Health problems caused by Blastocystis hominis infection

Blastocystis hominis
Blastocystis hominis

Blastocystis hominis infection is caused by a microscopic parasite of the same name, capable of producing a number of intestinal disorders.Blastocystis hominis can be reached both from the faeces of healthy individuals and of the sufferers of diarrhea, abdominal pain or gastrointestinal disorders. Taxonomy and pathogenicity of Blastocystis hominis infection have not yet been elucidated by specialists.In general, Blastocystis hominis infection heal itself. Doctors can administer medication, in rare cases in which signs and symptoms subside.


In the past, Blastocystis hominis was considered a harmless parasite, a microscopic single-celled organism that is found often in the gastrointestinal tract and helps the body to maintain optimal immunity. Subsequently, it was found that certain types of Blastocystis hominis infections can cause symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea.While many people bearing Blastocystis hominis no signs or symptoms, the organism was often found in analyzes of patients with gastrointestinal disorders, but in the company of other parasites.For this reason, researchers can not determine with certainty whether the parasite causing the infection itself or a mere observer of disorders caused by other microorganisms.
Experts believe that it is possible for some people to be mere carriers of protozorului, without clinical manifestations, while others are more likely to develop infections because of him.
Blastocystis hominis may reach the intestinal tract through oral-fecal contact, as happens when a person does not wash their hands after using the toilet and eat or prepare food in unhygienic conditions.
Medical experts have noticed the spread of infections with Blastocystis hominis in environments with poor sanitary conditions or patients who do not care about personal hygiene as it should.

A lot of patients who identified the elimination of Blastocystis hominis in stool no symptoms whatsoever. Among them, a careful evaluation may identify other bacteria, viruses and protozoa that are likely causes of digestive disorders.
Other patients experiencing diarrhea and associated bowel symptoms, of which the most important are

Specialized medical examination is required three days after the symptoms persist and show no signs of improvement. Possible complications are loss of vital fluids, salt and minerals, which increases the danger of dehydration. Children may have the most to suffer from this phenomenon.

Since there is a great deal of uncertainty on Blastocystis hominis parasite pathogenicity and specific treatment is not effective and not every time, patients with troublesome bowel symptoms should seek a medical examination to determine other infectious etiologies of diarrhea. Medical tests are usually performed

  • Fecal exam. The test aims to identify the parasites and their eggs that may cause gastrointestinal symptoms.
  • Endoscopy. In the presence of symptoms and the lack of identification of microorganisms after performing fecal exam, the doctor may use endoscopy, which involves inserting a tube about esophagus or rectum to detect the exact cause of the infection.
  • Blood. Although blood tests can identify protozorul Blastocystis hominis, it may be necessary to exclude the possibility of contamination with other parasites or to eliminate other possible causes of symptoms.

If symptoms have disappeared or are mild Blastocystis hominis infection does not require specific treatment, because it heals itself by abundant hydration and rest. If clinical manifestations do not improve within a few days, your doctor may prescribe medication.
When the diarrhea symptoms associated with Blastocystis are evident, it can be used in therapy with metronidazole (750 mg, 3 per day for 10 days) or iodochinol (650 mg, 3 per day for 20 days).
Other drugs prescribed Blastocystis hominis infections can be a combination of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim or nitazoxanide.
Unfortunately, the response to treatment vary widely from one patient to another. Because symptoms may have other causes than protozorul Blastocystis hominis, improving health can be attributed to the effects of drugs on other microorganisms that cause infection.

Blastocystis life cycle

Blastocystis life cycle
Blastocystis life cycle

Blastocystis hominis infection can be prevented, as in other gastrointestinal infections by taking some extra precautions in trips made ​​to destinations at high risk of infection.

  • Pay attention to what you eat. If you can not cook, bake or peel food, remove it. Do not buy food from vendors, do not drink unpasteurized milk or dairy, refused food kept at room temperature windows and choose fruits that you can peel (bananas, oranges, avocados and so on). Avoid salads and fruits that can not peel, like grapes or berries.
  • Drink water with caution. Do not drink tap water or springs, only bottled water or boiled for 3 minutes and cooled. Decline ice cubes, ice cream and other foods that could be prepared from contaminated water.
  • Swimming in hygienic areas. Do not enter rivers which do not know they are safe for the body.
  • Brush your teeth with bottled water. Even if you do not swallow the water was not purified properly can become infected with Blastocystis hominis while brushing teeth.
  • Fresh hot drink. Make sure the tea, coffee and other beverages will be served steaming.
  • Wash your hands frequently. Hand hygiene with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and before handling food, is essential in preventing gastrointestinal infections.
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