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Parasite Symptoms in Humans

written by: AlyssaAst•edited by: dianahardin•updated: 4/21/2011

Parasitic infections can produce a wide range of symptoms, and parasite symptoms in humans often mimic other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome and arthritis. Read on to learn how to recognize which symptoms indicate a parasitic infection.

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    There are numerous parasites that can infect humans and never produce any symptoms. Also, the symptoms of a parasitic infection an be misdiagnosed. Numerous areas of the body can become infected as well, making it even more difficult to properly diagnose a parasitic infection in humans. Although the symptoms of a parasitic infection can vary, depending upon where the infection is located and what type of parasite has infected the body, there are common symptoms that occur. The most common parasite symptoms in humans involve digestive complications and fatigue.

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    Digestive Complications

    Parasitic infections in humans often cause many digestive complications to occur. Common symptoms include constipation, often a result of worms. If a large worm is present it can form a blockage in the bile duct within the intestinal tract, causing bowl movements to become difficult and irregular. Or, the opposite can occur, which involves diarrhea. An infection of certain parasites can cause low sodium and chloride levels, resulting in diarrhea as the body attempts to remove the parasite.

    Gas and bloating are common symptoms of a parasite infection as well. Many parasites call the upper small intestine home, causing inflammation to occur. This inflammation results in gas and bloating, which often worsens after the consumption of hard-to-digest foods. These symptoms can last for years, if the parasite isn’t removed from the body.

    Parasite symptoms in humans often mimic the symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome. The parasites can cause inflammation in the intestinal cell wall, producing a wide range of symptoms. As a result, vital nutrients may not be absorbed properly, which often leads to bulky stools.

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    Joint, Muscle and Skin Complications

    Parasitic infections can affect the joints and muscles as well, resulting in aches and pains all over the body. As parasites migrate through the body, joint fluids and muscles can become infected. As this occurs, pain becomes persistent and often mimics arthritis. If left untreated, these parasites can cause tissue damage.

    Parasites can cause skin conditions to develop also. Common symptoms of the skin from a parasite include rashes, hives and weeping eczema. These appear to be allergic skin reactions. In severe cases, ulcers and lesions can develop. The skin often becomes itchy, swollen and sore due to a parasitic infection.

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    Other Complications

    Parasitic infections can wreak havoc throughout the body. Other common symptoms of a parasitic infection include anemia, commonly caused by intestinal worms reducing the body’s ability to absorb adequate iron.

    Oddly enough, nervousness is a symptom of a parasitic infection as well. Parasites cause metabolic wastes and toxic substances to irritate the central nervous system, causing anxiety and restlessness to occur. Difficulty sleeping is another common symptom of a parasite infection. This occurs as the body tries to eliminate the parasite. Also, many parasites are nocturnal; therefore, the parasite activity at night can make it difficult for the patient to sleep. As a result, chronic fatigue often occurs, which can lead to depression, decreased concentration and poor memory. All of these symptoms combined can suppress the immune system.

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    References

    "Symptoms of Parasitic Infections" http://www.nvcentre.com/nvc2003/a_symptoms_paras_uni.htm

    "Parasites? Not Me!" http://www.therealessentials.com/parasites.html