Balantidiasis – causes, side effects and treatments at NaturalPedia.com

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 by

Balantidiasis is an infectious disease that is rare in western countries. It is caused by Balantidium coli, a single-celled parasite (or ciliate protozoan) that is often linked to intestinal infection in areas associated with pig rearing.

Symptoms of balantidiasis may be confused with those linked to other infections that cause intestinal inflammation, such as amoebic dysentery. The bacterium can even invade the lungs or other extra-intestinal organs, but this rarely happens. Balantidiasis is often treated with metronidazole.

Known side effects of balantidiasis

Individuals diagnosed with balantidiasis may experience the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea (watery, bloody, mucoid)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • Headache
  • Mild colitis
  • Fever
  • Severe and marked fluid loss (resembling amebic dysentery)
  • Dysenteric syndrome

Some of these symptoms (e.g. prolonged diarrhea) can cause dehydration.

Risk factors for balantidiasis include contact with pigs, handling fertilizer contaminated with pig excrement, and living in areas where the water supply is contaminated with the excrement of infected animals. Poor nutrition, achlorhydria (the absence of hydrochloric acid in the gastric secretions), alcoholism, and immunosuppression are some of the contributing factors of the disease.

Body systems harmed by balantidiasis

Balantidium coli infects the large intestine in humans. The parasite then produces infective microscopic cysts that are passed in the feces, which can eventually cause re-infection or the infection of others. People who are immune-compromised are the most susceptible to the signs and symptoms mentioned above. If left untreated, perforation of the colon can occur in individuals with balantidiasis.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent balantidiasis

The following foods and nutrients can kill parasites like Balantidium coli:

  • Papaya seeds  Papaya seeds also have anti-parasitic qualities. Their effectiveness has been attributed to the breakdown of parasites by an enzyme in papaya seeds known as papain. Papaya seeds, which have a bitter taste, are best eaten with honey.
  • Berries – Various berries have often been used as traditional remedies for intestinal parasites, and their effectiveness is attributed to polyphenols or chemicals found in all plants.
  • Probiotics – Foods such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut contain probiotics or live bacteria/yeasts with health benefits.
  • Garlic – Garlic, or Allium sativum, has various culinary and medicinal benefits. Folk healers have often used garlic to treat intestinal infestations.
  • Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables – Foods high in vitamin C and antioxidants can prevent intestinal parasites. Some vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables include citrus fruits, tomatoes, bell peppers, strawberries, and broccoli. Meanwhile, fruits and vegetables full of antioxidants include blueberries, figs, cherries, squash, carrots, beets, and spinach. Eating these fruits and vegetables will boost the overall health of your gastrointestinal system, which can reduce the risk of infestation.

Treatments, management plans for balantidiasis

There are no existing immunization procedures or medications that can prevent balantidiasis. Take note that even people who have had the disease can become reinfected. Prevention requires effective personal and community hygiene. To prevent balantidiasis, follow the tips listed below:

  • Purify drinking water through purified by filtering, boiling, or treatment with iodine.
  • Handle food properly. Cover food to protect it from contamination by flies, cook food properly, wash your hands after using the bathroom and before cooking or eating, and avoid foods that cannot be cooked or peeled when traveling in countries with high rates of balantidiasis.
  • Dispose of human feces carefully.
  • Monitor the contacts of balantidiasis patients. Test the stools of family members and sexual partners of patients for the presence of cysts or trophozoites.

Where to learn more

Summary

Balantidiasis is an infectious disease caused by Balantidium coli, a single-celled parasite linked to intestinal infection in areas associated with pig rearing.

Patients with balantidiasis may experience abdominal tenderness, fever, and prolonged diarrhea.

Balantidium coli infects the large intestine in humans. The parasite then produces infective microscopic cysts that are passed in the feces, which can eventually cause re-infection or the infection of others.

 

Sources include:

RareDiseases.Info.NIH.gov

EMedicine.Medscape.com

CDC.gov

Livestrong.com 1

Livestrong.com 2

Medical-Dictionary.TheFreeDictionary.com



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