Parasites may well be called natural companions of humans, since these creatures cannot live outside the host's body. It is believed that at least 70% of the world's population is infected with various kinds of helminths. Moreover, many people are home for them almost from birth. At the same time, he ponders the question of how to determine the presence of parasites in the body, about a third of all infected. The reason for this is the low awareness of the population or lack of interest in the state of their health.
To avoid complications caused by parasites, it is important to recognize the infection in time.
According to statistics, more than 60% of people with parasitic infections learn about the problem by chance, and only about 30% purposefully look for symptoms of helminthiasis and go to identify the problem to specialists.
Until recently, helminthiasis was usually called the disease of the poor, since hygiene skills are poorly instilled in these layers. However, with the growing interest in the problem on the part of science, it was found that such a definition is fundamentally wrong, since worms can be found in both peasants and respectable businessmen.
Why is coexistence with parasites dangerous?
Many people do not understand why they need to be tested for parasites, if there are no serious health problems? Why do you need to look for any disruptions in your state if they do not interfere with your usual lifestyle? Moreover, 8% of the population has a reasonable question - what if a person has learned to exist with parasites in his body? After all, evolution does not stand still, and what was once considered harmful may already be the norm.
Similar questions have been raised more than once, and any doctor, even the most inexperienced, will say that a parasitic organism differs from a symbiont (a microorganism peacefully existing in a person, which helps, for example, to process and assimilate food more efficiently) in that it takes more than it gives. In the human body, parasites generally behave like very unreliable and irresponsible hosts:
- clog it with toxins and slags;
- destroy natural defenses (immunity);
- take away most of the nutrients;
- damage internal organs at the physical level.
This is what is called parasitism, that is, existence in the host's body in order to extract the maximum benefit for oneself, but without providing benefit to the host.
Timely detection of parasites helps to avoid many problems, including severe endocrine and hormonal disorders, dysfunctions of internal organs and even mental disorders.
What signs appear with parasites
Most of the parasitic life forms dangerous to humans live in the intestines and internal organs. They rarely go outside in their original form, and therefore, during preliminary diagnostics, the doctor considers only the external signs of their stay. Their presence can be determined by a combination of clinical manifestations.
In 99% of cases, the host's body reacts violently to a dangerous neighborhood. Signals of infection with worms can be a variety of disorders of the body's functions, depending on which organ they live in. Since it can be difficult to detect parasites in their natural form, it is important to pay attention to the following symptoms:
- Sudden onset of digestive disorders. Most often, they indicate that intestinal forms of helminths - round and tapeworms, lamblia and protozoal organisms - have begun to parasitize. This group of symptoms can be expressed by sudden constipation or diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, belching, poor digestion. Another sign of intestinal helminthiasis is vague abdominal pain, which may not have a clear localization.
- Allergic reactions in the form of rashes, peeling of the skin, the appearance of spots. In most cases, it is impossible to find out the source of such a reaction, as tests for allergens show negative results. And only after the patient passes the test for the presence of parasites in the body, it becomes clear what caused the atypical immune response.
- General deterioration in well-being in the form of febrile conditions, fatigue, deterioration in the quality of sleep. Similar clinical manifestations of helminthiasis appear immediately after the invasion, as well as with its prolonged course. Since it is not possible to identify parasites immediately, many patients try to cope with these unpleasant phenomena with the help of folk remedies and symptomatic medicines. As a rule, they bring only temporary relief.
A certain group of signs inherent in diseases associated with infection with worms can be found only in women. So, their hair and nails become dull and brittle. The skin also suffers from parasites - it becomes pale, pustules, age spots, peeling appear.
A rare woman associates cosmetic problems with helminths. Most of them say to the last: "I have a lack of vitamins, hormonal imbalance, not worms! "
If you have the slightest suspicion that there are parasites in the body, how do you know what exactly caused them to appear? There are plenty of self-diagnostic methods at home, as well as specialized ways to identify worms.
How to identify helminthiasis at home
About 70% of patients who assume they have helminths do not want to go to the doctor with this problem. And the point here is not that a person does not care about his own health. Until now, people consider helminthiasis a shameful disease that can only occur in the lower strata of the population. However, experts say that quite prosperous people can acquire an insidious settler.
Since helminths for the most part settle in the intestines, the only way to recognize their presence is to check the feces. This time-tested method formed the basis for microscopic examination of excrement, during which the doctor can detect the eggs of the worms.
This is the most straightforward and inexpensive method, and it can be done at home. However, it will not allow you to detect the eggs of worms due to their microscopic size.
How does the self-test work?
There are several rules for how to determine the presence of parasites in the human body in this way:
- The feces should be examined several times, because the worms do not come out constantly, but periodically. Since different types of worms become active at different times of the day, it is worth collecting both morning and evening portions of feces. In the morning you can find pinworms, and in the evening you often come across larger worms - roundworms and tapeworms.
- The person who examines the feces for helminths should have medical disposable gloves on their hands. Most helminths actively secrete eggs, which, if ingested, can provoke re-infection. It is important to protect yourself from this, even if there are already symptoms of infection with worms. Throw them away after using gloves, and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- In the course of examining the feces, it is worth using an object, since parasites can be found not only on the surface, but also in the center of the feces. It is advisable to dispose of the stick or spatula after such use.
Finally, the most important rule for self-study of feces for worms. It is advisable to collect the material in a separate bowl, since it is unlikely that it will be possible to check it with particular care in a toilet bowl or pot. As a last resort, you can cover the toilet bowl with plastic, empty on it, and then carefully examine the feces.
Experts recommend applying a small portion of the material to the glass, and then examining it from all sides in good lighting. So even the smallest parasites can be seen.
The result of self-examination of feces for worms
It is necessary to talk about 100% presence of helminthiasis if it was possible to find in the feces:
- live or motionless small worms;
- white or yellowish slices that look like boiled noodles with a slightly wavy edge;
- fragments that look like rice grains that can be mobile;
- large roundworms of white or pink color.
All these signs indicate infection with dangerous worms, which can lead to serious health problems, up to and including sudden death. But even if the feces turned out to be "clean", and there are symptoms of helminthiasis, you should urgently contact an infectious disease specialist or pediatrician (if signs of helminthiasis are noticed in a child).
Tests for worms in the clinic
Since it is very difficult to find out whether there are parasites in the body on your own, and the results of self-diagnosis are not very accurate, you should entrust the diagnosis to professionals. A referral to the necessary tests is given by a physician or infectious disease specialist. If signs of invasion bother the child, you can seek help from a pediatrician.
To make an accurate diagnosis, you need to pass:
- microscopic analysis of feces (coproovoscopy) - preferably three times with an interval of a week;
- scraping for enterobiasis;
- a blood test for ELISA - a single delivery is enough to make a reliable diagnosis;
- analysis of feces PCR - prescribed when receiving ambiguous results of microscopic examination of feces.
Also, the doctor may prescribe additional instrumental diagnostics. Most often this occurs when there is a suspicion of the presence of helminths in the liver parenchyma and bile ducts, or in other internal organs. In the presence of worms, the tests will be positive (parasite eggs, their DNA, antibodies and antigens to them will be found in the materials).
Based on the results of the diagnosis, the patient is prescribed treatment, which can almost always be carried out at home (not many parasitic infections require hospitalization). Therapy may be required for all family members of the carrier of the worms, since many species of these creatures are easily transmitted from person to person.