Do I Really Have Parasites?
Many people come into my health store with a huge list of products required for treatment because they have been diagnosed as having intestinal parasites. These diagnoses are usually made by a holistic practitioner, an iridologist or some type of alternative health person who claims they can cure these patients with a host of colon cleanses, slippery elm bark, marshmallow, hops and whatever other herbs spilled off the top of their head. Based on my education, knowledge and all my years as a health practitioner, I would go as far as to say that these diagnoses are 100% WRONG.
The three major groups of parasites are protozoans (organisms having only one cell) nematodes (roundworms) and cestodes (tapeworms). Eggs of parasites are usually excreted in the stool of humans and animals and the people most susceptible to parasites are children under the age of two years. That is because they play in the dirt in the playground or litter box on their hands and knees and pick up feces infested earth and put it in their mouths. Once swallowed, these eggs may hatch and the most common symptom is redness and itchiness of the rectum. The most common parasites found in children are pinworms.
To determine if you have intestinal parasites, you must submit at least three stool samples to your physician who will send them off to a lab for testing. We also have peri- rectal anal swabs that can confirm a diagnosis of parasites in the rectum. In some cases a blood or urine test may also be required. Ask yourself if the person who said you have intestinal parasites actually requested stool samples and sent them out for testing. However, if some quack touches your skin or hooks you up to machine that looks like it was from the set of “The Wizard of Oz” and tells you that you have intestinal parasites, get out of there in a hurry and never go back.
Although there are hundreds of thousands of diseases, your body only has a few ways to show symptoms. It can express pain, nausea, diarrhea, a general feeling of weakness, fatigue, coughing, sneezing, fever, cramps and so on. But these general symptoms have to be confirmed by diagnostic tests in order that you receive the correct treatment. Can a trained physician tell the difference between shortness of breath caused by asthma or shortness of breath caused by congestive heart failure? Obviously a complete history of the patient and extensive tests must be done. And yet, these self-appointed “health practitioners” who do not have any educational background in the biochemistry of the human body and without any legitimate diagnostic tools make medical diagnoses as quickly as they can say:” the health food store is next door”. Do you remember about 25 years ago visiting your doctor and having the prescription phoned in to the pharmacy downstairs, never giving you a choice as to where you would have it filled. This is no different. These quacks are usually associated with a health store nearby that just happens to carry the exact correct supplements, right down to the brand name, that will rid your body of these damned parasites.
The only way an adult may acquire a parasite would be if they visited a third world country with a contaminated water and food supply that was infested with human and animal feces. Or if they were bitten by a mosquito in Africa and acquired malaria, which is a parasitic disease. In any case, no amount of colon cleansing could rid the body of the parasite. In fact, if you had the most common type of urinary tract infection caused by the E.Coli bacteria would you treat it with antibiotics or acidophilus or would you hope that a colon cleanse would flush it out of your body?
We have many treatments for parasites and they usually work in a very short period of time by interfering with the ability of the intestinal parasite to absorb sugar and thus causing them to die off. A one course treatment with Combrantrin(pyrantel pamoate) will take care of pinworms within 24 hours. Other parasitic infections such as roundworm and hookworm can be treated with Vermox (mebendazole) or Flagyl (metroniadazole). The point is that if you have somehow acquired one of these parasites and you had it confirmed with a blood test and stool sample there are treatments out there to remove this parasite in a very short period of time. All the herbs and all the colon cleanses in the world will not get rid of intestinal parasites.
This is another one of the favourite diagnoses of the quack health practitioners. They claim that your body is filled with Candida and you must avoid all sugars because this is what they feed on. Nothing could be further from the truth. A diet without sugar will cause your body to break down fat and convert it into sugars. A diet without fruit containing natural sugars is very dangerous and unhealthy.
The most common form of Candida is Candida Albicans and it causes fungal infections such as thrush and is responsible for most vaginal infections. Once again, a lab test will show large round white colonies when you grow this fungus on an agar dish. It usually results as a secondary infection when a person takes antibiotics and does not protect their normal flora with acidophilus. It can also happen to people who take drugs such as Losec, Nexium, and Pantaloc etc that inhibit the ability of their stomach to secrete acid. The reduction in acid allows the proliferation of the Candida and this interferes with the absorption of Coenzyme Q10 causing an infection.
Once again, the iridologist or holistic doctor that wrongly diagnosed this condition does not have the means to treat it. There are a number of antifungal prescription drugs such as nystatin, clotrimazole, ketoconazole and fluconazole all of which completely eradicate this infection. Make sure you take a high dose of acidophilus when you take the antifungal drugs.
Most of the supplements and colon cleanses that are prescribed by these charlatans are usually harmless. However, because these people have no real medical training, it is very possible that the symptoms you are presenting to this person may be a sign of a much more serious medical condition, a condition, which if left untreated, could even be life-threatening. We call it alternative medicine because it is meant as another way of treating our medical condition. If your diagnosis is serious, you must always try and confirm it with a licensed physician. If you do seek alternative treatment, only the Naturopath with four years of intense training is the only other choice. But, unlike physicians they do not have a period of internship in which they see and treat medical conditions in an intimate hospital setting. Physicians get their diagnostic experience from the thousands of patients they see. Naturopaths only see a small fraction of this amount and have very little background in biochemistry and pharmacology. If your diagnosis seems serious, always get a second opinion, but make sure at least one of those opinions is from a qualified health practitioner.