The colon, or large intestines, is one of the most important organs in the body. It is where your body absorbs the nutrients you get from food. This is where the body takes what it needs from the food in order to survive. It is also a depository of waste where the body drops off toxins and excess nutrients that could be harmful to the system.
It is therefore imperative that the colon is functioning properly in order for the overall health of the body to be maintained. Unfortunately, the colon is also a happy breeding ground for dangerous invaders such as bacteria, yeasts, fungus, and colon parasites. The overall amount of risks will vary from person to person, depending on each individual lifestyle and diet choices.
Intestinal parasites can be particularly dangerous to the health of the colon, as they not only leech nutrients from the body and destroy the permeability of the colon, they also emit harmful toxins that can further weaken the colon’s integrity. Here is a closer look at colon parasites and what you can do to repel these dangerous organisms.
List of 7 Common Colon Parasites
- Giardia lamblia — Giardia are protozoan parasites that commonly infect humans via the consumption of contaminated food and water. This common colon parasite is commonly found in untreated water supplies, and therefore frequently infects travelers and hikers. If you are not sure of the quality of the drinking water, make sure to use a good water filter to purify it. Giardia is responsible for the condition known as giardiasis that causes diarrhea, bloating, flatulence, abdominal cramping, weight loss, greasy stools, and dehydration.
- Toxoplasma gondii — The Toxoplasma parasite is another protozoan organism that can make its home in the colon. It is commonly found in cats and dogs and can be easily transmitted to humans by the handling of cats and/or their feces. It is also possible to become infected by breathing in the parasite’s eggs. Toxoplasma is responsible for the disease toxoplasmosis that can cause chills, fever, headaches and fatigue. If a pregnant woman contracts this condition, it can lead to serious birth defects such as blindness, mental retardation, and even miscarriage.
Roundworms — Roundworms are colon parasites in the Nematoda family. They are the most common intestinal parasite in the world, affecting over one billion people worldwide. Roundworms are also one of the largest parasites, as they can grow to up to thirty inches in length. These parasitic worms are found throughout the world, primarily in tropical and subtropical areas.
Humans can contract a roundworm infection by eating improperly cooked meat or by handling felines infested with parasites. Symptoms of a roundworm infection include loss of appetite, allergic reactions, coughing, abdominal pain, edema, sleep disorders, and weight loss. Children may present these symptoms as well as failure to thrive, nervousness, and colic.
- Hookworms — Hookworms are able to penetrate the human skin. These colon parasites can enter the body through the feet in individuals that walk barefoot through contaminated areas. They can be found throughout the world in warm, moist tropical areas. A hookworm infection may cause symptoms such as itchy skin, blisters, nausea, dizziness, anorexia, and weight loss. Hookworms can live in the intestines for up to fifteen years!
- Trichinella — The Trichinella parasite can cause a number of symptoms in the human body. It has been estimated that this parasite can mimic the symptoms of up to fifty different diseases! A Trichinella infection is caused by the consumption of raw or undercooked pork. Possible symptoms of infection include muscle soreness, fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, edema of the lips and face, difficulty breathing, difficulty speaking, enlarged lymph glands, and extreme dehydration.
- Tapeworms — Tapeworms are the largest colon parasites that are known to infect humans. There are numerous types of tapeworms, such as beef tapeworms, pork tapeworms, fish tapeworms, and dog tapeworms. These colon parasites can grow to several feet in length and live in the intestines for up to twenty five years. A tapeworm infection may cause symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea, and appetite changes.
- Flukes — Flukes, or Trematodas, are smallish flatworms that can directly penetrate the human skin when an individual is swimming or bathing in contaminated water. Fluke parasites can travel throughout the body, making their home in the liver, lungs, or the intestines. Symptoms of a fluke infection include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and swelling.
Tips for Preventing Colon Parasites
There are a number of techniques that you can use to reduce your risk of a parasite infection. These include:
- Wash Your Hands Frequently — Carefully washing you hands throughout the day can remove the parasites and parasitic eggs that you may have come in contact with. Be sure to wash you hands before eating or handling food, and after using the toilet, handling pets, cooking, or changing a baby’s diaper.
- Thoroughly Cook Foods — Do not eat meats such as beef, pork, fish or chicken that have not been properly cooked.
- Know Your Water Source — Contaminated water is a frequent source of parasitic infection. Use filtered water for drinking or cooking if you do not know the source of you water supply, or if it is in any way questionable. And do not bathe in water that may be infested with parasites.
- Keep Your Shoes On — Colon parasites can enter the body through the soles of the feet. So be sure to wear shoes, especially if you are in an area, such as a beach or park that may contain animal feces.
- Wash & Peel all Fruits & Vegetables — Be sure to remove any parasites from fruits and vegetables by washing them before eating them.
Treatment Options for Parasites in the Colon
There are many things you can do to help treat harmful organisms living in your intestinal tract. First, you want to clean the intestinal tract of any excessive fecal matter that may be compacted and ultimately providing an optimal habitat for these parasites. Doing a colon cleanse or following a high fiber diet will help improve your digestive system.
Next, find a good herbal supplement that is formulated to help kill of any organisms that could be living in your colon. Here is a great set of instructions for doing a parasite cleanse. It is also recommended that you take probiotics during a cleanse. Probiotics will help introduce healthy bacteria back into the colon that may have been stripped during the cleansing process.
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