I am contending with a long-term intestinal roundworm infection that has ravaged my gut and left me with severe digestive problems. Iíve learned a great deal in my journey toward recovery from this strangely nightmarish condition, and much of what I have learned came from these amazing forums. I wanted to take the time to share my experiences, in the hope that this information can help others. I also wanted to extend my sincere thanks to the veterans of the parasite wars who have come before me, sharing their stories and responding to questions on these forums. Without this wealth of information, I would have been lost!
I will add a few pictures of my adversary in a separate post (since they mess up the formatting). Iíve passed hundreds of these things over the years. The longest one I have passed was over 24 inches Ė most are between 12 and 18 inches. Some come out fully intact, while others are partially digested, coming out in little pieces, or in wispy disintegrated sheets of outer worm-skin.
Without further ado, hereís what Iíve learned:
1. Donít start until youíre physically, financially, and emotionally ready to dedicate yourself to eliminating your parasites. Depending on the severity of your infection, it may take many months or even years to eliminate your parasites. Be prepared to make a long-term commitment to getting well. In my experience, starting and stopping a parasite-killing program can do more harm than good. When you discontinue treatment without finishing the job, the worms that remain become harder to kill. They also repopulate astoundingly quick.
2. Start slow! This is a marathon, not a sprint. Start with doses that you can handle without creating a huge die-off reaction, and build from there. If you go too fast you can cause serious damage to your body and this will set you back. I was heavily infected with Ascaris and went after them head-on. Dead worms were coming out in my stools every day for months. During that time, the die-off symptoms (including heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, emotional instability, deathly pallor, and sunken eyes) became so horrible that I had to stop all treatments. It took over a year for me to regain my health and good looks! And in the meantime, my parasites were repopulating in my gut. I should have gone slow and steady from the beginning.
3. Experiment and alternate treatments. Speaking from my own experience (see #4 and #5 below), I advocate a non-drug, herbal approach to killing parasites. There are many effective natural parasite-killing products available. Find what works best for you. Consider starting with a broad-spectrum product. I have used the Hulda Clark protocol, Kroegerís Wormwood Combination with Rascal, Barefoot dewormer, and Para-Gard with good effect. Start at a low dose and gradually ramp up, minding the die-off tips in #6 below. Seriously consider adding proteolytic enzymes to your program in conjunction with the herbal dewormers. The enzymes will help to break down the wormsí biofilms and weaken/digest the worms. Take the enzymes on an empty stomach with lots of water, several times a day. (If you take them with food, they will just digest your food!) Zymex II is a good enzyme that I have used. However, it can get quite expensive if you take it for a prolonged period. You could also take a bromelain and papain enzyme complex. As you become a more advanced parasite-killer, you will likely find that you must take many times the recommended dose of prepared products (Para-Gard, Barefoot, etc.) to get the job done. And that also begins to get very, very expensive! Consider taking high doses of high-potency single herbs, such as oil of oregano, olive leaf extract, Black-Walnut hull, Wormwood , garlic, etc. This is more affordable, and very effective.
4. A note about medical doctors. In my experience, you likely wonít get much help from this avenue of treatment. I told my medical doctor that I had found a worm in my stool. She was unsurprised and said this was ďcommon.Ē (I live in Northern California.) My doctor prescribed two 200mg tablets of albendazole (this is effectively a pediatric dose). After the treatment, I politely informed her that I still had worms. She wouldnít give me more medication, and instead ordered multiple stool samples, which all came back negative. I took her a nice-looking 18Ē sample worm, and the lab said it was ďtissue.Ē (Arenít worms composed of tissue too?) The doctor seems to believe that I really did have worms before I took the pediatric dose of albendazole, but now donít have worms, even though I still pass them in my stool on a regular basis. And thatís how my foray into conventional medical treatment for my worms ended Ė in the Twilight Zone.
5. A note about going rogue and buying drugs from overseas pharmacies. After the horrifying experience with die-off described in #2 left me afraid to use herbal anti- parasite products, I decided to follow ICUís drug protocol for disseminated ascaris. I bought albendazole from an Indian pharmacy and cautiously began taking it. I took one 400mg pill daily for four days. Then, a month later, I took two 400mg pills daily for four days. Everything seemed to be okay. No adverse reactions, and I still had worms, so I decided to go for it. I started the full 14 day protocol, and made it through day 10. At that point, my treatment was abruptly aborted due to catastrophic digestive problems. After a week on the treatment, I noticed my gut was getting weird. I was having stomach pains and trouble digesting foods I could normally handle. Then I woke up on the 11th day with a distended abdomen that wouldnít go away. It was worse after eating, but ever-present, even when I woke up in the morning. I looked like I was 5 or 6 months pregnant. My digestive system was in chaos. My stomach and intestines felt raw and everything I ate hurt them. No food was safe anymore. Everything caused explosive gas, bloating, and distention. There was incredible pressure in my abdomen, like I had a stack of bricks pressing on my belly all the time. After extensive medical tests (all ďnormalĒ), dietary changes, trial and error with supplements, etc., I determined that the drug treatment had pushed my fragile, worm-ravaged gut over the abyss. Maybe the drug was tainted. Or maybe it was fine, but the toxicity of the worm die-off was more than I could take. In any event, the drug treatment was very detrimental to my health, and it did not eliminate the worms. Itís now been 9 months since I finished the albendazole, and Iím still trying to fix the damage it caused. Iíve made great progress and am getting a little better each week, but I still have a somewhat distended belly and digestive distress that is much worse than before I took the drug. Admittedly, others may have different results. I donít judge those who chose the drug protocol. If it works for you, fantastic! However, due to my terrible ordeal, I do not recommend high-dose long-term illicit drug treatment to people who have vulnerable digestive systems or ďleaky gut.Ē And of course, many people who have had chronic worm infections would be in this category.
6. Manage your die-off. If youíre heavily infected, die-off will happen, and itís no joke! I had tightness in my chest, asthmatic breathing, heart palpitations, headaches, fatigue, body ache, and severe mood disturbances Ė including extreme irritability, rage, and depression. You have to learn to ride the waves of die-off, and find the right balance for your body. Some die-off for a day or two is okay. It indicates that your treatment is working, and you can take steps to mitigate it. However, if the die off becomes too severe or continues for more than a day or two and doesnít respond to the mitigation tips below, reduce your dose of herbs! Below are my tips to control/mitigate the harmful effects of die-off:
ē I found l-ornithine to be invaluable for aiding with the detoxification of ammonia from the worms. During heavy die-off I took 1,500mg twice a day on an empty stomach. As die-off decreased, I backed off the dose. The l-ornithine saved me. I could feel it helping and reducing the physical and emotional die-off symptoms within 30 minutes of taking it.
ē Keep the bowels moving! Do whatever it takes. I used lots of enemas (lukewarm purified water in a rubber enema bag). I also used senna tea as a laxative. Others have used bowel cleansing herbs. Just be sure youíre having a couple of BMs each day. During heavy die-off, I found that I felt significantly better after an enema. You donít want that toxic dead worm junk sitting in your colon and being reabsorbed into your blood! Get it out of there asap.
ē Take detox baths. Soak in a hot bath that has a few cups of Sea Salt or Epsom Salts in the water. You can also add a couple cups of baking soda to the salt water. Increase the detox effect by dry skin brushing before the bath.
ē Take good care of yourself! Eat well, drink tons of water, sleep. Take herbs/supplements that facilitate detox Ė such as detox tea. Monitor your pH and take steps to alkalinize your body (die-off creates incredible acidity). A simple way to alkalinize is to avoid acidifying foods (dairy, red meat, sugar, alcohol, etc.) and drink fresh veggie juices each day.
ē Donít simply soldier on in the face of horrifying die-off! If the die-off refuses to respond to these mitigation techniques, temporarily cut back on your dose and then work back up as your tolerance increases. Also consider taking periodic short breaks from your treatment to rest your body. For example, you could take a week off every 4 or 5 weeks.
7. Healing your gut. If youíve had a heavy or long-term infection of intestinal worms, itís likely that you have sustained significant damage to your intestines. I have been contending with severe digestive problems, including bloating, gas, abdominal distention, and inability to tolerate just about any food. Iíve made great strides to heal myself through a combination of dietary changes and extensive supplementation. I think my improvement is largely due to the synergistic action of the various supplements Iíve taken, but even so, I can identify one product that has helped the most, and that is colostrum. I noticed significant improvement in the integrity of my gut within a couple of weeks of beginning large doses of colostrum (I use the Immune Tree brand). To heal the gut, itís vital to quell inflammation, and provide the gut with the nutrition it needs to repair itself. I also found I needed to add certain nutrients in supplement form to correct deficiencies caused by long-term malabsorption. Iím going to list the products I have taken, which I believe have helped me. You should tailor the products you take to your individual needs. I have taken the following: quality probiotics (various strains), IntestiNew, aloe vera juice, intestinal soothe and build, turmeric, multivitamins, omega 3 fish oils, B complex, C, D, E, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc, CoQ10, NAC. I highly advocate utilizing whole-foods based supplements (such as the New Chapter or Garden of Lifeís Vitamin Code brands) rather than the cheaper, synthetic vitamins on the market.
8. Be persistent and keep the faith! You can get better. Having an intestinal worm infection is an incredible challenge, but you can eliminate them and get well. Remain positive and focused on your goal! If you become overwhelmed and need a break, take one. But then get right back to it!
9. How to know when the bastards are gone/switching to maintenance treatment. This is a tricky issue. I havenít quite reached the point where I know the answer. However, I have heard some good advice that I can share. First, once you have seen the last of them, keep going for another 6 months or a year before you switch to maintenance. Second, you may be able to gauge the level of your infection by your die-off experience (once you no longer get die-off with high doses of treatment, you are in the direction of being clear). I personally have a strange ďtrickĒ that I use, which never fails to let me know I am still infected. I take a high enema, and then the next time I have a BM, without fail, I pass a worm or two. Mind you, I donít flush them out during the enema Ė they come out later, the next time I have a movement. I donít know why this happens, or if this trick would also work for others who have ascaris.
Final words - as always, experiment and find what works for you. YOU are always the best judge of what is best for your body! Do lots of research and take ownership of the challenge of getting well. And of course, as you get better, share what youíve learned with others!