Intestinal parasites are parasites that populate the gastrointestinal tract in humans and other animals. They can live throughout the body, but most prefer the intestinal wall. Means of exposure include ingestion of undercooked meat, drinking infected water, and skin absorption.

A parasite is an organism that feeds off another organism, called a host. The major groups of parasites include protozoans (organisms having only one cell) and parasitic worms (helminths). Of these, protozoans, including cryptosporidium, microsporidia, and isospora, are most common in HIV-infected persons. Each of these parasites can infect the digestive tract, and sometimes two or more can cause infection simultaneously.


Parasites can get into the intestine by going through the mouth from uncooked or unwashed food, contaminated water or hands, or by skin contact with larva infected soil; the sexual act of anilingus can also transfer them in cases. When the organisms are swallowed, they move into the intestine to reproduce and cause symptoms. Children are particularly susceptible if they are not thoroughly cleaned after coming into contact with infected soil present in environments they may frequently visit, such as sandboxes and school playgrounds. People in developing countries are also at particular risk due to drinking water from sources contaminated with parasites that colonize the gastrointestinal tract.


A list of common symptoms:
Abdominal pain
Central nervous system impairment
Chest pain
Chronic fatigue
Digestive disturbance
Enlargement of various organs
Joint Pain Weight loss due to malnutrition
Swelling of facial features
Skin ulcers
Rectal prolapse
Mental problems
Lung congestion
Memory loss
Night sweats
Muscle spasms
Hair loss or thinning

In some people, intestinal worms do not cause any symptoms, or the symptoms may come and go. If you have some of these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that you are infected. These symptoms may also indicate other diseases. Common signs and complaints include coughing, cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence and diarrhea. Some parasites also cause low red blood cell count (anemia), and some travel from the lungs to the intestine or from the intestine to the lungs and other parts of the body. Many other conditions can result in these symptoms, so laboratory tests are necessary to determine their cause. In children, irritability and restlessness are commonly reported by parents.


Due to the wide variety of intestinal parasites, a description of the symptoms rarely is sufficient for diagnosis. Instead, two common tests are used: Stool samples may be collected to search for the parasites, and an adhesive may be applied to the anus to search for eggs.


Prescription drugs are generally used to eradicate parasites. Special poisons are tailored to kill one or more common varieties of intestinal parasites. Good hygiene is recommended to avoid reinfection.

For more information, view the source: Wikipedia

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