Blastocystis hominis is a single-celled microscopic parasite that belongs to the family of water molds and algae, and can live for many years in both the infected human and animal intestine. It is eliminated from the body through the passing of contaminated faeces, and because the parasite is protected by a hard shell, once eliminated can live in the outside world, in water, soil and food for quite a long time.
Unfortunately, the Blastocystis hominis parasite can get into the body without you even realising it, because it’s not like a green worm you can see, this little invador is invisable to the naked eye, and once inside you lives happily inside you without you even realising it.
Can I get it?
The simple answer is Yes you can. This parasite doesn’t care who hosts it.
How Do I Get it?
If you were to be exposed or in contact with an area / item or person contaminated by this parasite, you could very easily become a new host. For example
Ø The parasite can live in contaminate water and be swallowed while swimming in a swimming pools, a water park, drinking water out of bubbler, the kitchen tap, ice made from contaminated water, lakes, streams, rivers, spas and hot tubs.
Ø It can contaminate food, especially food that has not been cooked sufficiently,
Ø It can be picked up from unclean surfaces such as toilets and toilet fittings, babys change tables, napkins, toys. It can also be transmitted from one person to another and from the family pet.
Ø If visiting a country where Blastocystosis is common, you could well be exposed and may get infected.
How Do I know if I’ve got it?
There are people contaminated with the parasite who live for years not know they have it, and it may only be picked up in a stool test, which may have been ordered for an entirly different reason. Then there are those, who, due perhaps to a lowered immune system or other underlying health issues have very severe, long term symptoms.
For some infected people the symptoms may last only a few week, and resolve by themselves, where in others the symptoms may last for months and they can become chronically ill. At present although research is being done on this parasite and why it differs so much from person to person the answers are not yet in.
What are the Symptoms?
As this parasite lives in the intestine, that’s usually the area you feel the symptoms first.
Ø Diarrhoia and constipation
Ø Bloating, gas and wind
Ø Stool changes (in look, consistancy and colour)
Ø Abdominal pain and cramping
Ø Nausea and a sick feeling in the stomach
Ø A general feeling of unwellness, tiredness, fatigue
Ø Skin rashes and joint pains may also appear.
Are there tests to diagnose this parasite?
The best way to discover if you are infected or not is to
Ø Have a stool test. (this clinic or your health care provider can arrange this for you)
Although this test is not 100% perfect in detecting this parasite, at present it’s the best we have.
What is the Treatment?
Unfortunately at present, there is no fail proof, totally reliable treatment avalible.
Doctors have prescribed antibiotics to their patients with positive stool test for Blastocystis.
We at this clinic are aware of patients being given antibiotics to treat the parasite, but most report this has not worked and symptoms in fact became worse.
So what do I do to get Rid of It?
As I mentioned before this nasty parasite makes its home in your intestine, so the best way to get to it, is flush it out, as it will leave your body in your faeces.
Ø Colonic Lavage Therapy, will clean out your bowel. A series of treatments will flush out all faecal waste in your bowel and along with it, the parasite.
Ø Probiotic Therapy both orally and implanted rectally (no pain or anaesthetic) As Blastocystis is a bad bug, you need to put in good bugs to act as an army of fighters to help kill off the invadors.
Ø Supplement / herbal therapy is another good way of helping to kill off the invadors.
Ø Diet, nutritional ( recommendations we will make for you) and lifestyle changes (as shown below) will all help.
Prevention is the best way to stop the Spread
Ø Cleanliness needs to be a priority, hand washing with soap and water is essential after every activity.
(For best results and germ free hands wash as long as it takes for you to sing happy birthday)
Ø Keep a liquid hand sanatiser on benches you frequently work at.
Ø After patting pets
Ø Don’t leave pet poo lying around on the grass
Ø Always pick it up with gloves on
Ø Dis[pose of it safely
Ø Wash hands well with soap and water (singing happy birthday to the end)
Ø After using the bathroom
Ø After changing and properly disposing of nappies (same as disposing of pet poo)
Ø After digging in the garden
Ø After touching things that may be contaminated (toys, pet toys, leashes, garbage bin, cleaning cloths, toilets, (even if wearing gloves)
Ø Before handling food or preparing a meal
Ø Avoid using or drinking water that may be contaminated
Can I Protect myself from Infection?
Absolutely you can.
Ø Follow ALL the instructions given above
Ø It’s a great idea to have your house water tested by an expert in the area.
If you live in an area that may that is questionableregarding contamination of water, or are unsure of foods that may be contaminated there rae a number of thing you should do.
Ø Boil all your water for at least 3 minutes
Ø Buy a really good undersink filter.
Ø If you’re travelling use water purifying tablets, they are not as good as boiling water, but better than doing nothing.
Ø Wash all vegatables and fruits well. Place for 30 minutes in a bath of 1 tablespoon of sodi barcarbonate
Ø Peel your fruit before eating.
Ø Don’t eat raw foods or uncooked foods while travelling overseas or in a place that does not have proper sanation.
Ø Don’t put ice in your drinks while overseas unless you know it’s safe (a large hotel)
Ø Don’t accept a bottle of water or drink where the lid or cap has been removed before you get it
Ø Keep a hand sanitiser in your handbag and use it regularly. (hand washing with soap and water is 100% better)
Remember this is a stuborne, resiliant, hard to kill parasite, so the treatment won’t be a quick fix, but if you want to fell better and regain your health and wellbeing you have little choice but to do whatever you need to do to get rid of THE BOWEL BUG CALLED BLASTOCYSTIS HOMINIS.