Parasites: Everything you need to know

Do you live in Ottawa? Are you looking to find out about parasites in humans?

If so, you are in the right place.

Today I will talk about what parasites are, how you get parasites, what symptoms they have in children and adults, how to test for them, and finally, how to treat them naturally.

In This Article:

Finding out you have parasites can be disturbing, but you’re not alone; they are far more prevalent than you would imagine. It is a myth that parasites only exist in third-world countries.

Let’s begin by looking at what parasites are.

What Are Parasites?

Parasites are organisms that exist and feast on another organism.

Intestinal parasites are usually worms that feed off of the food you eat.

Examples of intestinal parasites include roundworms, tapeworms, pinworms, whipworms, hookworms, and more.

Parasites can cause a very wide range of problems:

  1. Some eat your food, leaving you empty after every meal and unable to put on weight.
  2. Some feed off of your red blood cells, leading to anemia.
  3. Some lay eggs that can produce itching, irritability, and even insomnia.

If you have attempted many strategies to heal your gut and alleviate your symptoms without resolution, a parasite could be the underlying reason for several unexplained and vague symptoms.

Let’s look at how you get parasites.

How Do You Get Parasites?

There are plenty of ways to catch a parasite, including the following:

  • Parasites can invade your body via infected food and water.
  • Undercooked meat is a well-known place for them to hide and contaminated water from third world countries, lakes, ponds, or streams. Meat is not the only offender.
  • Polluted or contaminated fruits and veggies can also hide parasites.
  • Some parasites can even invade the body by moving through the sole of your foot.

Once infected with a parasite, passing it on to somebody else is very easy.

If you have a parasite and don’t clean your hands after using the bathroom, you can easily transfer microscopic eggs onto anything you touch, such as a door handle, salt shaker, phone, or anybody you feel.

It’s also very easy to catch a parasite when around animals.

Ensuring you wash your hands can help prevent parasite infection and transmission.

Going overseas is an added way that parasites can enter your body.

You have probably acquired a parasite if you drank any contaminated water during your travels.

Let’s look at the signs and symptoms of parasites.

13 Signs And Symptoms Of Parasites In Children And Adults

  1. Unexplained constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, or heartburn.
  2. If you travelled abroad and remember getting traveller’s diarrhea.
  3. If you have had food poisoning in the past, and your digestion has not been right since.
  4. Difficulty falling asleep or waking up multiple times during the night, particularly between 2 and 3 pm.
  5. Unexplained rashes, hives, rosacea or eczema.
  6. Grind your teeth at night.
  7. Unexplained pain in your joints and muscles.
  8. Tiredness, weariness, sadness, or frequent feelings of indifference.
  9. You never feel satiated or full after your meals.
  10. You’ve been diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia or low iron that does not increase with supplementation.
  11. A crawling feeling underneath your skin.
  12. Drooling on your pillow while asleep at night.
  13. Nightmares or terrors – especially children.

The symptoms of a parasite can often seem independent and unexplained.

As I stated previously, there are many diverse types of parasites that we are exposed to in our environments.

I typically see parasites prompting more constipation than diarrhea.

Insomnia, skin rashes, mood swings, and muscle aches can all be produced by the toxins that parasites release into your body.

These toxins often cause anxiety, which can display itself in different guises.

For example, waking up in the middle of the night or grinding your teeth at night are signs that your body is feeling anxiety while you rest.

When these toxins mix with your brain chemicals or blood, they can cause mood swings or skin rashes.

How to Test for Parasites

The gold standard for testing for parasites is via a stool test.

In Ontario, parasite testing is covered under OHIP through your family physician.

One major drawback of this testing is the analysis method, achieved through culture.

Parasites can be difficult to detect, so taking more than one sample significantly increases the chance of detection.

In my practice, I use a laboratory in the US (Diagnostic Solutions) that uses the latest parasite detection technology, PCR testing.

Stool testing is the best scientific method for testing parasites.

Sometimes, it can produce false negative results even though all the presenting symptoms point towards parasites being present.

In such cases, I examine all the presenting symptoms and may treat them even though the stool test may be negative.

How to Treat Parasites

Any positive stool test will tell you which type of parasites are present.

You can then use specific herbal medications to target those particular parasites.

If the parasites cannot be distinguished, you can use a herbal formula comprising magnesium caprylate, berberine, Tribulus, sweet wormwood, grapefruit, bayberry, bearberry, and black walnut.

These herbal formulas offer a broad spectrum of action against the most prevalent pathogens in your GI tract while not damaging the beneficial gut bacteria.

I also use homeopathic medicine to treat parasites, particularly in children.

Now It’s Over To You

Do you have unexplained symptoms?

Have you been abroad?

Have you considered looking at parasites?

Leave me a comment below.

Do You Need Help?

If you need help, I suggest you book a free functional medicine discovery session with me to determine whether my functional medicine approach fits your child’s needs.


The information provided on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. Please do not apply this information without first speaking with your doctor.


  1. I’ve had gut problems for 8yrs is there such a parasite that comes out in poop stringy but mostly clear but like a worm does sorta get the color of poop as well but long and stringy

    1. Hi Mitch, I am not an expert on what parasites look like. I suggest you ask your doctor to refer you to an infectious disease specialist.

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