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Think parasite infections only strike those traveling in exotic locations? Think again.

parasite

Do you suffer from gas, bloating, heartburn, constipation/diarrhea, abdominal pain, frequent yeast infections or other GI (gastro-intestinal) symptoms? Have you been diagnosed with IBS, Crohn’s, colitis or other inflammatory GI issues? Listen up: Did you know a parasite could be contributing to your symptoms?

Because digestive wellness is one of the focal points of my practice, I see a lot of folks who suffer from IBS and major GI problems. They’ve been to countless doctors who haven’t been much help. I recommend GI assessments (stool testing) to these clients (and most of my clients). The assessments screen for parasites, pathogenic bacteria (such as h pylori), dysbiosis/bad bacteria overgrowth, worms, amoebas, and yeast. I rarely see one come back clean. And these little buggers can be responsible for a whole host of ills outside of the digestive tract. Often times, people don’t display any obvious symptoms.

(NOTE: when I refer to GI infections in this post, I’m referring to parasites, pathogenic bacteria, dysbiosis, worms and yeast/candida)

Got heartburn, constipation, bloating, gas, diarrhea, ingestion?

There are generally two common issues contributing to chronic digestive problems: One is food allergies/intolerance, most commonly to gluten, dairy and eggs; the other is GI infections and/or overgrowth of bad bacteria.

Consuming foods to which you are allergic is essentially like taking a blow torch to a lush green lawn, leaving it barren and charred. It completely destroys the villi (lining) in your small intestine, and the lining becomes inflamed. When this lining becomes damaged, food particles can leak through and become tagged by the body as antigens, and the body mounts an immune attack, seeing the food as an invader (after all, food is not meant to escape from your digestive tract). This is called leaky gut syndrome, and it creates inflammation and is responsible for the development of numerous food intolerances. When you eat the food you’re sensitive to, you experience a heightened immune response. If you are repeatedly eating foods to which you’re sensitive, your immune system is running on hyper-drive and can begin to run amok and attack itself: an origin of auto-immune disease.

The second issue that causes digestive symptoms is low-grade chronic infections in the digestive tract such as parasites, overgrowth of “bad” bacteria, pathogenic bacteria and yeast overgrowth. Either or both of these two issues causes tissue damage and inflammation in the digestive system, and that leads to constipation, gas, bloating, diarrhea, heartburn, or indigestion. The bacteria feed on carbohydrate starches you eat and multiply, emitting toxins and slowing digestion, causing food to ferment, which causes pain and bloating after meals. To make matters worse, parasites or pathogens in the digestive tract lead to major inflammation and exacerbate leaky gut. Left untreated, these buggers in your GI tract can cause fatigue, hormone imbalance, weight gain, systemic inflammation, insomnia, anxiety and malabsorption. They also contribute to IBS, Crohn’s and inflammatory GI issues.

Could You Have a Parasite?

Have you ever been sick from travel and not felt quit right since? Bad bout of food poisoning? Or noticed GI symptoms worsening over time? I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve had come to me for consultation after they’ve been put through the ringer with colonoscopies and other tests, only to be told there’s nothing wrong with them (even when they’re having pain and GI symptoms!), or they’re just given a diagnosis of IBS and sent away with a prescription.

You may be tested for parasites through your doctor and told the test came back clean. Conventional medicine typically only screens for and treats acute parasitic infections, meaning it’s present right now: chronic and severe diarrhea for 3 weeks after trip to Mexico, for example. You’re probably sent away with antibiotics. Outside of this model, the testing doesn’t screen for chronic parasitic infection, and it may be misdiagnosed as colitis, heartburn, IBS, Crohn’s or inflammation in the GI tract. Worse yet, you’re given prednisone or other drugs to treat the symptoms, not the underlying cause, which worsens IBS or Crohn’s long term.

The misdiagnosis can be detrimental, as seemingly unrelated problems such as hormonal imbalance or fatigue begin to arise. Because your immune system is stressed constantly fighting the infection (that you may not even know you have), your cortisol levels rise in response to stress, and sex hormone levels therefore drop since your body is using all raw materials it uses to make hormones to produce excess cortisol. Weight gain, infertility, and menstrual irregularities can occur.

If you suspect infections in the GI tract, your best bet is to see a practitioner and do a stool sample to test for giardia, amoeba hystolitica, blastocystis, and cryptosporidium. These tests can also check for pathogenic infections like c difficile, klebsiella, h pylori, e coli overgrowth, candida, etc. In my practice, once I see what’s going on, I can design a GI cleanse using herbs to kill off whatever bugs are present. Depending on what shows up (they are all treated differently), I’ll use a combination of wormwood, berberines, oil of oregano, black walnut, grapefruit see extract and olive leaf extract, for example. I’ll have the person eliminate inflammatory foods like gluten, dairy, soy, alcohol and sugar for best results. I may also recommend a good probiotic and a digestive enzyme along with the herbs. It takes about 6 weeks, then we work on recolonizing the gut with good bacteria and healing leaky gut.

Here is the general parasite cleanse I use

I sometimes recommend following up with a candida treatment after the parasite cleanse because candida is almost always a secondary infection caused by a parasite or pathogenic bacteria. This can be a similar herbal cleanse using goldenseal, berberine, oregano oil or leaf, caprylates, and pau d’arco, among others. Colloidal silver works great against candida too– it’s a natural antibiotic and anti-microbial. A candida cleanse diet should be followed as well: in addition to gluten, cut out anything with yeast or mold such as beer, cheese, mushrooms, and also minimize fruit and sugars.

Parasites, bacteria and yeast are little bugs that cause big damage. If you have been given a leaky gut or IBS diagnosis, or you suffer from any GI symptoms, get tested for GI infections! I offer this testing in my practice.

 

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