Worrying about your unexplained weight gain or loss is troubling enough. It can become downright disgusting when you start thinking about parasites being the root of your problems! However, if you do have a parasite infection in your body, it's important to find out early so it can be treated. Depending on which type of parasite you may have and how it's working, weight gain or loss could be the first sign of a parasite infection.
How Parasites Can Cause Weight Gain
If you eat healthily and exercise on a regular basis, parasites could counteract all your hard work and cause you to gain weight. In some cases, they eat the nutrients your body needs to process food properly. This leaves your body running sluggishly and inefficiently.
Parasites can also cause food backups in your body, leading to constipation. Unfortunately, this side effect can lead to weight gain as food stops moving through your body. Constipation is particularly common if you have a large parasite in your body that is sizable enough to block off your intestines.
If you've noticed that you constantly feel tired or weak, a parasite may be to blame. Some worms live on the intestines, taking nutrient-filled blood from your body. When this occurs enough, anemia can result, and with it comes the tiredness that leaves you unable or unwilling to exercise.
How Parasites Can Cause Weight Loss
Rapid, unexplained weight loss can be very dangerous. If you haven't changed your diet or exercise plan and you're still losing more weight than you're accustomed to, a parasite could be doing the damage.
Some parasites cause diarrhea because of the hormones they carry. The resulting diarrhea tends to increase in frequency and amount as the parasite takes its toll on your body. You'll notice this due to the discomfort of constantly using the restroom as well as the resulting dehydration.
Parasites often feed on whatever you're eating. In fact, many actually prefer certain types of foods. If a parasite inside you is large enough or fast enough to match your food consumption, it could be leeching all of your fat and nutrients before they can even be processed by your body. In this case, it doesn't matter how much you eat. The parasite will continue to feed off of what you're eating and eventually move onto your energy stores and cause you to lose weight.
Preventing Parasites in Your Body
If you've already become the victim of a parasite infection, talk to your doctor immediately. In the future, take some precautions to keep parasites from bothering you again. Wash your hands frequently, especially after dealing with human or animal waste. Don't walk around barefoot outside and be sure to clean all produce before you eat it. By following these simple steps, you can avoid a parasite infestation. If you've noticed any of the above symptoms in conjunction with sudden weight gain or loss, talk to a doctor as soon as possible to keep yourself healthy and safe.