IBS or Parasite Infection?

So have you got IBS or parasite infection? Yes, seriously, you may not have Irritable Bowel Syndrome at all!

Some infections that infect your bowel can give symptoms very similar to those of IBS.

If you have noticed symptoms occurred after a holiday or trip or even at home, you may find this information important and certainly worth discussing with your doctor.

IBS or Parasite

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Infections That Can Mimic Irritable Bowel Syndrome

So, have you got IBS or parasite infection?

Giardiasis

Giardiasis is protozoan infection that caused by Giardia lamblia.

It causes diarrhea, wind, bloating, maybe low grade fever (although not always) and is spread via the fecal oral route.

In other words, if you pick up the infection having handled contaminated food, soil, water or animal waste you can ingest it if you haven’t washed your hands properly.

If you eat undercooked food contaminated with giardia, you can inadvertently eat it.

The symptoms normally start four to send days after being infected.

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How Is Giardiasis Diagnosed?

This infection is diagnosed by stool sample, looking for the ova and cysts contained within it. The pickup rate is not that high, so I usually treat the infection if I suspect it.

A duodenal aspirate can be obtained during an endoscopy test, fluid taken from the duodenum or small bowel.

This can be analysed by microscope to look for the ova, cysts and parasites.

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How Is Giardiasis Treated?

It is normally treated with an antibiotic known as Metronidazole which is given for 7 to 10 days. An alternative is a drug called Tinidazole.

The Key To IBS Freedom

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Worm Infections In Humans

There are a variety of worm infections that can mimic IBS. 

You may notice the worm in your toilet when you open your bowels, but they can sometimes go unnoticed.

The common ones are:

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Tapeworms

Tapeworm comes from undercooked pork and they look like flat, long segmented parasites.

They can grow very long and have hooks on the head which fix them to your bowel wall.

You may not notice them as segments  because they can break off and can come out in your stool and underwear.

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How Is Tapeworm Diagnosed?

It is normally diagnosed by seeing the worm in your stool although there are more sophisticated tests that your doctor can do.

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How Is Tapeworm Treated?

It is normally treated with a drug called Praziquantel  or Niclosamide which you will need to get from your doctor.

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Roundworm

Roundworm infection or ascaris and are the size of a small earth worm. The eggs are picked up in contaminated food and swallowed.

They can upset your gut and also cause asthma-like symptoms and an itchy rash.

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How Is Roundworm Diagnosed?

It is diagnosed through stool sample inspection or seeing the worm in your toilet pan.

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How Is Roundworm Treated?

Roundworm is treated with Mebendazole, Albendazole or Piperazine.

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Stongyloidiasis

Strongyloides is caused by the parasite, Strongyloides stercoralis, a form of roundworm.

It is normally picked up in warm, humid climates in South America, USA and Western Europe.

If you have been to any of these areas and developed symptoms, this infection should be considered by your doctor.

It can cause upset bowel and an itchy rash called Cutaneous Larvae Migrans, usually around your buttock area.

When infecting the lungs it can cause cough, wheeze, bloody sputum and shortness of breath.

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How Is Strongyloides Diagnosed?

It is normally diagnosed from stool tests in some people, but often they are not seen.

A blood test may show raised eosinophils, inflammatory cells that are involved in allergy.

Antibody tests or a PCR blood test can show evidence of infection.

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How Is Strongyloides Treated?

This infection is normally treated with Ivermectin or Albendazole.

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Have I Got IBS or Parasite Infection?

Whilst the majority of people will have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, you have to remember it’s not always the case.

You should have a stool sample analysed at the very least, but if you have a high index of suspicion that you might have developed a parasite infection, do discuss this with your doctor.

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