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What Are Parasites?

A parasite is an organism that lives on or in a host organism and is benefitted at the expense of the host. The organism that is benefitted is called the parasite, while the one that is harmed is called the host.

What are the Three Types of Parasites?

There are three main classes of parasites that can cause disease in humans: protozoa, helminths, and ectoparasites.

Protozoa are microscopic, one-celled organisms that can be free-living or parasitic in nature. They can multiply in humans, which contributes to infections. Protozoa are transmitted to another human typically occurs through a fecal-oral route which would include contaminated food or water or person-to-person contact.

Helminths are large, multicellular organisms that are generally visible to the naked eye in their adult stages. Helminths can be either free-living or parasitic in nature.

Ectoparasites live on the outside of its host, including organisms such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, lice, and mites that attach or burrow into the skin and remain there for relatively long periods of time. 

Do Parasites Exist in the USA and Canada?

It is a common misconception that parasitic infections are mostly occurring in underdeveloped countries. However, parasitic infections also occur in the USA and Canada, affecting about 50% of the population. 

How does Someone Get a Parasite?

Parasitic infections can be spread in several ways such as: 

  • Contaminated water, food, soil, and blood
  • Sexual contact
  • Undercooked meat
  • Poor food handling
  • Unclean drinking and recreational water
  • Pets

What Percentage of the Population has Parasites?

It is estimated that around 50-80% of both adults and children are infected with parasites and may not even know it.

What are the Symptoms of Parasites?

Possible parasite symptoms include but aren’t limited to:

Digestiveabdominal gas, bloating and pain, diarrhea, constipation, acid reflux, GERDS, IBS and IBS-C or undiagnosed digestive complaints

Immune system: slow to heal wounds, frequent colds, or flus, recurring cold sores, infections, worsening symptoms for asthma, persistent cough, sore throat, sinusitis, and post-nasal drip

Chronic infectionsurinary tract infections (UTIs), vaginitis, chronic or acute yeast infections, thrush, athlete's foot or slow to heal or recover from any infection

Painchronic pain, joint pain, muscle pain and stiffness, increase in overall inflammation, worsened pain in areas of previous injuries or arthritis

Neurological: fatigue, dizziness, loss of balance, brain fog, worsening of existing neurological conditions such as peripheral neuropathy, numbness, tingling and tremors

Mental health: anxiety, depression, irritability, mood swings, hyperactivity (especially in children)

Skin conditions: hives, itching, acne, cystic acne, eczema, rashes, boils, and undiagnosed skin irritations, rashes

Allergies and sensitivities: an increase or new occurrence in allergies and sensitivities whether environmental food or chemical

Hormone disturbancesmenopause, PMS, low sex drive, thyroid disorders

Sleep: insomnia, waking at night especially between 1-3am, sweating at night, waking at night feeling anxious, excessive need for sleep

Cravings: an increase in cravings for sugar, carbohydrates (carbs) alcohol and salt

Poor nutrient absorption: parasites will often cause inflammation leading to poor absorption especially of iron and B12 among others

How Are Parasites Treated?

Conventional medicine seems to ignore parasites as a cause of disease, even if studies are showing that half the population may be infected. The testing can be inaccurate, and it is often difficult to get treatment in Canada. Ananta Health begins this journey by assessing the patients’ history and testing with the BioScan SRT. It is important to identify physical causes or contributors or other complications such as candidaLyme disease, post-viral syndromefood sensitivities and allergies or poor diet, heavy metal toxicity and environmental sensitivities need to be determined. Treatment will often include diet recommendations, lifestyle changes and supplements and herbs according to each patient’s needs.

How Can Acupuncture Help Treat Parasites?

Acupuncture is also helpful in the treatment and management of symptoms since it can reduce anxiety, stress, improve sleep, calm down digestive complaints and help the body detox.