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What Are the Symptoms of a Parasitic Infection?

Alex Tree
Alex Tree

Parasitic infections can have hundreds of symptoms, many of which occur in just one person when given enough time. Joint and muscle pain, stomach problems, and skin conditions are a few relatively common issues that occur when a person contracts a parasite. These symptoms are often mistaken for other health conditions, like arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and allergies, because of their similarities. In addition, certain symptoms can disappear and reappear as different symptoms, because some parasites are capable of moving around in the body.

Joint and muscle pain can be symptoms of a parasitic infection, because some parasites rest in the fluids in a person’s joints. The affected joints can be in a person’s hands, feet, or just about any other jointed area of the body. This symptom is sometimes misdiagnosed as arthritis. To further the confused diagnosis, arthritis drugs can relieve the symptoms related to inflammation, but the medications do not kill the parasites. This can lead to the person neglecting to get a true cure for his or her parasites, sometimes for months or years.


The most common symptom of a parasitic infection is some type of stomach problem, for example, diarrhea, constipation, or gas. Sometimes an infected person goes through bouts where he or she is constipated and then has diarrhea. In some cases, people experience these symptoms on and off for years without a diagnosis. These symptoms can present themselves for a variety of reasons, from complete blockage of an intestine to loss of vital substances that go to the invaders rather than the body.

Itching and skin sensitivity are sometimes experienced when a person has a parasitic infection. These symptoms of a parasitic infection occur most often around moist body parts, like the eyes and genitals. This is not the most common symptom, but it is seen most often in children rather than adults. A lack of skin issues cannot rule out parasites, because some parasites do not affect the skin at all.

People rarely have no symptoms of a parasitic infection. In fact, some symptoms come and go or warp into different symptoms as the parasite moves to another area of the body. This can make diagnosis difficult, and diagnosis is already difficult because most symptoms are easily mistaken for other health conditions. Millions of people have some type of parasitic infection; not all infections are fatal or even dangerous. Parasitic infections are fairly common and happen all around the world, including developed countries.

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