Parasites: How to Know If You Have Worms and What to Do About Them
Some time ago I had a client who had this question for me: “I have noticed that I have had menstrual cramps in the last few months and usually I do not have them. Can you tell me what you think it is?”
It was determined, strangely or not strangely enough, that the cause of those menstrual cramps was parasites! And this is not the only disease caused, in part, by parasites. Keep reading …
I recommend to her, and to you, that you infect yourself and your pets about twice a year.
I have tried natural dewormers over the years; actually LOTS of natural worms such as: Garlic, Clove, Black Walnut, Coriander, Wormwood, Pumpkin Seeds, Pomegranate, Diatomaceous Earth, Rascal, Zymex, Vermifuge, various other natural and homeopathic antiparasitic formulas. , but nothing seems that effective. I even tried Hulda Clarke’s “Zapper” (which, by the way, doesn’t work, because the voltage on the thing is not strong enough to penetrate fecal matter into the intestines – save money by not buying or building one! ) I’m sorry to report (as a naturopath) that studies show that these herbal treatments are only 20% effective. The certified organic organization says that when all else fails, use ivermectin (which is not organic by any means), but have you seen the list of side effects for that particular product? Three pages!
I will say that when a client comes to see me, I ask him if he has a craving. A sure sign that they are “worms” is when they tell me they crave cloves. Clove oil has been shown to penetrate the egg and kill it where the other herbs only kill the adults. Herbs that kill parasites are often found in herbal cancer formulas because parasites are often the main cause of that particular disease.
One of the reasons I push so hard for routine deworming is that the medical field often misses this diagnosis, especially if you have no history of traveling outside of the United States, where parasites are often a big problem. I love working in my garden and I often breathe with my mouth open when I work the soil. We also live in a windy area and dirt from wheat and grass fields is often in the air. I try to wash my hands frequently, but anyone who works on the land knows that it is almost impossible to avoid getting it on you.
Another reason I keep up with the worm situation is that worms carry viruses into our bodies. Some of these viruses can cause cancer, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and many other horrible diseases.
In my opinion, the safest, cheapest, easiest and most effective way to eliminate the most common worms (roundworms, also called strongyles, roundworms, pinworms, roundworms) from you and your pets is to go to the local food store and get a rotisserie bottle for dogs or horses: Equi-Phar, ProTal, Strongid-T and Nemex are trade names for Pyrantel Pamoate. I say this because when you ask your doctor about a dewormer, they usually tell you that you don’t need to be dewormed. Make sure it says Pyrantel Pamoate on the label and nothing else added. Combination dewormers are not always necessary and they are not always safe.
Dosage: Use the dose of 5-10 mg / kilogram of body weight (approximately 1 ml / 5 to 10 pounds of a 50 mg / ml solution) of body weight for dogs and humans and 1 ½ ml / 5 to 10 pounds for cats A teaspoon is 5 ml or cc (ml and cc are the same unit of volume). If you are not good at math, you will want to double check that you are taking the correct dose. Although this dewormer is so safe that you can take 40 times the amount without harmful side effects, it is not advisable to take an insufficient dose. And, “If a little is good, a lot is not necessarily better.” The most common side effect is nausea, so you should take this product with something in your stomach, such as a small meal or some crackers.
One dose is all that is needed, but a second dose may need to be given 7-10 days after the first dose for initial deworming or if the worm load is quite large. I now use it once a year for myself as I have had a history of heart palpitations (another symptom associated with parasites). The worms will die in 20 minutes. You won’t feel anything and you shouldn’t have any side effects. You won’t see anything go to the bathroom as a general rule, but if you’re wondering what’s going on, a photo often helps. People often mistake intestinal fragments for flatworms or tapeworms and undigested food for parasites. This dewormer won’t kill those kinds of parasties. Every now and then I see a pet get nauseous from an overdose, but in 30 years, I have never seen any other side effects.
Will store bought dewormers work the same? No. Many stores still sell Piperazine dewormer, which has been so overused that it is no longer an effective dewormer. Piperazine is often marketed as a “monthly” dewormer in pet parlors. I once saw a litter of eight attacking puppies who had just been dewormed that week with piperazine. Imagine eight adorable Golden Retreiver puppies lying on their side and shaking. It was horrible! I immediately dewormed them with Pyrantel and the worms just flowed down their little rectums and the seizures stopped within 20 minutes. It was amazing to watch!
If the product you buy contains an anti-tapeworm drug (such as chlorpyrifos, which is an organophosphate dewormer), that can cause some serious side effects. Never use these store bought dewormers on pregnant animals. The animal’s guts can contract so hard to pass the worms that they can rupture the uterus and die. Always get tapeworm medicine from your doctor or vet, as we have much safer brands than grocery or pet food stores. The tobacco plug is also not safe. I did not use it.
How are worms spread? We collect worms from some of the things we eat, from the dirt and dust we breathe. Eating dirt is a sign of iron deficiency. We should talk if you’re doing that … I got worms when I was little from eating mud pie (my friend said she’d give me a nickel if I did!). Pinworms are the equivalent of cat and dog roundworms, only they are a different species of worm, so they are not transmitted from us to them and vice versa. See more on that below.
Most adults (pets and people) have enough enzymes in their mouths to break down most of the eggs that enter through the mouth and nose, the acids in our stomach break down even more, but some eggs pass through both systems of back up where they hatch, find a home, and become adults in about 10 to 14 days in our small intestines. After 14 days, these adult parasites are producing more eggs, millions of them in their lifetime. Yuck!
We see worms more commonly in baby animals and humans because their salivary enzymes are not as strong, the hydrochloric acids in the stomach are not fully developed yet, and because they have oral fixations and put a lot of things in their mouth, they ingest more dirt. than adults. Your immune system can’t keep up with it. The “load” (number of worms) increases so much in the small intestine that it spills out into the large intestine and into the stomach. This is why it is so common to see babies vomit worms or take them out. Because adults have better immune systems, the load is controlled and the worms like the environment of the small intestine, so this is where they stay. We may still have worms, but it’s not as obvious as when we were young children (or pets under one year of age).
How do you know if you should take a dewormer?
Signs of pinworms include fever, cough, wheezing, stomach problems, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal cramps, appendicitis, gas, bloating, increased (menstrual) cramps, heart palpitations, right lower quadrant pain that comes and goes (spasms in the ileocecal valve), itchy anus, dry, dull hair with split ends, seizures, itchy appetite (often from sugar), transparent mucous strands in the stool (yes, you should be looking at it every time you Go! If you ever ask me, people and animals with a lot of parasites also have large bellies and a lot of diameter below the navel because the intestines lose their tone. Most of the time, worms can be diagnosed by looking at the intestinal contents with under a microscope or doing a blood test, but not always Protozoan parasites like giardia are often overlooked.
Can I get roundworms and tapeworms from my pets?
Good question, and I understand it a lot. If you give your pets worms regularly, you will not have this problem. Dog and cat worms are different from most human worms. There are only a few species of zoonotic worms (transmitted from your dogs and cats to you); one of them is Toxoplasma cati, which is transmitted to humans through cat feces and causes blindness in children. But, Pyrantel Pamoate kills that and if you clean the litter box every day the chance of it being passed on is next to zero. Giardia lamblia, an intestinal protozoan parasite, can also be transmitted through your pet, but most humans contract Giardia by drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated lettuce or water chestnuts. Scabies is NOT transmitted from animals to humans and neither are head lice or public lice. Tapeworms are not transferred from cats and dogs to people (but from fish and some farm animals). Tapeworms are treated with different medications than roundworms.
The ring worm is not actually a parasitic worm. It really is a fungus and that, too, can be passed from your pets to you. We have some great homeopathic drops for that, but keeping the area washed and applying iodine can help. Also, keeping your and your pet’s immune systems healthy with good, high-quality food helps tremendously.
Well that’s worms in a nutshell (or in this case, a gut!) Appetizing, huh?