How parasites are diagnosed

You know something is not right – you’re feeling off. You may have gut issues, mood or memory problems, headaches, pain, stiffness, or neurological symptoms (tingling, numbness, spasms, paralysis). Or maybe you were diagnosed with a disease like MS.

Could parasites be causing the horrible symptoms that you are dealing with? Absolutely!

Unfortunately it is difficult for doctors to diagnose parasites, because of poor testing and the common misconception that we don’t have to worry about parasites in developed, Western countries.

What is a parasite?

A parasite is any organism that needs a host for food and/or a safe place to reproduce. Main classes of parasites that cause disease in humans are fungi, bacteria, protozoa, ectoparasites (fleas, lice), and worms.

Fungus: molds and yeasts such as Aspergillus and Candida. There are hundreds of strains that can cause disease in humans.

Bacteria: Borrelia, salmonella, cholera, small pox.

Protozoa: single celled organisms like ameba, giardia, plasmodium, cryptosporidium, Babesia.

Helminths: these are worms, including flatworms, roundworms, and tapeworms. They come in many shapes and sizes, from microscopic to at least 30 ft in length.

Common symptoms of parasites:

  • skin bumps or rashes
  • weight loss, increased appetite, or both
  • abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting
  • sleeping problems
  • anemia
  • aches and pains
  • allergies
  • weakness and general feeling unwell
  • fever

How parasites are diagnosed:

If you’re worried that you’re dealing with parasites, the first step is to make an appointment with a health care practitioner; either a medical or integrative doctor.

Once you share your symptoms, your doctor will order tests based on signs and symptoms, medical conditions, and travel history. Unfortunately, today’s doctors have not been trained to recognize or treat parasites and the tests are poor, often resulting in a false negative.

But the truth is that parasites are all around us. They are in the soil, our food and our water and we can even become infected from our pets or other people. We deworm our pets but we do not treat ourselves for parasites.

Types of testing

1. MD orders a stool test:

If your MD suspects parasites they will usually order a fecal or stool test, which is not sensitive. They are looking for eggs or the parasite itself, and will usually only examine watery or loose stool.

Some labs have more experience than others or use various tests for the same parasite. Therefore, your health care provider may have more than one lab look at a sample if the suspicion of a parasitic infection is strong.

2. MD orders a blood test:

i) Serology blood test – looking for antibodies or antigens specific to the parasite.

ii) Look at a blood smear – for filariasis, malaria or babesiosis. A drop of blood is placed on a slide, stained and examined under a microscope.

3. MD orders an X-ray, MRI scan, and/or CAT scan:

These tests are used to look for parasitic diseases that can cause lesions in the organs.

This is interesting because if parasites can cause lesions in organs, could they also cause lesions in the central nervous system of people who suffer with multiple sclerosis? The answer is yes, and Dr. MacDonald’s ground-breaking research has shown this to be true.

4. Colonoscopy and/or endoscopy:

During an endoscopy, a fibre-optic cable with a camera at the end is inserted into the mouth, down the esophagus, through the stomach, and then into the small intestine. An endoscopy can find parasites that are large enough to see with the naked eye, and are present in the small intestine.

For a colonoscopy, a fibre-optic cable with a camera at the end is inserted up the rectum, and into the colon or large intestine. A colonoscopy can find parasites in the colon that are large enough to see without magnification.

5. Comprehensive stool analysis:

This tests for anaerobic and aerobic bacteria, small protozoa parasites, certain types of fungi, etc. The downside of this test is that it misses the large parasites that are infecting us with bacteria and protozoa.

6. Urine tests:

Measure metabolites/toxins produced by the parasites.

7. DNA testing:

Identifies parasites on their unique sequence the DNA found in any bodily fluid. Unfortunately, the genetic (DNA) code of many disease-causing parasites have not yet been identified, and therefore will not show on a test result.

8. Energy testing:

Otherwise known as muscle testing, this is currently the most helpful parasitic diagnostic tool. Instead of trying to identify the parasites that we are infected with, the practitioner identifies the treatments that balance or strengthen us – the treatment that is most effective for the parasite(s) we are dealing with.


It is extremely difficult to detect parasites and properly diagnose them. The tests mentioned above can possibly detect parasite eggs or round worms, hookworms, whip worms, intestinal flukes and tape worms if they are large enough, but they are often missed.

Unfortunately most often parasites are missed because:

  • Many worms spend part of their life cycle outside of the intestines.
  • Depends on the part of the life cycle. Adults or eggs may be present.
  • Tests miss the microscopic parasites, not seen with the naked eye.
  • Doctors are not trained to recognize and treat parasitic infestations.
  • In many countries practitioners are not allowed to treat parasites unless there is a positive stool test.
  • The tests are poor – not sensitive enough or the parasite is not present in the sample, often resulting in false negatives.
  • Practitioners have never prescribed anti-parasitic drugs before and are not comfortable treating parasites.

The best approach for diagnosing parasites is to consider symptoms, health history, health conditions, and energy testing results from a practitioner who has experience in detecting and treating parasitic infestations.

To learn more about how parasites are diagnosed, please watch my video below and share it with anyone who may find it helpful!

Author Pam Bartha

Clinically diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 28, Pam chose an alternative approach to recovery. Now decades later and still symptom free, she coaches others on how to treat the root cause of chronic disease, using a holistic approach. She can teach you how, too.

Pam is the author of Become a Wellness Champion and founder of Live Disease Free. She is a wellness expert, coach and speaker.

The Live Disease Free Academy has helped hundreds of Wellness Champions in over 15 countries take charge of their health and experience profound improvements in their life.

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