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Intestinal Parasites

What are intestinal parasites?

Intestinal parasites are organisms that live within the intestinal tract, growing and feeding off your body. They range from visible worms (like tapeworms and pinworms) to microscopic organisms such as Giardia. The frequency of world travel and increased immigration to New Zealand has resulted in the significant spread of parasitic infection.

Parasites are much more common in New Zealand and other developed countries than you may realise. An intestinal parasite can weaken your body's natural immune system, making you more susceptible to other illnesses. 

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Are there different types of parasites?

Yes, there are 4 main kinds of parasites, found commonly in the body - Pinworms, Roundworms, Threadworms and Tapeworms. There are 4 types of tapeworms, Dwarf, Beef, Pork and Fish. These are less common than the other types of worms.


Pinworms are very common parasites that affect children, particularly those who put their fingers in their mouth. Once treatment has been given, strict hygiene methods need to be made to make sure reinfestation does not occur.

You will usually know if this parasite is the problem, as a child will complain of an itchy anus. This symptom usually occurs after the child has been in bed for an hour or so. If you examine the anus you will usually see a tiny white worm, which looks like a small piece of cotton. The female worm crawls out of the rectum at night and lays her eggs on the skin.

This parasite has a life cycle of 6 weeks and the eggs can remain viable for up to 3 weeks. For this reason, it is important that the whole family is treated for this parasite. To ensure all the eggs are killed and reinfestation does not occur, all clothes, sheets and towels should be washed in hot water daily. Underpants should be worn during the day and at night and these should be changed twice a day. The floor of the bedroom should be disinfected and so should all of the child's toys. The toilet seat should be disinfected regularly. As well as this, it is important that the child washes their hands and scrubs their fingernails regularly, since the eggs may be carried under the fingernails and spread this way.


Roundworm is contracted by ingesting the eggs and it is particularly common in tropical regions. Children who do not wash their hands after playing with animals &/or those who put their fingers in their mouth are most prone to becoming infected with this worm.

A roundworm is usually between 13-35 cm in length. Diagnosis of the faeces will determine if the person is infected by this worm, by finding the eggs from this worm. The first symptoms a person gets when they have this worm are a cough, wheezing and a fever. This is because the larvae migrate through the lungs. The person will cough up the larvae, which is then swallowed. Once this happens the adult worm will form in the small intestines. Once in the intestines, symptoms range from diarrhoea to abdominal cramps and sometimes intestinal obstruction. Again, good hygiene can help prevent the infestation of this parasite.


The infestation of this worm is not as common in NZ as the pin or roundworms. The larvae of the threadworm are found in contaminated soil and can be picked up from the soles of the feet or from working in the contaminated soil. Diagnosis of this worm is by finding the larvae in the stool. The most common symptoms are a radiating pain in the pit of the stomach and diarrhoea.


There are 4 types of tapeworm: Dwarf, Beef, Pork and Fish tapeworm. Generally, when people are infected with a tapeworm, they will suffer no symptoms, although some may have abdominal discomfort or pain, bloating and gas, diarrhoea or suffer from anaemia or weight loss. Over a period of time, emaciation or wasting away can occur or a withered yellow complexion and general weakness.

The life cycle of tapeworms involves an animal swallowing the worm eggs, which then hatch to form dormant cysts in the animal's muscles. When a person eats the flesh of the infected animal, the cysts develop into mature egg-producing worms in the human intestine. Segments of a mature tapeworm may be seen in an infected person's faeces and the eggs can be detected by a microscope.

Why are parasites a problem to the human body?

Dr Bernard Jensen Ph.D., Clinical Nutritionist states that information from medical research indicates that parasite infestations are very common and outrank cancer as man's deadliest disease worldwide. He goes on to say that more than 200 million people are infected with Schistosomiasis, an infestation of parasitic worms that live in the intestines.

Parasites may be one of the contributing causes of the inability of many doctors to correctly treat disease. Many incorrect diagnoses have been made and unnecessary tests and surgeries performed, because parasites have not been correctly identified.

Worldwide, one in every four people is infected by roundworm. These cause fever, coughing and intestinal pain. A third of a billion people suffer from whipworm. These cause diarrhoea and abdominal pain. While many of the parasite diseases occur in underdeveloped countries, practically every parasite known has been diagnosed in New Zealand as well. Most of these have come from travellers. Malaria is one of the more prevalent diseases caused by these parasite-type invasions.

The first major nationwide survey of parasitic diseases, conducted in 1976, indicated that one in every six people studied had one or more parasites living somewhere in their body. The survey examined 414,820 samples of faeces.

Parasites will not thrive as well in a body where natural health principles and internal hygiene are a way of life. Parasites are a natural part of the breaking down cycle we find in nature. Every deficient plant has them. A strong biochemically balanced body is our best resistance to disease - including these life forms.

How do you get a parasitic invasion?

Parasites are found in:

  • Raw and undercooked food
  • Treated and untreated water
  • Transmitted by insects and household pets
  • Passed from person to person through unsanitary habits and poor hygieneParasites travel in different ways. For example, the micro-organism Giardia, which causes persistent diarrhoea, fever, cramps and other symptoms, is contained in faeces. It gets into public water supplies when animal or human sewage contaminates the water source.
  • Other parasites are found in raw or undercooked meats and fish, while others are in contaminated soil. Many immigrants to New Zealand unknowingly carry parasites, transmitting the organism into food through unsanitary practices in restaurant kitchens.

What are the symptoms of a parasitic invasion?

Almost any persistent digestive disorder could result from a parasite. The most common symptoms are diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, gas and bloating, foul smelling stools, anorexia or weight loss, gastritis, fever and chills, headaches, constipation, blood or mucous in the stools and fatigue.

Other health problems can result from disturbed digestive processes or toxins produced by the parasite, such as aches and pains in the joints and muscles, anaemia, allergies, chronic fatigue, immune dysfunction, sleep disturbances and depression.

Ongoing irritation from a parasitic infection can alter the lining of your intestine, creating "leaky gut syndrome", which permits toxic compounds to permeate into the body through the intestine. A variety of disorders, including food allergies and inflammatory bowel disease can result from altered intestinal permeability.

As well as this, our intestine is a very sophisticated organ, involved with the absorption of nutrients from the food we eat. When this is affected by a parasitic invasion, this will directly affect our body's ability to absorb the nutrients from food. Because of this, you can become nutrient deficient.

What can you do to treat internal parasites?

We stock a number of excellent parasite treatments. One of our favourite is Formula 825 Verm-Xpel. Verm-X is a New Zealand made herbal de-worming tonic, that when taken is an excellent start to achieving better health, boosting the effects of all other herbal tonics - fast.

A worm free body heals 90% quicker than one that is 'vermin-infested'. Generally, most people report they are feeling better within 7-10 days after taking this formula. This indicates immune system regeneration.

There are certain principles within Verm-X, which cause parasites, worms and liver flukes to leave the body. They leave the body alive, but sick. This is important because dead parasites can cause a healing crisis and fever, as the body tries to get rid of them. This can last for several days, literally cooking out the problem. Better to get them out alive, under their own power. Dead parasites can be more harmful than live ones.

This formula removes parasites (liver flukes and worms) from the intestinal tract, the blood, glands and organs within 4-7 days, resulting in increased energy and improved feelings of well-being. This is due to the cleansing of parasites and their debris (excretions) from the body and resulting in immunity strength returning.

We also stock the Quick Cleanse Internal Cleansing Program. This is a 2 week program. In the pack, you get 4 separate products and a specific eating program that they suggest you use while taking the products.

There are many foods that you can consume that can help to keep intestinal parasites under control. These are garlic, onions, figs, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. These foods may create an uninhabitable environment for parasites.

If you think you may be affected by a parasitic invasion, contact one of the team at Ideal Health. We would be happy to advise you as to the best course of treatment.

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The Naturopathic Team
Ideal Health

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered and is intended to be used for educational and general information purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or as a means to diagnose, treat, cure or prescribe for any particular condition or disease. You assume all responsibility for the treatment which may be undertaken as a result of the information on this site, or treatment recommended by any other party. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.

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