Blastocystis Hominis – Information Guide

BLASTOCYSTIS HOMINIS is an intestinal parasite (specifically it is an intestinal protozoan - a one celled animal that is larger and more complex than bacteria). This organism resides in the gut wall, and is thought to gradually weave through the intestinal layers. This allows passage of food particles and intestinal secretions into the bloodstream, which sets off many undesirable and complex physiological consequences.

This parasite has become increasingly common, especially in the gastro-intestines of our children. Deficient diets, inferior gastro-intestinal ecology and overuse of antibiotics have all contributed to Blastocystis Hominis appearing as the definitive factor behind many health complaints.

The symptoms of Blastocystis Hominis infestation can present themselves in many different ways. Recurring gut pain, with or without cramping, watery diarrhoea &/or constipation, flatulence, bloatedness, nausea and vomiting are all common presentations. Headaches and lethargy are also reported. Recurrent infections and immune deficiency are also signs that Blastocystis may be present. In heavy infestations, raised eosinophil Blood Cell counts are also often observed.

In children especially, signs of irritable and fractious behaviour are often noted. Concentration and general cognitive function is compromised. Depression and anxiety may also appear. Approximately 70% of patients diagnosed with IBS (“Irritable Bowel Syndrome”) are infected with Blastocystis Hominis.

The only way to properly diagnose the presence of Blastocystis is by a CDSA (Complete Digestive Stool Analysis).A referral for this test can be sought through a GP, orHealthscope Functional Pathology referrals are available from Hummingbird Naturopathic Clinic. Healthscope Functional Pathology provides a far superior profile with important information upon all aspects of gastro-intestinal function.

Blastocystis Hominis can be transmitted several ways – via the faecal-oral route, contaminated water, poor personal hygiene and travelling tropical climates.

Pharmaceutical treatment to clear Blastocystis Hominis (usually “Flagyl”) has generally proven to be ineffective. These medications further disrupt the gut’s ecological balance, leaving it even more predisposed to deeper-set infestation.

Naturopathic treatment concentrates on restoring and strengthening the gastro-intestinal tract’s ecology and function. There are numerous herbal and homeopathic remedies that specifically expel Blastocystis from the body. Nutritional and dietary aspects are crucial. Replenishing Magnesium stores and Essential Fatty Acids is also standard protocol. Naturopathic treatment needs to be done according to individual presentation.

By JANE FEATHERSTON, Practitioner of Naturopathic Medicine.