Flukes are a type of flat worm that have suckers on the outside of them that they use to attach to organs. They are not that dissimilar to leeches. There are around 70 different varieties of parasitic flukes that can be contracted and will make themselves at home in your intestinal tract.

Humans can contract a fluke parasite by eating foods or plants that are contaminated. Once ingested, the flukes make their way through the digestive tract and latch on once they reach the intestines. They can also inhabit the lungs, or more rarely, the liver.

Flukes that attach themselves to the intestinal walls cause symptoms like abdominal pain, inflammation, and ulcers. They can also cause vitamin deficiencies or prevent the body from absorbing minerals. Weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, gas, bloating, and loose bowels are also signs of a fluke infection. Some may experience swelling of the face and stomach.

Fluke Parasites

High Resolution Image of Fluke Parasite (Schistosomiasis)

Flukes do not discriminate against age, race, or gender. Anyone can become infected by a fluke, but they are more prevalent in Asia and Africa. Those who travel to these areas should take extra caution when consuming food and water. Purified bottled water is the safest to drink, and never eat undercooked food or fish when abroad.

If you suspect you may have a fluke-related infection, a parasite cleanse can rid your body of the parasite and you can begin to heal. The positive side about cleansing your body is that relief from bothersome symptoms begins almost instantly once the parasite leaves the body.

Often, people are unsure if they have a parasitic infection or not. While it’s true that parasitic infections cause symptoms that are common to other conditions, typically they can be cleared up with medications or treatments recommended by doctors. When your symptoms are persistent and do not clear up with the typical remedies, it’s wise to consider the source may be a parasite.

To prevent spreading an infection and recontamination, treat everyone in the household at the same time. It’s essential to practice good hygiene. Washing hands after each trip to the bathroom, keeping camping gear and drinking vessels clean when abroad, and exercising caution when consuming seafood are all ways to protect you from contracting a fluke.

Image provided by Miami University.