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  1. Parasitic infections in the gastro-intestinal tract are common. Eighty percent of North Americans harbour one or more parasites. It is so wide-spread because of international travel, immigration, contamination of the water and food supply, use of daycare centres, household pets, antibiotic use and chemical contamination. Giardia and pinworms are the two most common intestinal parasites.

    Intestinal parasites cause illness by competing with the host for nutrients and secreting waste products that cause allergic and autoimmune reactions.

    Parasitic infections in the digestive tract can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms look similar to other abdominal illnesses. Common symptoms include appetite changes, abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea and stool changes. Dehydration may occur due to the diarrhea. If the infection is long-term weight loss, malnourishment and chronic digestive problems manifest.

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