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Intestinal parasites

Generally speaking, parasite cases are much more common than you might think . However, this is a problem that must be treated in a timely manner in order to avoid suffering from health complications. On this occasion, we will talk to you about intestinal parasites , so that you know what they consist of, and what are their main sources of transmission.

What are intestinal parasites?

Parasites are basically tiny microorganisms that inhabit organisms much larger than them. These grow as time goes by, feeding on elements that make up an organism.

In the case of intestinal parasites, as can be guessed from their name, they reside in the intestinal area. They are characterized for the most part by being white in color , as well as thin. In addition, these can measure around 6 to 15 millimeters. Although in specific cases, they can measure much more.

Main intestinal parasites

There are numerous intestinal parasites that can enter our body through food, as well as water. Some of the main intestinal parasites that are most often mentioned include the following:

Giardia lamblia

This protozoan is also known simply as ‘Giardia’, or as Giardiasis due to the pathology it causes, known as ‘Giardiosis’. This parasite lives in the area of ​​the small intestine. In addition, it is not only present in the organism of human beings, we can also find it in animals, mainly in mammals.

As has just been mentioned, this parasite lives in the small intestine, specifically the duodenum where it lives . The symptoms presented after suffering Giardiosis can vary from mild to severe, depending on each particular case. Thus, among some of its symptoms, the following are found:

  • Lack of appetite and low energy.
  • Pain or discomfort in the abdominal area.
  • Excessive gas production, both in the intestine as well as in the stomach.
  • Mucous diarrhea.

It should be noted that these symptoms, if manifested, appear after the incubation period of the parasites. This period can last between 7 and 21 days, depending on each particular case.


Another of the main intestinal parasites that are most often mentioned are pinworms. These parasites that inhabit the large intestine belong to the ‘Enterobius’ family. In addition, they are also characterized by causing ‘oxyurasis’ or ‘enterobiasis’, which causes an itch in the area where these parasites house their eggs.

It should be noted that there are male and female intestinal parasites. Differentiating themselves from each other in the case of pinworms, by the fact that it is the female who travels to the anal region of the infected person to house their eggs there. As mentioned, the female dies after depositing around 1000 eggs in the anal region.

As mentioned above, the symptoms presented by these parasites cause discomfort, such as itching or pain, near the anal or genital region. However, there are cases where there may be problems falling asleep due to sleep disturbances. In more severe cases, weight loss can also be seen.

Ascaris lumbricoides

We find a parasite that lives in the small intestine, which occurs more frequently in males. This parasite is also called by some as ’roundworm’. It should be noted that among the animals that have parasites, the pig hosts one quite similar to the ascaris lumbricoides, known as ‘Ascaris suum’.

Regarding its presence, it is believed that it can be found more frequently in underdeveloped countries . This is due to the poor hygiene conditions that many of these countries tend to have, especially in water.

It is known that after being ingested the eggs where these parasites are housed, they develop in the small intestine. However, during their growth, they travel to the lungs and return to the small intestine, where they complete their growth cycle.

It is also important to add that these parasites are especially characterized by how quickly they can reproduce . In addition, they can become very resistant to the body’s attempts to eliminate them. As far as its size is concerned, it can vary between 15 and 50 centimeters, the female parasites being the largest.

The symptoms that these parasites can produce in the body are varied. However, among the most common are the following:

  • General discomfort.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Weightloss.
  • Anemia and paleness.
  • Löffler syndrome.
  • Fever .
  • Peritonitis .
  • Appendicitis.
  • Jaundice .

It should be noted that many of the symptoms or conditions mentioned above occur when the parasite travels from the intestine to other organs. This in terms of peritonitis , appendicitis, and problems related to the respiratory system is concerned.

Taenia saginata

This intestinal parasite is usually seen quite frequently inside cows and pigs mainly. He himself is responsible for the disease known as ‘bovine cysticercosis’. This parasite usually when it is transmitted to the human species, it is usually quite developed , since it has been forming within the animal.

When ingested by our species, it tends to lodge within the intestinal walls, just as it happens with other types of parasites. Producing in this way, some of the symptoms mentioned below:

  • Discomfort or pain in the abdominal area.
  • Discomfort in the stomach area.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weightloss.

It should be noted that in the worst cases, this parasite can produce human cysticercosis in our body. This can cause a fairly severe clinical picture, being capable of causing some of the following symptoms:

  • Seizures and epilepsy .
  • Serious muscle damage.
  • Damage to the eye area.

Taenia solium

This, also popularly known as ‘tapeworm’, is a parasite belonging to the Cestoda class. Due to its large size, it can be found individually within organisms . This is what makes it known as a tapeworm.

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Likewise, this parasite, like many others, usually lodges in the intestinal walls. In addition, it is responsible for producing diseases such as ‘taeniasis’. This disease produces alterations in the common and current functioning of the intestine. Thus, among some of its most common symptoms, the following:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Dizziness and nausea
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lack of energy and general weakness.
  • Strong desire to eat large amounts of salt.

It should be noted that this is one of the parasites that most often occur in Latin American countries, as well as in Africa and China.


This type of parasite is likely that you have heard it more often. Since, it is responsible for causing one of the most contagious parasitic diseases in the world. It is nothing more and nothing less than amebiasis, which is seen quite frequently in infants mostly .

Amoebas can enter the body mainly through contaminated water. Although it can also be present in various types of food contaminated with this parasite. In addition, being outside, amoebas are protected in a kind of substance that surrounds them, which they release when they are in the stomach.

The release of this substance is responsible for causing amebiasis. Despite the fact that in most cases amoebae develop asymptomatically, sometimes they can present symptoms. Thus, among the main symptoms that this intestinal parasite can cause, the following:

  • Pain or discomfort in the abdominal area.
  • Fever and chills
  • Mucous diarrhea and presence of blood.

There are cases where the clinical picture can become worse due to complications produced by this parasite. An example of this are the rare cases where hepatic amoebiasis can occur .

Main intestinal parasites transmitted by meat

As has been seen, there are numerous intestinal parasites that can be transmitted through meat. Thus, among some of them the following:

Taenia saginata

As mentioned above, this is an intestinal parasite that is usually quite present in cattle. The main transmission of these ‘flat’ parasites in humans originates through the consumption of meat.

This happens in many cases where the meat is infected, and it is not cooked properly. This means that when it is raw or not fully cooked, it can transmit this parasite in humans when they eat them. The worst of the case is that in most cases, after infection, Taenia saginata does not usually present visible symptoms .

It has even been known that due to the lack of symptoms, the infection caused by this bacterium can be prolonged. Going that way, the same unnoticed even for years. It should be noted that people with low defenses in their bodies due to infections or diseases are more vulnerable to contracting this parasite.

Toxoplasma Gondii

This parasite is usually associated regularly with cats, due to the transmission of toxoplasmosis through their feces. However, it can also be found in raw or poorly cooked meats . Being its main guests, some of the following animals:

  • Pig.
  • Mutton.
  • Another kind of wild animals.

The symptoms presented by this parasite do not take long to appear. In this way, they can manifest themselves in a period ranging from a week to a month since the parasite enters our body. In addition, the duration of this disease is varied, being more aggressive in people with a weak immune system .

Trichinella spiralis

Finally, we find a rather curious and dangerous intestinal parasite. Trichinella spiralis has the particularity of being able to migrate from the intestine to other parts of the human body. By performing this action, it is capable of forming cysts in the muscles.

The way to become contaminated with this parasite is by ingesting the meat of animals infected with it . As with the previous cases, raw meat, as well as undercooked, is the main source of transmission in humans. Being in this way mainly present in the following animals:

  • Pigs
  • Wild boars.
  • Horses.
  • Foxes
  • Cats
  • Bears.
  • Wolves.
  • Dogs.
  • Seals

The symptoms produced by this parasite can appear within 24 to 48 hours after ingesting the contaminated meat. In addition, as the week passes, other symptoms may appear. This would cause a worsening of health due to diseases caused by this parasite.

Main sources of transmission of intestinal parasites

The transmission of intestinal parasites can originate mainly through two channels. The first, as mentioned above, is through raw and poorly cooked meats, especially bovine animals.

On the other hand, these parasites can also be transmitted through contaminated water. This happens mainly in underdeveloped countries where water is not treated in an adequate way , following basic hygiene parameters.

This is why it is important to try to consume potable or ‘filtered’ water. Another option that may also be viable is to boil the water before it is ingested.

How to diagnose an intestinal parasitosis?

The symptoms produced by intestinal parasites can be an alert to detect them. However, many times these can present asymptomatic. Therefore, it is recommended to go to the doctor regularly for routine check-ups.

In this way, an intestinal parasite can be diagnosed in time if it is occurring in our body. On the other hand, it is also recommended to take basic hygiene measures in order to avoid being exposed to the aforementioned parasites.

Washing your hands constantly, boiling water before ingesting it and trying to cook food well , can be very important steps to protect yourself from intestinal parasites.

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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