Causes and Treatment Of Worms In The Stomach
The very thought of having worms in the stomach is more than some people can bear. We carry around a number of living things inside of us all of the time. Most of the time these living things, bacteria for example, do little harm and quite often do good. Worms however, are a different story. They don't have to be very large, and most of them aren't. When we think of worms in the stomach, we're apt to think of tape worms, but the worms we're most apt to have living within us are usually much smaller. Still, we would rather do without their companionship.
Two Types Of Parasites - Whether these worms are in our stomach or, just as likely, in our intestines, they are parasites, living off our body tissues. There are two primary types of parasites, protozoa and helminths. Worms in the stomach fall in the helminths category, as they are multiple-celled parasites. Protozoa are single-cell parasites. Paradoxically, these single cell parasites are far more apt to cause problems than are multiple-celled parasites, or worms. The reason for this is that protozoa are capable of multiplying within the human body, while helminths, or worms if you prefer, generally are not, although there are exceptions
That is not to say that worms in the stomach will not cause problems. They can, and often will. An infestation of hookworms can cause anemia, the roundworm Trichinella spiralis is quite frequently a cause of aching joints and muscles, and pinworms sometimes let their presence be known as a cause of itching in the rectum.
Sometimes, when parasites are in the food you eat or the water you drink, you will feel there presence not long after finishing a meal or drinking the water (giardia for example is a very common protozoa, often present in contaminated water, or water taken directly from lakes or streams). At other times, and as is more often the case, these parasites may live in your intestines for years without causing any significant problem. That's not to say you have worms in your stomach or intestines at this particular moment, but chances are you've had them at one time in the past, or will have them at sometime in the future, although you may never become aware of their presence.
Common Symptoms - If and when you do become aware of worms, or other parasites, in your system, either one or more of the following symptoms may be experienced, or you may actually observe a worm or worms you have passed in your stool. You may experience weight loss, or feelings of tiredness or fatigue. This of course is what parasites can do. By living from your tissues, they rob nutrients from the digestive tract that would normally go into the bloodstream. They are energy robbers.
In severe cases, the abdominal area, particularly the stomach, may feel tender, or even be painful. You may experience gas, bloating, or diarrhea. Dysentery, in which the stools are very loose and contain blood and mucous, is a symptom of a severe parasitic infestation. Outbreaks of dysentery are most common following a natural disaster, when the water supply has become contaminated.
Good Hygiene Is All-Important - When you practice good hygiene, and are somewhat careful about the foods and liquids you put in your mouth, it is unlikely you will have a problem with parasites, especially if you live in a developed country. There are places in this world however where parasites abound, and international travel can at times be a good way to collect a few worms or other parasites in your stomach. Children and the elderly are somewhat more susceptible to infestations, as are those who have a weakened immune system. Our immune system generally does a good job of keeping unwelcome guests that invade the body under control, but it can be overwhelmed if the food we eat or the water we drink is badly contaminated.
Treatment - In most cases, prescription drugs will generally eliminate any parasites that happen to be present. A medical provider will first need to identify whether protozoa or helminths are the source of the problem, and also the specific type. This usually requires a stool sample, which can then be examined under a microscope. The medication that will be most appropriate can then be determined.
There are home remedies that work, although they may take more time than a prescription drug, and their chance of success may be lower. Garlic is a known parasite killer, as are pumpkin seeds, and somewhat surprisingly, carrots. Honey can also be helpful, as can a diet high in fiber. Vitamin C and zinc do not attack parasites directly, but benefit the immune system, which sometimes can work to your advantage. There are also herbs which are known to help kill parasites, but one has to be careful in using herbs for treatment. Some herbs, if taken in excess, can have unpleasant side effects, or can interfere with medications that are being taken.
In any event, controlling or killing off worms in the stomach is usually not too complicated, but as far as going about doing so, the doctor knows best, and a doctor should definitely be consulted if the symptoms are at all severe.
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