Worms and Protozoa

Worms and Protozoa

Worms are multicellular parasites, protozoa (also: protista) are unicellular parasites.

Worms and Protozoa

Worms are multicellular parasites, protozoa (also: protista) are unicellular parasites. Both can infect humans, cause discomfort and disease, foster other infections and considerably disturb the organic balance.

Pain during urination, frequent urination at night, incontinence, itching, eczema, digestive problems, diarrhoea, cramps, insomnia, susceptibility to infections can also be caused by an infection with parasites. In case of suspicion, kindly consult a doctor.

Parasites can damage organs

If parasites remain untreated, organs (e.g. liver and lungs) can be damaged and organ functions can generally be massively impaired. This leads - especially with mixed infections - to a weakening of the immune system and the entire body.

Parasites should therefore be carefully detected and treated individually. The sequence of the treatment stages is of great importance here.

Only the knowledge of exact infection pathways is not sufficient for the detection and correct treatment of parasites. The careful collection of material and correct treatment of the samples is a prerequisite for meaningful diagnostics.

Prevention is possible, if you know how parasites can spread and can be spread. The essential knowledge is not always available even among physicians, especially when it comes to rare parasites. Here causes of ailments are repeatedly confounded.

Treatment and prevention with Normamed

The treatment of parasites can today be carried out very successfully by using the correct specialist medical procedure in diagnostics and therapy. Due to the nature of the pathogen, detection is directly linked to careful and frequent specimen collection.

A lot can be done conducive to prevention, if some hygiene principles are followed. There are ways to alleviate the symptoms and consequences of infection during treatment with Chinese teas and herbs for example.

If mixed infections have already occurred, the correct sequence of treatment steps is essential for sustained success of the treatment. Therefore, if time and the severity of the symptoms permit, in case of mixed infections with parasites, pathogenic yeasts and bacteria, the parasites should be treated first, then the fungi and finally the bacteria.

In case of doubt, a Check-up gives certainty whether parasites are the cause or there are other reasons for ailments. Ultimately, only – an experienced physician can allocate ailments properly and treat the causes in the correct order.

Examples of Parasite Infections

Below are some examples of what parasitic infections can mean, what can be done to protect against them, and how an infection should be diagnosed and treated.

The pinworm (Enterobius vermicularis syn. Oxyuris vermicularis) is the most common nematode. Worldwide, about 500 million Enterobius infections are recorded annually.

Infection process

Children often fall victim to infections with pinworms (Enterobius vermicularis). But adults can also easily become infected, if they have close physical contact. Restless sleep and itching in the anal area (especially at night) can indicate an infection. This is where the female nematode lays its eggs. Embryos develop in them in 4 to 6 hours.

TIf such eggs get onto the fingers and then into the mouth - for example in case of children through unconscious scratching and itching - this leads to a new infection: From the eggs, larvae develop in the small intestine, from these male and female worms, which accumulate in the cavity of the large intestine entrance (in the lumen of the caecum). From there, the female worm migrates to the anus and deposits the worm eggs in its skin folds.

However, this cycle cannot only last through hand or smear infection of the already infected person. Infectious worm eggs can find a new host not only by means of hand contact, but also by way of clothing, bed linen and especially food. It is even possible to inhale eggs, for instance when bed linen is knocked out.

Since one month elapses from the time the eggs are ingested through the mouth until they are deposited on the anus, and since the natural lifespan of maggot worms is about two months, a worm infection must be treated. The body gets vulnerable in the course of the infection with parasites. Other infections (e.g. with pathogenic yeasts), and also the parasites themselves, can cause damage to organs during prolonged infestation.

Diagnostics

Trained worms are sometimes visible in the chair or on toilet paper. They appear yellowish-white, thread-like and have a pointed end. However, Enterobius eggs are rarely found in stools. Therefore, if Enterobius infection is suspected, the correct extraction of material is particularly important. This is done with an adhesive tape preparation on the anus and should usually be done in the laboratory!

Open quick guide to "Anal smear for the detection of worm eggs"

Possible differential diagnoses include infections with other nematodes and with pathogenic yeasts as well as eczema and fistulas on the anus and haemorrhoids.

Therapy

Specialist medicine usually only treats worm infestations as such with antihelmintics and prescribes antipruritic drugs. Contact persons are also treated with due care. During the treatment, it is important that the medication is taken periodically and at the right intervals. Chinese herbs and teas can also alleviate digestive trouble.

prevention

Due to its high prevalence rate, worm infections are hardly avoidable. However, attention and hygiene could be used to prevent some infections, especially repeated oral or anal self-infections, such as smear infections. Hygiene is important: Washing hands, body care. Amongst children, chewing on nails and thumb sucking is just as problematic as putting objects in the mouth.

Raw vegetables and raw salads make good case for often neglected source of infection. Where human and animal health are concerned, natural fertilizers particularly lead to food contamination with parasites. Here, taking care when washing salads could prevent many infections with worm eggs (also with protozoa, kindly check the following section).

Open Normamed quick guide "Der Salatesser Ongte-Pongte” [The salad eating monster] for children

Possible consequences of long untreated infections

Infections with worm eggs are not a minor annoyance - they can lead to considerable complications and secondary diseases. The worms can spread throughout the body and, in addition to the symptoms already mentioned (eczema, skin and mucous membrane damage), lead to inflammation of the urinary tract, peritoneum and appendix. The psychological impairment caused by feelings of disgust, for example, can also lead to considerable restrictions in the quality of life. In women, inflammation of the fallopian tubes, uterus, vulva and vagina as well as bleeding can occur.

The Flagellate animals Giardia intestinalis (syn. Giardia lamblia) are an example of the rapid spread of "exotic" parasites in a globalised world. About 200 million Giardiasis infections are recorded worldwide. The tendency of the penetration of these parasites in climatically moderate latitudes is seen to be increasing. In Europe, about 25 percent of children and ten percent of adults are already infected.

Infection process, diagnostics and therapy

You don't have to wait for infections to become visible to the naked eye. Even as eggs, worms can be detected with careful laboratory diagnostics. There are also other unicellular parasites (e.g. Giardia intestinalis, Cryptosporidium ssp., Entamoeba ssp.), which remain so tiny that they can only be seen with very good microscopes. To differentiate between worm eggs and protozoa (unicellular organisms) and to determine the exact species, a lot of laboratory experience is required.

The detection of infectious Giardia cysts in stool should be carried out in a specialist laboratory after careful material extraction and treatment. If necessary, an ELISA test can also confirm reactions of the body to infestation with Giardia cysts. An incomprehensive diagnosis can lead to misinterpretations of the causes of various ailments. Therefore, we have developed precise Information

for material extraction. Practice shows time and again that this is necessary.

Giardia intestinalis are unicellular flagellates that can cause considerable discomfort. In earlier times, they were diagnosed as the cause of "traveller’s diarrhoea" because tourists "brought" them from countries with warm climates. Stool irregularities, relatively sudden food intolerances or noticeable gastrointestinal complaints can be caused by Giardia lamblia.

The therapy of this infection requires a high level of medical competence.

Prevention

Meanwhile there are many sources of infection even in climatically moderate latitudes. Infections from raw salads and vegetables, especially from organic products, are increasingly observed due to "natural" fertilisation with animal excrements. The life cycle of giardias shows other sources besides food. For example, Giardia can survive in cold water for a long time.

Here, careful washing of salads could prevent many protozoan infections (such as worm eggs).

Open Normamed quick guide "Der Salatesser Ongte-Pongte” [The salad eating monster] for children

As a single-cell parasite, Entamoeba histolytica causes amoebiasis, the so-called "amoebic dysentery". The disease caused by infection with this parasite has been known since the 18th century. In earlier times, the infection led to intestinal inflammations and often to death.

Infection process, diagnostics and therapy

Today the parasite is well treatable with timely detection by suitable laboratory analysis. If left untreated, the consequences of amoebiasis can range from digestive complaints and abdominal pain to severe diarrhoea and organ damage (liver abscesses). In some cases, the disease can only break out long after infection has been inflicted.

The pathogens should be detected in a specialist laboratory after careful material extraction and treatment. An incomprehensive diagnosis can lead to misinterpretations of the causes of various ailments. Therefore, we have developed precise Information

for material extraction. Practice shows time and again that this is necessary.

Prevention

The pathogens are often transmitted particularly by contaminated water. Infectious cysts can also be transmitted from person to person. Therefore, hygiene and education about the possible consequences of sexual practices are of great importance.

The roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides) is a threadworm. As a parasite, it attacks humans without an intermediate host. The life cycle of the roundworm is very complex. In this context, the correct procedure for diagnosis and therapy is very important.

Infection process, diagnostics and therapy, prevention

Examination of stool samples in case of suspected parasitic infection.

Detection of infectious eggs in stool should be carried out in a specialised laboratory after careful extraction and treatment of the material. If necessary, an ELISA test can also confirm reactions of the body to infestation with the roundworm. An incomprehensive diagnosis can lead to misinterpretations of the causes of various ailments. Therefore, we have developed precise Information

for material extraction. Practice shows time and again that this is necessary.

The complaints and symptoms of an infection with the parasite can be pretty varied. The experienced physician can catch on the initial indications of a parasite infestation from combinations of complaints. In case of doubt, a careful examination of stool samples will prevent long tales of woe.

Possible consequences of long untreated infections

Massive digestive disturbances are possible (in the intestine, adult worms can block the pancreatic ducts or the bile ducts, for example, causing colic or life-threatening intestinal obstruction).

Lung migration can lead to Ascaris pneumonia (with coughing, fever, strong mucus and asthma-like attacks). The effects range from malnutrition and allergic reactions to psychological trauma when worms attempt to leave the body through the mouth, nose or anus during certain biochemical processes.

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