10 Warning Signs That You Have A Parasite
What if you had a creature hidden inside your body, eating away at your health?
That may sound like the plot of an outlandish Hollywood movie. But for those who have a parasite inside themselves, this is a very scary reality.
The good news is you can usually get a parasite out. The bad news is that many don’t realize they have a parasite in the first place!
Worried this could be you? Keep reading to learn about parasites, including major warning signs and how to get rid of them!
What is a parasite?
Our guide is going to walk you through some of the unexpected warning signs that you have a parasite. First, though, we need to answer the fundamental question: what is a parasite, really?
On the most basic level, a parasite is a creature that lives inside you and gets its nourishment from your body. That would be bad enough, but the host of a parasite suffers more the longer the parasite is left inside. For example, a tapeworm may thrive inside your body, but you get sicker and weaker the entire time. The sooner you get a parasite out of your body, the better!
In addition to tapeworms, the most common parasites in humans include hookworms, roundworms, flatworms, pinworms, and scabies mites. So, how do people get parasites in the first place? Transmission most commonly comes from eating undercooked meat or drinking contaminated water.
Here are the 10 major warning signs that you may have a parasite.
1. Constant fatigue
Do you feel weak and tired all of the time? You may be tempted to chalk this up to things like being overworked or just not getting enough sleep. But this may also be a warning sign of a parasite.
That’s because parasites cause extra “wear and tear” on your body that may tire you out. And certain parasites keep you from effectively absorbing certain nutrients, which will make you weaker and, therefore, more fatigued.
2. Digestive problems
There are many different kinds of parasites out there, and this leads to many kinds of warning signs. If you should have an internal parasite, the biggest warning sign is likely to be digestive problems.
Once you have a parasite in your gastrointestinal tract, there can be one or more major warning signs. This ranges from constipation, bloating, and gas all the way to watery and/or bloody diarrhea. In other words, if you have a sudden negative change to your digestive health, you need to treat it seriously!
3. Muscle and joint pain
Certain types of parasites can cause major pain in your muscles and joints. And the reason for that is simple: some of these parasites are actually hidden inside your muscles!
And it’s not hard to get such a parasite, either. All you have to do is eat some meat that’s a little too undercooked (sorry, rare and medium-rare steak lovers) to get trichinosis and start experiencing this unwanted pain.
4. Skin problems
One of the best parts of leaving our teen years behind is suffering fewer skin problems. So, if you suddenly have unexpected issues (ranging from rosacea, rashes, and hives all the way to eczema), then you may be dealing with a parasite.
Why does this happen? Some types of parasites make your body think you are getting enough antibodies when you are not. This can lead to allergic reactions, including annoying skin problems.
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5. Rarely feeling full
There is nothing quite like the satisfied feeling after you’ve had a big meal. But ask yourself: has it been a long time since you had that feeling?
Parasites such as tapeworms can basically live in your stomach and eat what you eat. This can lead to both unexpected weight loss and never feeling full after eating. Treat each of these as the warning signs they are!
6. Unexpected anemia
Remember when we compared parasites to movie monsters? That is pretty apt considering that certain types of parasites actually feed on your blood!
When this happens, it can cause iron deficiency anemia. If you are diagnosed with anemia and don’t know how this happened, parasites such as hookworms may be the culprit.
7. Frequent coughing
In the time of COVID-19, all of us are on high alert about unexpected coughing. But if you’re coughing a lot lately and have tested negative for Covid, it could be due to a parasite.
One of the scarier things about parasites is that they can move around inside your body. If a parasite moves into your chest, it can cause sudden and unexpected coughing.
8. Annoying itches
As you can tell, you may get different warning signs based on the kind of parasite you have. But one of the most common warning signs for multiple parasites is sudden itchiness.
That’s because your body is likely to feel itchy in multiple places after a parasite is released inside of it. On top of that, specific types of parasites such as pinworms can make you itch in expected and unwanted places, including around your anus.
9. Unexpected bloating
Previously, we talked about how unexpected weight loss can be its own warning sign because you may have a tapeworm. However, unexpected bloating happens to be its own warning sign as well!
That’s because when parasites such as giardia take root in your GI tract, it can cause gas to build up. This will lead to symptoms such as bloating and distending of the stomach.
10. Zero symptoms
All of the warning signs above are major signs and should be treated seriously. But here’s a sobering fact: not all parasites lead to major warning signs!
That’s why we recommend trusting your instincts and periodically checking with your general practitioner. By staying on top of your health, you can stay safe from unwanted parasites and other unexpected conditions.
How can you get rid of parasites?
Let’s say that you take warning signs seriously, go to your doctor, and get diagnosed as having a parasite. What is the next step to getting rid of the parasite?
While the exact treatment plans may vary based on the parasite, most have a few things in common. For example, your doctor will likely ask you to eat a lot of fiber and/or make other dietary changes to flush the parasite out. And your doctor is likely to prescribe probiotics as a way of boosting your digestive health.
Beyond that, the treatment plan will depend on your parasite. But the most important thing is to notice the warning signs and go to the doctor as soon as you can!