Common Symptoms of Intestinal Parasites: How Can I Tell if I Have One?

October 28, 2017
While we may not connect the two, some common symptoms of intestinal parasites can be a warning sign, like extreme fatigue or even an itchy nose.

Intestinal parasites are quite a bothersome problem that often come with hard-to-diagnose symptoms that very easily attributed to other common health issues, such as:

  • Digestive problems
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight loss or gain

In this article, we’ll describe all of the symptoms that will help you tell if you have an intestinal parasite.

What are intestinal parasites?

inside of intestines

Intestinal parasites are microorganisms that live in your intestines and affect your bacterial flora as well as nutrient absorption and waste removal.

The most common ones are:

  • Giardia
  • Taenia
  • Amoeba
  • Ascaris
  • Lamblia

Oftentimes, parasites that find their way into your body are removed along with waste.

However, any toxins that accumulate in your body weaken your immune system. They feed the parasites, which can then grow and cause problems in their new home.

“Check this article out: 7 Problems You Experience When You Have a Compromised Immune System”

How can I tell if I have one?

Intestinal parasites are usually hard to detect. After all, the symptoms are often confused with other health problems or just dismissed as not feeling great.

That’s why it’s important to know the warning signs your body may give you. If they persist for no apparent reason, they can help you determine the cause.

Below, we’ll go over what these symptoms are. Some of them are very common and others will really surprise you. If you have any suspicions or questions, we recommend seeing a doctor as soon as possible.

Digestive issues

One of the most common symptoms of intestinal parasites are frequent digestive problems, especially diarrhea, constipation, gas, and bloating.

The problem is that many people get these problems regularly, and they can be caused by many different things.

You should take note, though, if you’re eating well but still having problems.

Changes in appetite

We all have appetite changes for different reasons at some point or another. However, it’s also a symptom of having a parasite when your appetite increases or decreases drastically and you don’t know why.

It may come along with sudden weight loss or gain, too. You should suspect intestinal parasites if this is you.

Nervousness or irritability

Intestinal parasites are quite stressful on your body. They cause repercussions in your nervous system without you even knowing it.

It can lead to an increase in anxiety, irritability, and stress.

Some people continually experience these psychological states. However, when it’s unusual for you, look out for other possible symptoms.

It can be a significant sign in children too, where it may come out as hyperactivity. You may also see their pupils dilate.


Itching in the area surrounding your anus or other parts of your body are also a sign that you may have a parasite. It’s one of the most common ways to get a parasite, especially for kids, who may scratch without realizing it.

Having an itchy nose is also common. It’s one of the most interesting and unknown symptoms, and while it doesn’t have a scientific basis, it is something to keep in mind along with the other signs.

The explanation is in the reflexology relationship between the end of your nose and your intestines.

Chronic fatigue

Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia have just been recognized as disorders in the last decade. Each bring together a group of symptoms that are hard to diagnose because they are easily attributed to other illnesses.

The cause is still not known, but intestinal parasites could be the culprit of some people experiencing such conditions.

“Take a look at this, too: What to Eat to Naturally Fight Fatigue”

Vaginal infections

Women who often get vaginal infections should keep in mind the possibility that intestinal parasites could be what is causing these infections in their genital area.

That’s why they may be coming back even after treatment that seems effective in the short-term.

The solution is to get rid of the parasite once and for all and follow strict hygiene protocols.

  • Boorom, K. F., Smith, H., Nimri, L., Viscogliosi, E., Spanakos, G., Parkar, U., … Jones, M. S. (2008). Oh my aching gut: Irritable bowel syndrome, Blastocystis, and asymptomatic infection. Parasites and Vectors.
  • Stark, D., van Hal, S., Marriott, D., Ellis, J., & Harkness, J. (2007). Irritable bowel syndrome: A review on the role of intestinal protozoa and the importance of their detection and diagnosis. International Journal for Parasitology.
  • Robertson, L. J., Hanevik, K., Escobedo, A. A., Mørch, K., & Langeland, N. (2010). Giardiasis – why do the symptoms sometimes never stop? Trends in Parasitology.