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How do I Choose the Best Parasite Treatment?

By S. Gonzales
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Choosing the best parasite treatment is usually a matter of understanding the contours of your condition and researching the available options. Different parasites often respond in different ways, which means that something that works for one person may not necessarily work for another. There are also usually many options, from intensive pharmaceutical drugs to natural and at-home remedies. Your decision will probably be driven in part by availability, as well as cost; how quickly different treatments can bring relief and any possible side effects will probably also be part of the equation. When in doubt, it’s usually a good idea to visit a medical expert. Though these visits can be costly, in the case of rare parasites or extensive infections they can also be life-saving.

Understand Your Parasite

There are many different types of parasites that people can contract. Most work in similar ways, namely by inhabiting the digestive tract and slowly siphoning off nutrients, but they typically respond to medication and eradication treatments slightly differently. For this reason it’s really important to understand the specifics of your suffering before you start any sort of treatment.

Sometimes you’ll be able to self-diagnose if you know where you contracted the parasite, or if someone close to you has similar symptoms and already has a positive diagnosis. Otherwise it may take a bit of research. Many parasites are acquired during travel or from contaminated food or water, but they can sometimes live in your body for months or even years in a dormant status, then suddenly start regenerating and causing trouble. If you aren’t sure what you’re dealing with the best thing to do is usually to get an official medical diagnosis, either from your medical care provider or a clinic or hospital; barring that, you can often make a good guess by documenting your symptoms and checking them against medical fact sheets and data, many of which are available in libraries and online.

Learn About the Options

It’s also a good idea to think about the different parasite treatment options and assess your comfort with each. In most cases you’ll have a few choices, and deciding which is best is often more about what works for your lifestyle, condition, and budget as opposed to what is truly superior. Many doctors will prescribe antibiotics or other intensive drug regimens, though there are also usually a number of home-based and herbal remedies that can get good results for most infections.

Pharmaceutical and Drug-Based Treatments

Drug treatments are some of the most common, in part because they are tend to be the most effective. They also tend to be expensive, however, and are usually only available in consultation with a licensed medical practitioner. These sorts of treatments are usually tailored to the infected individual and to the specific parasite at issue. For example, mebendazole has been determined to treat hookworm, roundworm and pinworm infections successfully. Thiabendazole is generally considered to be the best treatment for porkworms and threadworms, and a combination cocktail of metronidazole and nitazoxanide can treat giardiasis infections. The latter can also rid the body of cryptosporidiosis infections. Most of these drugs will work for most parasitic infestations, but medical experts can dose them in such a way that they will be very targeted, which can lessen the amount of time you’ll have to take them and can prevent spreading the parasite to others in the meantime.

Drug treatments usually have to be taken completely, which means that you’ll need to keep taking your pills or injections even once you feel better. You will also usually need to make regular check-up appointments with your care provider so that he or she can monitor the parasite’s progress and make sure it’s gone for good. This can take a lot of time and energy, not to mention expense.

Natural Remedies

You might also decide that natural remedies are the best course for you, at least at first. Herbal and at-home treatments can be just as effective as their conventional counterparts when it comes to killing parasites, though in most cases these methods focus on starving out the parasites rather than killing them with chemicals. Eating foods like garlic, apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper just before and just after meals can create a hostile intestinal environment, for example; other things, like pumpkin seeds, pomegranate juice, cinnamon, and probiotic yogurt can also change the chemical balance in the digestive tract so as to kill the parasite more or less naturally. You usually will need to eat a lot of these types of foods and supplements, but in the right quantities you might get good results.

Participating in what’s known as an intestinal cleanse might also be a good choice. Herbs such as wormwood, black hull nut, and cloves are some of the most important ingredients in any parasite cleanse, and people are usually encouraged to eat these either raw or infused in a tea for a number of days on end. Most of the time you’ll want to severely curtail the other foods you eat, focusing on complex proteins that are difficult to break down and digest. You should usually eliminate simple carbohydrates and sugars, which can provide the parasite with quick energy and growth potential. Cleanses can take awhile, and the results are less certain; still, in many cases they can be quite successful.

When to Get Help

Natural remedies are usually most effective for minor infections or for parasites that are small and relatively immature. Large-scale growths or problems that have been going on for a really long time usually require professional medical intervention. If you sense that you’re getting worse on an at-home care plan or don’t see any change after a month or so of continuous efforts, it’s usually a good idea to get professional help. Parasites can be really serious, particularly if they’re rare or mutated. It’s hard to know these things at the beginning, but getting help as soon as you suspect a more serious problem can make a huge difference.

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Discussion Comments
By anon359209 — On Dec 15, 2013

Anon 138445 should go to a doctor right away and ask to see a specialist who deals with tropical diseases. A good naturopath could probably help as well.

By indemnifyme — On Jul 22, 2012

I think it's definitely important to finish the course of whatever human parasite treatment method you choose. Just like antibiotics, if you stop before you're done taking the medication, it won't solve the problem. In fact, it will just make it worse!

I know when you stop taking antibiotics before your course is done, it just leaves all the strong bacteria. I imagine it might be the same way for parasite treatment too.

By Monika — On Jul 21, 2012

@eidetic - It's easy to say people should go to the doctor, but if you don't have insurance, it can be extremely expensive. Even if they are willing to give you a bit of a discount for paying cash, going to the doctor can still be pricey. And then you have to worry about paying for the medications!

I can totally understand why someone would want to choose a natural treatment first. Natural treatments are usually safer, and sometimes have fewer side effects than conventional medicines.

If it was me, I would probably try the natural way first and then go to the doctor for conventional parasitic worms treatment if it didn't work.

By eidetic — On Jul 21, 2012

I think that even if you don't have health insurance, visiting a doctor for intestinal parasite treatment is probably a good idea. I'm all for using natural remedies for minor problems, but parasites aren't exactly a minor problem.

They can multiply, and spread throughout your body. I think some parasites are even life threatening! If I had one, I would want to use a conventional treatment that I knew would work quickly. I wouldn't want to mess around when it comes to parasites in my body.

Also, sometimes when you don't have insurance, you can find a doctor who will work with you and give you a discount if you pay cash. It's always worth asking!

By bluedolphin — On Jul 21, 2012

I've heard that jaggery is a good stomach parasite treatment. But I've never tried it so I don't know if it works.

Like garlic and cloves, I think cinnamon and ginger have anti-bacterial, anti-viral properties too. I wonder if these would help get rid of parasites as well?

By the way, I have friends and relatives who have tried both tea tree oil and neem oil for skin parasites (like ringworm) and these cured what topical ointments and oral antibiotics couldn't. My aunt picked up ringworm while traveling and she used three trials of antibiotics for it. It would seem to go away at first but always returned after she finished the antibiotics. Applying tea tree oil topically got rid of it for good.

By ysmina — On Jul 20, 2012

My son, who was five year old then, was constantly complaining of anal itching a couple of years ago. I learned that this is one of the symptoms of a parasitic infection and started searching for home remedies.

I'm not against using prescription drugs. But I know that the drugs for parasites can also end up killing good bacteria in the digestive system. So I wanted to try some safe home remedies first and if that didn't work, then I can go for allopathic treatments.

First I wanted to try garlic which is said to be extremely effective at killing parasites. But getting a five year old to eat garlic is not easy. Then I heard about black walnut tincture. People who have used this say it's very effective and similar to wormwood. I found the tincture at an all natural store and diluted it with water. My son was able to drink this without problems and after a week, he stopped complaining about the itching.

I should mention that I diluted the tincture a lot, much more than suggested. Children are really sensitive so I wanted to make sure I didn't use too much. No matter how safe natural parasite treatments may appear to be, I still think of them as medicine and use them cautiously.

By stoneMason — On Jul 20, 2012

@anon138445-- My mom treated my brother and I with pumpkin seeds when we got worms as children. She fed us pumpkin seeds with the shells for a couple of weeks. Apparently, this kills all parasites.

Eating shelled pumpkin seeds can be hard though. You can crush them and mix them with other foods to make it easier to eat.

If this doesn't work, then you should see a doctor for parasitic treatment. Some parasites are really hard to get rid of and can grow and multiply really quickly. If you happen to have that kind and you delay treatment, you might even have to have surgery to remove the parasites. So it's best to act fast and use prescription drugs if you need to.

By anon138445 — On Jan 01, 2011

Well, i just feel really sick and i need to know if i have a parasite. can you please help me. by the way i went to egypt and ate the cheap falafel on the roadside. what should i do?

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