How to Know If You Have Intestinal Parasites

By Tammy Dray ; Updated July 27, 2017

There are two main types of intestinal parasites, according to Dr. Leo Galland in an article for the Huffington Post. Worm-type parasites mainly rob the body of nutrients and can cause anemia but few other symptoms. The other type includes organisms such as Giardia, which lead to a number of acute symptoms, especially gastrointestinal discomfort.

Look for symptoms such as chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, and nausea and vomiting. If you can’t identify a cause for these symptoms and they seem to keep coming back on a regular basis, they could indicate the presence of intestinal parasites.

Pay attention to your bowel movements. It’s possible to pass a worm in the stool and you might also experience itching around the rectal area.

Investigate unexplained weight loss and lethargy. These can occur if you’ve had intestinal parasites for a long time. Chronic fatigue can sometimes be caused by intestinal parasites.

Ask your doctor for a stool test. Not all parasites produce obvious symptoms, so you might have intestinal parasites for years and never realize it. More invasive tests, such as a proctoscopy, are sometimes needed.

Talk to your doctor if you experience a combination of these symptoms after a trip to a third-world country, a stay or long periods of work at an institutional care center, or a visit to any area with poor sanitation. Intestinal parasites thrive in these areas and your risk of exposure is higher.


Consult your doctor about any ongoing digestive troubles, especially those that over-the-counter medications do not relieve.

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