Are Parasites the cause of your IBS symptoms?
Did you know that bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation may be linked to parasitic infections?
Parasite Testing UK
If you are concerned that you may have a parasite, you can easily test for these pathogens using a stool test. A parasite is an organism that lives off another organism, they may live in your large instestine.
How can I get a Parasite test?
We offer comprehensive parasite testing and we can ship all over the UK and Europe. If you would like to order a parasite test please call us on 0345 1297996 or contact us by e-mail. We will post you a Comprehensive Parasitology stool kit; results take approximately 2½ weeks.
What are the symptoms of Parasitic infections?
Many of the symptoms of parasitic infections are similar to those experienced by patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Parasites are a major cause of diarrhea, even in developed countries such as the UK. Additionally bloating, nausea, pain, constipation, gas, fatigue and skin problems have been reported.
Common signs of a parasite infection include:
- Loose bowels
- Skin rashes
These symptoms may come and go due to life cycles of parasites.
Parasites can latch onto the wall of your small intestine and cause iron and protein deficiencies. You may also feel extremely hungry and experience weight loss and fatigue, this may be due to iron deficiency. Intense anal itching at night has also been reported.
What damage do Parasites cause?
In addition to some of the unpleasant symptoms listed above, research suggests that parasites may also linked to food intolerances and allergies. This is because they may cause damage to the lining of the digestive tract.
UK Parasite Testing
If you have any of the above symptoms, you may wish to consider getting tested for parasites. The most extensive test is a Comprehensive Parasitology stool test. This test is not available on the NHS but will detect over 60 species of parasites. We offer parasite testing via a stool test- this is non-invasive and very easy to carry out at home.
The stool test will also examine the following:
- Beneficial bacteria
- Yeast including Candida Albicans and Geotrichum Species
- Friendly gut flora
- Dysbiotic or bad bacteria
How can I order a Parasite test?
If you would like to order one of our parasite tests, please send us your name address and date of birth and we will pleased to post you a kit or you can arrange to have it collected at our clinic in London. If you would rather have a consultation first, please e-mail us or call us and we will review your symptoms in detail at our clinic in central London.
About Parasite Testing
How is the Parasite test conducted?
Once you have collected or received our stool kit (we can post it to you) you will need to produce two separate stool samples (on separate days). We will send you vials that contain liquids to preserve you samples. Once you have completed both you will need to ship your samples back to our laboratory. The turnaround time is 2 weeks. Please discontinue probiotics or antibiotics or anti-fungals 1 week prior to doing the test. The results take 2-3 weeks to come back and we will certainly help you interpret the results.
This above stool test is suited to patients who have frequent diarrhea with urgency or may have had exposure to contaminated food, lakes or untreated water. The Comprehensive Parasitology stool test as well as other Parasite tests that we offer will also help reveal candida and bacterial overgrowth. These are also common symptoms of IBS.
Once the parasite has been revealed by the Comprehensive Parasitology stool test, we recommend anti-parasitics to eradicate it. We often use a combination of Oregano, Grapefruit Seed, Wormwood or Black Walnut. These are natural herbal anti-parasitics. Sometimes you will need to visit your GP to take antibiotics.
How did I pick up a Parasite?
Most of us may meet a parasite at some point in our lives. They can be picked up through contaminated food or drink, foreign travel, pets, day care centers, swimming pool, lakes, and sex! It used to be thought that Parasites were only picked up in underdeveloped countries but actually parasitic infections are very common in Europe, UK and USA.
Did you know that parasites can be picked up by eating, fish, meat and vegetables? A wide variety of parasites including tapeworms, can be transmitted by eating undercooked fish, undercooked meat and pork and vegetables that have been contaminated by human or animal faeces. The NHS website warns against eating wild salmon as this has been linked to a parasite called Anisakis.
Is Sushi a cause of Parasitic infections?
Doctors writing in British Medical Journal Case Reports have claimed that Sushi's growing popularity in the West may be linked to a rise in parasitic infections. Experts treated a 32-year-old man, in Lisbon, who was found to have parasite larvae on his gut lining after eating Sushi. In the USA, there have been reports in the New York Times that parasites in Del Monte vegetable trays infected 200 people.
Parasites may also be picked up by swimming in lakes, streams or ponds. Some parasites can be picked from your pets. Unfortunately, parasites are very contagious and can be passed on if you do not wash your hands religiously.
Do Doctors on the NHS test for Parasites?
What always surprises me is that in the UK GPs do not routinely test for parasites. In fact, in my experience they rarely associate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome with parasitic infections. Yet a recent a scientific study (2017) was published in the World journal of Gastrointestinal Pharmacology linking symptoms of IBS to parasitic infections. The study found a prevalence of parasites including Blastocystis, Cryptosporidium and Giardia in IBS patients concluding that these parasites are likely to have a role in the pathogenesis of IBS.
When patients do get tested for parasites on the NHS, they often have negative results. I suspect this is because the range of parasites they are tested for are not very comprehensive.
22 Signs that you may have Parasite:
- Diarrhoea and loose bowels
- Diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Itching particularly at night
- Skin rash, rosacea
- Anaemia or Iron deficiency
- Weight Loss
- Insatiable hunger
- Became unwell after food poisoning
- Became unwell after travel to a foreign country
- Close contact with Pets or farm animals
- Swam in Lakes/ Streams
- Contact with Sewage
- Churning gurgling noises
- Joint pain
Testing for Parasites
The parasites that we test for include:
- Anisakis simplex
- Ascaris lumbricoides
- Balantidium coli
- Blastocystis hominis
- Capillaria hepatica
- Capillaria philippinensis
- Chilomastix mesnili
- Clonorchis sinensis
- Cryptosporidium parvum (EIA)
- Dicrocoelium dendriticum
- Dientamoeba fragilis
- Diphyllobothrium latum
- Dipylidium caninum
- Echinostoma hortense
- Echinostoma ilocanum
- Endolimax nana
- Entamoeba coli
- Entamoeba hartmanni
- Entamoeba histolytica/E dispar
- Entamoeba polecki
- Enterobius vermicularis
- Enteromonas hominis
- Fasciola hepatica
- Fasciola hepatica/Fasciolopsis buski
- Gastrodiscoides hominis
- Giardia lamblia
- Giardia lamblia (EIA)
- Heterophyes heterophyes
- Hookworm (Ancylostoma duodenale / Necator americanus)
- Hymenolepis diminuta
- Hymenolepis nana
- Organism Name
- Iodamoeba butschlii
- Isospora belli
- Metagonimus yokogawai
- Paragonimus westermani
- Pentatrichomonas hominis
- Phaneropsolus bonnei
- Pygidiopsis summa
- Retortamonas intestinalis
- Schistosoma haematobium
- Schistosoma jabonicum/mekongi
- Schistosoma japonicum
- Schistosoma mansoni
- Strongyloides stercoralis
- Taenia spp
- Toxocara canis
- Trichuris trichiura
Parasites in the UK
We ran an audit and found that parasites proved to be a cause of people’s symptoms in 31% of the sufferers from IBS who have consulted us. They are especially likely to be a cause where the major symptoms are:
- Diarrhoea or endless loose bowel movements;
- Abdominal pain;
- A lot of gurgling or churning accompanied by the first two symptoms.
If the origin of the symptoms can be traced back to a bad stomach upset experienced on foreign travel, it increases the likelihood that parasites are the problem.
Even if the patient has been treated previously by means of a parasite test on the NHS, it is still very important to do a parasite test with the American laboratory that we use because their techniques are infinitely more sophisticated and will almost certainly find parasites in circumstances where an NHS test did not.
Dientamoeba fragilis and Blastocystis hominis are the commonest parasites that we find in Britain. The former should be relatively easy to eradicate; the latter can be extremely stubborn. If you have done a stool test in the past that was negative but you feel you match all the symptoms of a parasitic infection, or you had parasites in the pasr but are wondering if you have fully eradicated them, you may like to get in touch with us to further parasite testing because:
- We can arrange a sophisticated PCR parasite test for you
- If that test proves positive, you can finally get treatments that will relieve your symptoms.
A Case History
The problem for patients is that GP’s just do not seem to be aware that parasites can be a major cause of IBS. Nor, for that matter, even more surprisingly do gastroenterologists.
We had a patient in her twenties who has had extremely bad IBS for ten months – so bad in fact, that she has had to be off work for the whole of that time. She has been having diarrhoea up to fifteen times a day (ten times during the day and five during the night). She had been to her GP who suggested it was due to a virus! An exclamation mark is the kindest way I can think of commenting on that particular diagnosis.
Eventually she was sent for a colonoscopy, an endoscopy, a barium meal, and a sigmoidoscopy; these four tests together must have cost the NHS well over £1000 (or would have cost anyone doing them privately a total of about £2,500) and would have been followed by numerous visits to consultants.
What would we have done? The moment we saw that she had given diarrhoea ten out of ten on our long questionnaire we would have immediately suspected parasites. When we audited 120 successive stool tests that we did with the American laboratory we use, we found that 31.6% of those patients had parasites. Yet GP’s and gastroenterologists seldom ever seem to consider them when they are investigating a patient with diarrhoea.
If you would like to read the cover story article we wrote for Positive Health magazine, please see the real causes of ibs.
We use a number of different laboratories for parasite testing but highly recommend Doctor's Data. The stool test is run by Doctor’s Data and utilizes culture growth testing; this is the international standard for clinical microbiology testing. The benefit of this type of testing is that it enables susceptibility testing to be performed. Therefore antifungals and anti-bacerials will be identified to eradicate pathogenic strains.
In addition to parasites, the test will identify 170 species of yeast of which 65 are Candida species. The test uses MALDI-TOF Technology. This technology shared the 2002 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and is used by NASA to search for life on Mars: in fact, Doctor’s Data also introduced MALDI-TOF to the functional medicine industry.
Doctors Data is a a global company that receives more than 1400 stool samples daily from around the world!
The IBS & Gut Disorder Centre
9 Weymouth Street
London W1W 6DB
0345 129 7996
Mayo Clinic - Giardia infection (giardiasis)
Scientific American - We Need to Talk about Intestinal Worms, Jan 29 2019
NHS - Eat well
BMJ Case Reports - Aniskiasis: a growing cause of abdominal pain!
World J Gastrointestinal Pharmacology Ther. 2017 Nov 6; 8(4): 201–207.
Published online 2017 Nov 6. doi: 10.4292/wjgpt.v8.i4.201
US National Library of Medicine - Protozoan parasites in irritable bowel syndrome: A case-control study