Gastrointestinal Parasites

Also known as: intestinal parasites including tapeworms, roundworms and protozoa.

What are gastrointestinal parasites?

When the gastrointestinal tract, most often the intestine, is infected by a parasite, this is often referred to as gastrointestinal parasites. If not treated some parasites may linger for many years and cause long term problems.

What causes gastrointestinal parasites? 

The common types of gastrointestinal parasites include tapeworms, roundworms and protozoa. People can get infected with intestinal parasites by eating contaminated food or water or by coming in contact with contaminated soil.

Risk factors for gastrointestinal parasites include:

  • international travel
  • poor sanitation
  • poor hygiene
  • living or visiting an area known to have parasites
  • weakened immune system
  • exposure to child and institutional care centers
  • age

What are the symptoms of gastrointestinal parasites? 

Many gastrointestinal parasites can live in the intestines for many years without causing any symptoms. Some of the symptoms they may cause include: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, bloating, fatigue, weight loss and other symptoms.

What are gastrointestinal parasites care options?

Medications are typically effective at eliminating gastrointestinal parasites and returning the patient to health.

Reviewed by: Carolina Sanchez-Vegas, MD

This page was last updated on: November 18, 2021 11:36 AM

Infectious Diseases

The Division of Infectious Diseases at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital uses state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to identify acute or chronic viral and bacterial diseases, so that we can treat it effectively as quickly as possible.

Learn More