In my 20s, I faced a tough battle with candida symptoms, exacerbated by my sugar addiction. My dad, hoping to help, would often recommend the latest cleansing diet. While these diets provided temporary relief, they never offered a long-term solution.
Years later, I realized the issue wasn’t solely candida. If you’re struggling with candida, it’s likely the same for you. Candida thrives in certain environments, much like small fish that swim behind sharks in the ocean. In our case, candida flourishes alongside parasites, heavy metals, and a diet rich in sugar.
Currently, let’s focus on parasites, a topic I’m intimately familiar with both through personal struggles and in helping numerous clients. Addressing parasitic infections has been a key to overcoming years of symptoms for many.
What are Parasites?
Parasites are organisms that live on or inside another organism (the host), often at the host’s expense. They can range from microscopic to visible sizes and are classified into three main types:
- Protozoa: These are microscopic and can multiply in humans, causing serious infections. Examples include Giardia lamblia, which causes giardiasis, and Plasmodium, responsible for malaria.
- Helminths: These are worm-like parasites – roundworms, flatworms, tapeworms, and flukes.
- Ectoparasites: These live on, rather than in, their hosts. Examples include lice and ticks.
Symptoms of Parasitic Infections
Parasites affect millions worldwide in both developed and developing countries, and they are commonly mistaken for other disease processes and remain undiagnosed.
They can show up in many ways and often mimic other health conditions, which makes diagnosis challenging, and it is why they are often dismissed in traditional medicine.
Digestive Issues: Parasites often reside in the digestive tract, leading to symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, and abdominal pain.
Fatigue: Unexplained Chronic fatigue. Parasites can affect nutrient absorption, leading to anemia and exhaustion.
Skin Conditions: Rashes, itching, hives, and eczema can sometimes be traced back to parasitic infections, as the body reacts to the invaders.
Allergies: Parasites can trigger an immune response, leading to allergic reactions. Symptoms may include sneezing, coughing, and asthma-like symptoms.
Other Symptoms: Include weight loss or gain, fever, headaches, eye-floaters, seizures, muscle and joint pain, chronic respiratory infections, anxiety, depression, mood swings, sleep disturbances, and autoimmune reactions.
The symptoms of parasitic infections can resemble those of other disorders, leading to misdiagnosis.
You can catch the same information in this 10 minute video:
Case Study 1: The Misdiagnosed IBS Patient
A 35-year-old female with chronic diarrhea and abdominal pain, initially diagnosed as IBS. Despite dietary changes, her symptoms persisted. Further investigation on stool testing revealed a Giardia lamblia infection. After appropriate treatment, her symptoms resolved, highlighting the importance of considering parasitic infections in chronic digestive cases.
Case Study 2: The Unexplained Fatigue
A 40-year-old male complained of unrelenting fatigue and mild digestive discomfort. His doctor said all his lab tests were normal and dismissed him. It was eventually identified that he had a mild case of pinworms. After parasite cleansing and addressing nutrition, stress, and sleep, he experienced a significant improvement in energy levels and overall well-being.
How Do You Get Parasites
Contaminated Food and Water: This is one of the most common ways parasites are contracted. Consuming undercooked meat, contaminated fruits and vegetables, or water from unsafe sources can lead to infections like giardiasis or tapeworms.
Skin Contact: Direct contact with contaminated soil or water can lead to parasitic infections. For example, hookworms can penetrate the skin of bare feet.
Insect Bites: Certain parasites are transmitted through insect bites. Malaria, transmitted by mosquitoes, is the most well-known example. Ticks can transmit Lyme disease and other parasitic infections.
Person-to-Person: Some parasites, particularly those causing intestinal infections, can spread from person to person or even from your pet. It is common to see couples with the same parasitic or fungal issues. I like to address the whole family at one time when possible.
Traveling internationally, especially to developing countries, significantly increases the risk of encountering parasites. Areas with poor sanitation and hygiene practices are hotspots for parasitic infections.
Limitations in Parasite Testing
One of the significant challenges in diagnosing parasitic infections is the specificity limitation of many standard tests. These tests are often designed to detect only a select range of parasitic species, potentially overlooking others. This limitation can lead to inaccuracies in diagnosis and, consequently, ineffective treatment.
There are more comprehensive stool tests outside of traditional medicine, which do offer a more robust picture of the health of the gut as a whole and give clues about whether parasites may be part of the problem, even if they do not show up on testing.
This is why it’s important to address the whole picture by doing a thorough history, assessment of symptoms, and address other lifestyle factors that could be playing a role in symptoms.
Cleansing Parasitic Infections
Conventional Treatments vs. Functional Medicine Approach
- Conventional Treatments: These typically involve pharmaceutical drugs like antiparasitic agents, which are sometimes effective in killing parasites, but don’t address the biofilm and internal environment.
- Functional Medicine Approach: This approach looks at the entire health ecosystem of the patient. It not only aims to eradicate the parasite but also to create an internal environment that is inhospitable to future infections. This is achieved by focusing on diet, stress management, sleep quality, liver function, stomach acid levels, intestinal permeability (‘leaky gut’), and the balance of the gut microbiome.
Addressing Recurrent Infections
Another client, suffering from recurrent parasitic infections, underwent a functional medicine assessment. It was discovered that a combination of poor diet, chronic stress, and a compromised gut microbiome contributed to their susceptibility. The plan included a 6 step healing process to address the whole body so she could heal long-term. By creating an internal environment that parasites don’t want to live in and fostering overall health, it not only addresses the immediate infection but also reduces the risk of future infections.
Working With A Professional
When it comes to addressing infections like this, we create a step by step plan to address each person as an individual since the outcome can vary greatly based on genetics, environment, diet, and other lifestyle factors.
We offer a comprehensive assessment, aiming to address the underlying causes, while using our unique approach to help you heal.
What to Expect
Initial Consultation: This typically involves an in-depth discussion about your medical history, symptoms, dietary habits, lifestyle, and any prior treatments. Be prepared to discuss your health in great detail.
Comprehensive Testing: Based on the initial assessment, a range of tests may be recommended, including advanced stool analysis, blood tests, and possibly others, to help assess the entire picture.
Customized Healing Plan: The practitioner will create a tailored treatment plan that may include:
- Supplements include herbal antiparasitic agents, immune and digestive support, stress support, detox and others as needed.
- Dietary recommendations focusing on foods that help combat parasites and improve gut health.
- At home Do it yourself healing practices you can use to compliment your journey.
- Lifestyle modifications to address factors like stress and sleep quality.
Follow-Up and Adjustments: Monthly meetings to monitor progress and make adjustments to the plan. Follow-up appointments and completion of the plan are essential for long-term success.
Long-Term Health Management: A functional medicine practitioner will also focus on strategies for long-term health, aiming to not only treat the current infection but also to prevent future health issues.
Working with a functional medicine practitioner for parasitic infections offers a comprehensive, personalized approach that goes beyond symptomatic relief. It’s about understanding and treating the whole person, leading to more sustainable health outcomes.
If you’re curious about whether or not this is the best next step in your health journey, please take the time to share more about your story here with us and upon submission, you’ll be invited to schedule an appointment.