Parasites may very well be called natural companions of humans, as these creatures cannot live outside the body of the host. It is believed that at least 70% of the world's population is infected with various types of helminths. In addition, many people welcome them almost from birth. At the same time, the question arises of how to determine the presence of parasites in the body, about a third of all infected. The reason is the low awareness of the population or the lack of interest in their state of health.
To avoid complications caused by the parasites, it is important to recognize the infection in time.
According to statistics, more than 60% of people with parasitic infections discover the problem by chance, and only about 30% deliberately look for symptoms of helminthiasis and go to specialists for the problem.
Until recently, helminths was commonly referred to as the disease of the poor because hygiene skills are poorly instilled in these layers. However, with increasing interest in the problem on the part of science, it has been found that such a definition is fundamentally wrong, as worms can be found among respectable peasants and businessmen.
Why is coexistence with parasites dangerous?
Many people don't understand why they should be tested for parasites if there are no serious health issues? Why should you look for disturbances in your condition if they don't interfere with your usual lifestyle? In addition, 8% of the population has a reasonable question: what if a person had learned to exist with parasites in their body? Evolution does not stop, after all, and what was once considered harmful may already be the norm.
Similar questions have been raised more than once, and any doctor, even the most inexperienced, will say that a parasitic organism differs from a symbiont (a microorganism that exists peacefully in a person, which helps, for example, toprocess and assimilate food more efficiently) in that it takes more than it gives. In the human body, parasites generally behave as very unreliable and irresponsible hosts:
- clogging it with toxins and slag;
- destroy natural defenses (immunity);
- take away most of the nutrients;
- damage internal organs at the physical level.
This is called parasitism, that is, the existence in the body of the host in order to obtain the maximum benefit for oneself, but without bringing any benefit to the host.
Timely detection of parasites can prevent many problems, including serious endocrine and hormonal disorders, dysfunctions of internal organs, and even mental disorders.
What signs appear with parasites
Most parasitic life forms dangerous to humans live in the intestines and internal organs. They rarely come out in their original form, and therefore, during the preliminary diagnosis, the doctor considers only the external signs of their stay. Their presence can be determined by a combination of clinical manifestations.
In 99% of cases, the host's body reacts violently to a dangerous neighborhood. Signs of infection with worms can be a variety of bodily function disorders, depending on the organ in which they live. Since it can be difficult to detect parasites in their natural form, it is important to pay attention to the following symptoms:
- Sudden onset of digestive disorders. Most often, they indicate that intestinal forms of helminths - roundworms and tapeworms, lamblia and protozoan organisms - have started to parasitize. This group of symptoms can be sudden constipation or diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, belching, poor digestion. Another sign of intestinal helminthiasis is vague abdominal pain, which may not have a clear localization.
- Allergic reactions in the form of rashes, peeling of the skin, appearance of spots. In most cases, it is impossible to find the source of such a reaction, as tests for allergens show negative results. And it is only after the patient has passed the test for the presence of parasites in the body that the cause of the atypical immune response becomes clear.
- General deterioration of well-being in the form of feverish states, fatigue, deterioration of the quality of sleep. Similar clinical manifestations of helminthiasis appear immediately after the invasion, as well as with its prolonged course. Since it is not immediately possible to identify the parasites, many patients try to cope with these unpleasant phenomena with the help of folk remedies and symptomatic drugs. As a rule, they only provide temporary relief.
A certain group of signs inherent in diseases associated with infection with worms can be found only in women. Thus, their hair and nails become dull and brittle. The skin also suffers from parasites - it turns pale, pustules, age spots, peeling appear.
A rare woman associates cosmetic problems with helminths. Most of them say to the last: "I have a vitamin deficiency, a hormonal imbalance, not worms! "
If you have the slightest suspicion that there are parasites in the body, how do you know exactly what caused them? There are many self-diagnostic methods available at home, as well as specialized methods for identifying worms.
How to identify helminthiasis at home
About 70% of patients who think they have helminths do not want to see a doctor with this problem. And the point here is not that a person doesn't care about their own health. Until now, people regard helminthiasis as a shameful disease that can only arise in the lower strata of the population. However, experts say that people who are quite successful can acquire an insidious colon.
Since helminths mostly settle in the intestines, the only way to recognize their presence is to check the stool. This proven method formed the basis of the microscopic examination of the feces, during which the doctor can detect the eggs of the worms.
It is the easiest and cheapest method, and it can be done at home. However, it will not allow you to detect worm eggs due to their microscopic size.
How does the self-test work?
There are several rules for determining the presence of parasites in the human body in this way:
- The stool should be examined several times, since the worms do not come out constantly, but periodically. Since different types of worms become active at different times of the day, it is worth collecting portions of feces in the morning and evening. In the morning you can find pinworms, and in the evening you often come across larger worms - roundworms and tapeworms.
- The person examining the stool for helminths should have disposable medical gloves on their hands. Most helminths actively secrete eggs which, if ingested, can cause reinfection. It is important to protect yourself from it, even if there are already symptoms of a worm infection. Throw them away after using gloves and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- When examining feces, it is worth using an object, since parasites can be found not only on the surface, but also in the center of feces. It is advisable to throw away the stick or spatula after such use.
Finally, the most important rule for self-study of feces for worms. It is advisable to collect the material in a separate bowl, as it is unlikely that it will be possible to check it with special care in a bowl or toilet pot. As a last resort, you can cover the toilet bowl with plastic, empty it, and then carefully examine the feces.
Experts recommend applying a small part of the material to the glass, and then examining it from all sides in good light. So even the smallest parasites can be seen.
The result of self-examination of feces for worms
We must speak of 100% presence of helminthiasis if it was possible to find in the stool:
- small worms alive or immobile;
- white or yellowish slices that resemble boiled noodles with a slightly wavy edge;
- fragments that resemble grains of rice which may be mobile;
- large round worms of white or pink color.
All of these signs point to infection with dangerous worms, which can lead to serious health problems, up to and including sudden death. But even if the stool turns out to be "clean" and there are symptoms of helminthiasis, you should urgently contact an infectious disease specialist or pediatrician (if signs of helminthiasis are observed in a child).
Worm testing in the clinic
Since it is very difficult to know whether there are parasites in the body on your own, and the results of the self-diagnosis are not very accurate, you should entrust the diagnosis to professionals. A reference to the necessary tests is given by a doctor or specialist in infectious diseases. If signs of an invasion are bothering the child, you can seek help from a pediatrician.
To make an accurate diagnosis, you must pass:
- microscopic analysis of feces (coproovoscopy) - preferably three times with an interval of one week;
- scratching for enterobiosis;
- a blood test for ELISA - one delivery is enough to make a reliable diagnosis;
- PCR fecal analysis - prescribed when receiving ambiguous results of microscopic examination of feces.
In addition, the doctor may prescribe additional instrumental diagnostics. Most often, this occurs when the presence of helminths is suspected in the liver parenchyma and bile ducts, or in other internal organs. In the presence of worms, the tests will be positive (parasite eggs, their DNA, antibodies and anti-parasitic antigens will be found in the materials).
Based on the results of the diagnosis, the patient is prescribed treatment, which can almost always be carried out at home (few parasitoses require hospitalization). Therapy may be necessary for all members of the worm carrier's family, as many species of these creatures are easily passed from person to person.