I had all of the symptoms described above which led me to have all kinds of blood work performed by my physician to try and figure out what was going on with me.
The symptoms of an intestinal parasitic infection will vary person-to-person– but most notably are the digestive symptoms such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and stomach pain.
For me, my labs came back showing I had a low functioning thyroid. My TSH levels were the at the highest levels that I’d ever seen (indicating I had hypothyroid)!
We tested my ferritin levels and those were low too. My doctor thought maybe my low iron levels were causing my thyroid to plummet.
I needed more answers as to what was going on, so I decided to run the GI MAP stool test on myself.
The results explained EVERYTHING. In short, I was shocked to learn I had an INTESTINAL PARASITE.
Yes, that sounds like a scary thing, but it’s actually WAY more common than you realize.
A parasite is any organism that lives and feeds off of another organism.
More specifically, intestinal parasites are microorganisms that live and thrive in the human intestine.
Intestinal parasites are placed into 2 categories:
Globally, protozoan and helminth infections are considered a major public health issue and affect BILLIONS of people world wide.
These microscopic creatures are typically picked up through:
Some parasites can even enter the body by traveling through the bottom of your foot from contaminated soil. Hookworm can be contracted in this manner.
Parasites can contribute to any number of symptoms including:
The best way to test for an intestinal parasite is to get a DNA PCR stool test.
Most doctors will run a conventional stool test which is NOT as accurate as a comprehensive stool test that I offer in my practice.
So what’s the difference between a conventional stool test and a comprehensive stool test?
In order to detect any kind of parasite, a conventional stool test requires:
As you can see, there are often a high number of inaccurate test results with this method of stool sampling. You could be told that you don’t have a parasite when you actually DO have one.
Luckily, there are other options out there for you moving forward.
In my practice I use the GI MAP stool test, which tests for 15 different intestinal parasites.
This comprehensive stool test is much more sensitive than the conventional stool test offered at your doctor’s office because it uses Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology to measure the very DNA particles of the parasite.
This technology has a high sensitivity, meaning the parasite can actually be dead or in its dormant phase and it will STILL be detected!
This leads to more accurate diagnoses that were likely missed with the conventional stool testing offered by your doctor.
Even better, you can collect this sample in the comfort of your own home and it requires only ONE very small sample (not 3, like the conventional stool testing does).
Here are the results of my first GI MAP test performed one year ago.
After months of struggling with mysterious symptoms I was able to find out the root cause of my problem, hook worm! Eeek! (aka Ancylostoma duodenale).
Hookworm affects MILLIONS of people world wide. Yes, it’s THAT common.
I likely picked up this little bugger during my annual family trip to Costa Rica.
The origin of how I contracted this parasite is still a mystery, but I feel fairly confident my international travels had something to do with it.
But just so you know, you don’t have to travel internationally to pick up an intestinal parasite!
These buggers actually can be picked up in our own back yard.
If you’re an avid camper, drink well water, smooch on your pets, or are in close contact with someone else who carries these parasites then you’re at risk too.
My symptoms started out with a lowered immune function (I was getting sick ALL THE TIME) and I experienced extreme fatigue.
Hookworm infection is often a major contributor to iron deficiency anemia (a direct consequence of the parasite’s feeding behavior). Which explained my low iron levels and therefore my fatigue.
But there was also my plummeting thyroid. My low iron levels likely contributed to my thyroid issues, which further contributed to my fatigue and lowered immune function.
This is why it’s SO important to take a functional medicine approach to your health!
If I had continued on without this stool test, I likely would’ve been put on thyroid medication. Which wouldn’t have solved what my REAL issue was!
Getting to the root-cause of my health problem meant I treated my parasite and not my thyroid or low iron levels as the source of my health problems.
This saved me from having to rely on costly medication for the rest of my life and from many more trips to my doctor’s office with no answer in sight.
Here are my follow-up test results after 3 months of an extensive botanical anti-parasitic protocol I followed.
As you can see, no more parasitic infection! Hell yes!
Luckily in this case I didn’t have to resort to expensive pharmaceuticals. Others may require a more extensive pharmaceutical intervention; treatment options will obviously vary person-to-person.
It’s been quite a journey since I discovered I had a parasite.
Since eradicating my parasite my digestive symptoms went away, my iron and thyroid levels improved, and I’m no longer feeling extremely tired or getting frequent upper respiratory infections.
It’s such a relief to have gotten the answers I needed in order to begin to fully heal and move on with my life.
I hope this article was insightful and helps anyone out there who may be experiencing mystery symptoms like I did.
If you think you might be struggling with digestive issues related to an intestinal parasitic infection, then my Digestive Reset Program may be right for you. To get started, schedule a complimentary consult today.