite stays in the intestinal mucous and causes diarrhea.

ACANTHAMOEBA – Can enter the skin through a cut, wound, or through the nostrils. Once inside the body, amoebas can travel to the lungs and through the bloodstream to other parts of the body, especially the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).

CYCLOSPORIASIS – Symptoms include watery, explosive diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, bloating, gas, cramps, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, low-grade fever and fatigue. Symptoms show about one week after becoming infected and can last for days to months in cycles.

DIENTAMOEBA FRAGILIS – This parasite lives in the large intestines – it is found worldwide. Symptoms include diarrhea, stomach pain and cramping, loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea and fatigue. This parasite infection stays in the large intestine – it does not spread to other parts of the body.

Steps to Take

  • The first port of call for any protozoa infection should always be the doctor. If standard medical treatment does not clear the infection or symptoms completely, we recommend using Purely Earth Clay and Purely Earth Diatomaceous Earth as outlined under Persistent Infections on our How to Use Diatomaceous Earth page.
  • Support the immune system. We recommend 1500 mg of Vitamin C 2 x daily with food for adults, and 200 – 1000 mg daily for children depending on their age.
  • We also suggest using a mix of Wormwood, Black walnut, Olive Leaf and Echinacea tinctures. Therapeutic strength tinctures can be ordered through dispensary@selfhealclinic.co.nz
  • Most protozoa infections damage the gut lining. Take Dr. Wilson’s Inner Healing at 1 cap 2 x daily with food for at least 6 months.
  • Take Dr. Wilson’s Squeaky Clean to help sweep the gut lining clean and to provide good bugs for the gut.

Worms (also called Nematodes)

These are what most people think of when it comes to human parasites. They are the pinworms, the whipworms, and the hookworms. It is a big misconception that we eat worms to become infected; we actually ingest the microscopic eggs which then hatch in our bodies.

PINWORMS – These cause an itchy anus, digestive problems, irritability and insomnia. They are the most readily seen of all of the species of parasites because they live in the colon and they come out at night to lay their eggs in the anus and on bedclothes. The adults are white and up to a ½ inch long. The eggs can become airborne and are able to live without host for 2 days. They may be inhaled or transmitted by the anus – hand – mouth route. School age children, followed by preschoolers have the highest infestation rates. If one member of a family has pinworms, it is highly likely that all members are infected. Children in day care centers and institutional settings are also at high risk for infestation from other children. If a child scratches their itchy bottom and then touches something, the microscopic eggs are easily left for another child to put into their mouth.

Pinworms      

HOOKWORMS – These come from contaminated food and water. The eggs hatch in the intestines then migrate to the lungs through the bloodstream where they are coughed up and swallowed. They then travel back to the small intestine to reproduce. In the lungs they can cause pneumonia. In the intestines they hook themselves into the intestinal walls where each one drinks up to 1cc of blood per day causing bleeding and tissue damage, not to mention anaemia. Hookworms from dogs and cats can penetrate human skin and stay there causing skin problems and rashes or oedema. (We can get these from pets licking us or by us petting or grooming them.) Hookworms also cause asthma, eye pain, insomnia, and dry skin and hair. Itching and a rash at the site of where the skin has touched soil or sand is usually the first sign of infection. These symptoms occur when the larvae penetrate the skin. While a light infection may cause no symptoms, heavy infection can cause anemia, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Heavy, chronic infections can cause stunted growth and mental development in children.

WHIPWORMS – These attach themselves to the intestinal wall where they inject their digestive fluid into the tissue which then turns into a liquid. They then suck up this liquid. This causes anemia, bloody stools, lower abdominal pain, weight loss and nausea. Each female can lay 10,000 eggs per day and each adult can live for several years. When the eggs are passed out through feces (unseen) they are able to live for three weeks without a host. They are transmitted by the hand to mouth route generally.

ASCARIS – This is a round worm that lives in the small intestine. Adult female worms can grow to over 12 inches in length – adult males are smaller. Ascariasis is the one of the most common human worm infections – children are infected more often than adults. Most people have no symptoms that are noticeable, but infection in children may cause slower growth and slower weight gain. A heavy infection may cause abdominal pain. If the immature worms migrate through the lungs, there may be a cough and difficulty breathing. They are almost always present in people with asthma.  Ascaris eggs are found in human and cat feces. They can be transmitted by dust with eggs in it getting on to hands and into the mouth or through poor toileting hygiene. Eggs remain viable for several weeks after leaving the hosts body. The entire life cycle takes 2-3 months.

SCHISTOSOMIASIS – This infection comes from contaminated fresh water. Days after infection, itchy skin or a rash develops – after 1-2 months, fever, chills, cough and muscle aches set in. The body reacts to the eggs produced by these worms, not the worms themselves. The eggs can be found in the brain, spinal cord and can cause seizures, spinal cord inflammation and paralysis. This parasite can damage the liver, intestines, lungs and bladder.

Steps to Take

  • We recommend Purely Earth Diatomaceous Earth as outlined under “For Worms” on our How to Use Diatomaceous Earth page.
  • The best results will occur when anti-parasitic herbs and DE are used together, especially in cases where the worms migrate outside of the gut. We suggest using a mix of Wormwood, Black walnut, Olive Leaf and Echinacea tinctures. Therapeutic strength tinctures can be ordered through dispensary@selfhealclinic.co.nz 
  • Take Dr. Wilson’s Inner Healing at 1 cap 2 x daily for adults and a 1/2 to 1 cap daily for children with food for at least 6 months to restore the gut lining.
  • Take Dr. Wilson’s Squeaky Clean at 1 cap 2 x daily for adults and a 1/2 to 1 cap daily for children with food. This will help to sweep the gut lining clean and to provide good bugs for the gut.
  • The contents of both capsules can be put into food or liquid for small children.

Flukes (also called Trematodes)

The flukes are the hardest parasites to get rid of as they can stay in the human body for 10-20 years with each adult fluke living for one year. Flukes come from raw fish, undercooked water plants (such as wild watercress) and are also carried by dogs, cats and other flesh-eating animals. They are also found in beef, chicken, pork and unwashed vegetables.

LIVER FLUKES – These infect the biliary ducts and gall bladder. They start out as small white flattish worms – wider on one end and more narrow on the other. The young adults are various shades of pink while the older adults are bright red to almost black in color. The longer they live in the liver – the darker in color they become because the blood from the liver stains their skin. They are more common than you might think.

LUNG FLUKES – These are found in the lungs and are sometimes mistaken for lung cancer on x-rays. They cause a cough, blood tinged mucous and vague chest pains.

Steps to Take

  • Flukes are notoriously hard to shift. There are pharmaceutical medications available which are effective but it can be difficult getting access to these if your doctor does not recognise the possibility of infection.
  • We recommend you do coffee enemas for 10 days in a row.
  • Do the Diatomaceous Earth and Clay mix as outlined under Persistent Infection on our How to Use Diatomaceous Earth page.
  • The best results will occur when anti-parasitic herbs and DE are used together, especially in cases where the worms migrate outside of the gut. We suggest using a mix of Wormwood, Black walnut, Olive Leaf and Echinacea tinctures. Therapeutic strength tinctures can be ordered through dispensary@selfhealclinic.co.nz 
  • For liver flukes we recommend Castor Oil packing over the liver and gall bladder daily for 10 days in a row. Medicinal grade affordable Castor oil can be ordered through dispensary@selfhealclinic.co.nz

Tape Worms (also called Cestodes)

Most tapeworms are ½ inch long and are a grayish white color, but there are some species that can grow to 33 feet long and can lay over 1 million eggs per day. Tapeworm bodies are mostly reproductive organs. Their head hooks into the intestinal wall, the length of their bodies is made up of sections that are nothing but ovaries and testes for reproduction and their “tails” release these eggs. These eggs hatch into larvae that can migrate to other parts of the human body and can form cysts. Even if the sections are broken off, the tapeworm can regenerate itself from only its head. Some tapeworms can live for over 25 years.

PORK TAPEWORMS – These are carried by undercooked pork or by the anus-hand-mouth route. They can incubate in the human body for up to 30 years before reproducing. They can affect the eyes and the brain. The infection is called CYSTICERCOSIS. When the cysticerci are found in the brain, the condition is called neurocysticercosis. Once inside the body, the tapeworm egg hatches, penetrates the intestine, travels through the bloodstream and may develop into cysticerci in the muscles, brain or eyes. Signs and symptoms of infection will depend on how many there are and where in the body they are located. You may feel lumps in the muscles, under the skin. They may float in the eyes causing blurry or disturbed vision. They can also cause swelling of the eyes. In the brain, they cause headaches and seizures – they also cause confusion, lack of attention, balance difficulties and swelling of the brain (hydrocephalus).

FISH TAPEWORM – This is the largest of the species, it can grow to 33 feet in length. It causes anemia, water retention and weight gain as it makes the host uncontrollably hungry.

DOG TAPEWORMS – These are passed along to us from cats and dogs through petting and grooming. The adult tapeworm is made up of many small segments – the tapeworm itself can measure 4-28 inches long – each segment is about the size of a grain of rice. As the adult tapeworms matures inside the intestines, these segments break off and pass in the stool (the segments look like grains of rice or corn kernals or peanuts – are hard and are a white/slightly yellowish color). These segments are about 2mm long and are what contains the tapeworm eggs.

Other Worms

LYMPHATIC FILARIASIS – This disease is caused by microscopic, thread-like worms. The adult worms only live in the human lymph system. The human lymph system maintains the body’s fluid balance and fights infections. An adult worm lives for 5-7 years – when the adults mate, millions of microscopic eggs are passed onto the blood. Symptoms are not usually felt until after the adult worms die. Because the lymph system is infected, fluid collects and causes swelling in the arms, legs and breasts. In men, the genital area also becomes swollen. The swelling and decreased function of the lymph system makes it difficult for the body to fight off infections, so people with this parasite will have more bacterial infections.

Steps to Take

  • Follow the outline as for the Nematodes.

For more details about working with Sarah, go to www.selfhealclinic.co.nz.

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