Blastocystosis is the name given to infection with Blastocystis hominis, a common microscopic parasitic organism found throughout the world.
Blastocystis hominis is a protozoan
microorganism which may or may not cause disease in people. In a study published in 1988, 11 people with this organism in their stools who had diarrhea-like symptoms were studied. In each of them another explanation for their symptoms was found and there was no relationship between the patient's symptoms, treatment for B. hominis
, and the clearing of the organism from the stool samples. Those authors reviewed other reports and concluded there was no convincing proof that this organism caused disease in humans. Whether this is true in individuals who have some type of immunodeficiency is less clear.
Causes and Development
Symptoms may be caused by infection with other parasitic
, or viruses. Often, B. hominis
is found along with other such organisms that are more likely to be the cause of symptoms.
How Blastocystis is transmitted is not known, although the number of people infected seems to increase in areas where sanitation and personal hygiene is inadequate. The oral-fecal route is suspected, and it has been called 'the hippie disease', because it is more likely to occur in crowded and unsanitary conditions.
Signs and Symptoms
Many people have Blastocystis without ever having symptoms. Anyone who has gastro-intestinal, allergic, skin or immune problems which seem to come and go, on and off, without making much sense, should suspect that he or she may have Blastocystis hominis
. The reason for this is that Blastocystis hominis
attacks the body and creates trouble when you're under stress or weakened. The moment your body picks up a little, it may not be able to affect you.
Treatment and Prevention
Blastocystis is difficult to eradicate. It hides in the intestinal mucus, sticks and holds on very hard to your intestinal membranes, making elimination very difficult. Several approaches are necessary in order to eliminate blastocystis. These treatments can be used in combination, but may need to be rotated, as one agent taken for a prolonged period may cause resistance to develop. Try introducing a new agent at least every week. In this way, the blastocystis will be less likely tot build up an immunity to any of the selected items.
Conventional doctors may recommend Flagyl, although resistance has been encountered.
Blastocystis can remain in the intestines for weeks, months, or years. Some patients with this organism in their stools who have symptoms improve with no treatment at all.