Living With Blastocystis Hominis Parasite

For those of you who listen to my podcast, you’ll know that I haven’t been feeling well for several months now and have been digging to find out what exactly is at the root of my health issues. Two days ago, I finally got the answer I’ve been digging for and want to share my story with you.

This story starts 10 months ago and, if you know me, I’m quite the chatterbox and when my fingers get typing, they never want to stop. So it goes without saying, this story isn’t short LOL, but I wanted to share the journey I’ve been through for a few reasons:

  1. I believe writing is therapy. These past few months have been quite emotional, frustrating, and everything in between; I know that by writing out my story, I will feel that much better mentally and it will also help me learn from the journey I’m on.
  1. There’s a lot of information available on the internet and there are a lot of scary parasite stories as well as a ton of conflicting information about parasites and recovery protocols; so I want to share my version with you with hopes that I can help at least one person out there because I know how confusing, overwhelming, and lonely it can be when you receive any type of diagnosis.
  1. Lastly, by sharing my story, it helps me put the pieces of my health struggles together and make sense of the issues I’ve been experiencing for the past 10 months.

So, that means this all started back in October 2015…

I just returned from visiting Shawn in Boulder, CO and being a bridesmaid for my friend in Omaha, NE. I was gone for over two weeks and, although I had the time of my life with two of my best friends, I was happy to be back at home in Saskatoon, SK with my boyfriend. Our idea of a “special night” is to make a nice dinner at home (usually a new recipe or an old fav) and watch a movie. So, when I was finally back at home from my travels, we bought a big piece of salmon for our “date night meal”. We made a delicious meal together – salmon topped with homemade lemon caper aioli (a new recipe I created that eve) and oven roasted zucchini, carrots, and beets. I was so happy to be back at home, but soon after eating dinner I started to feel nauseous, which was followed by an entire evening of diarrhea and vomiting.

Since I got sick quite soon after eating dinner, I chalked it up as food poisoning – despite my boyfriend not being sick and having eaten the exact same thing as I did.

The following day, I continued to feel unwell. The diarrhea had stopped, but I was still nauseous and throwing up. My Mom called, as she knew I was sick, and said she didn’t think it was food poisoning and was concerned I had a parasite from the salmon. I thought that was a bit extreme, so shrugged it off.

Two days after eating the salmon, I began to feel better and forgot about being sick… until November… when I got sick again. I thought it was weird to be sick again as this was not usual for me whatsoever, but blamed it on my dinner. I had fish (not salmon) and had the same explosive diarrhea and vomiting I experienced the month prior. I suspected a seafood/fish sensitivity, but wasn’t convinced because I had seafood multiple times between then and the last time this happened, so it just didn’t make sense to me.

The next month, December, I was sitting at my boyfriends parents’ house on the eve of Christmas Eve, visiting with new friends and relatives and was suddenly hit with sweats and chills. I turned white and my boyfriends mom told me that I “didn’t look good”. I quickly ran to the washroom, had explosive diarrhea, and vomiting again.

This time, I didn’t blame it on the food I ate prior because it was nearly midnight and it had been quite a few hours since I last ate. Instead, my boyfriend and I both agreed that I caught his cold. He was sick as well, so it just made sense that I finally caught whatever bug he had.

All Christmas Eve I lied in bed, until it was time to go to my boyfriends’ grandparents’ house for dinner. I was finally feeling a bit better after taking a few shots of oregano essential oil (and resting a lot).

January came and went and then after finishing a big project in February, my boyfriend and I went out for dinner to celebrate! We just got to our car in the parking lot after eating our meal and I said to my boyfriend, “we need to go home, I’m going to be sick!” I was sweaty, chilled, and threw up the minute we got home and it continued for the entire night. Food poisoning! Yet again, I blamed it on food poisoning. And a few days after eating at that restaurant, I learnt from a friend that she heard about a few other cases of food poisoning from the exact same place! So, I was confident that I had food poisoning that night. (PS I had chicken, not fish, on that particular night if any of you were wondering)

March was an exciting month. On the 18th, we were leaving for our 2-week Barbados trip, so that was really all I could think of for the entire first half of the month. Unfortunately, this entire month was plagued with stomach pains, which got even worse the night before we left for our trip. I was throwing up again and was so worried I’d be sick during my holidays.

Luckily, the two weeks we spent in Barbados were nothing shy of perfect. I felt great the entire time we were there (and the weather was everything we wanted it to be! 30 degrees C (86 F) or higher every single day).

Since I felt so good the entire time we were in Barbados, I began to get really curious about what could be wrong with me – seeing as how I pretty much spent the entire month up until Barbados quite sick.

After reflecting back on all of the times I had been sick since October, I realized that there was a pattern – I was always in Saskatoon every time I got sick (minus the one time we were at my boyfriends’ parents’ house in December, but I was sure I had the flu that time!)

So, I decided to be extremely aware of how I felt when I got back from Barbados. If I got back home and felt sick again, I was going to start expecting that I was dealing with a mold issue in our home in Saskatoon.

When I got home after spending two weeks in Barbados, I was hit with the most extreme fatigue I had ever experienced in my entire life. Of course it could have been jet lag, but that would have only been a reasonable conclusion if my fatigue lasted a couple of days (besides, we only went through a 2 hour time change!) This fatigue that had hit me lasted for what seemed to be forever.

We returned from Barbados April 4th and for the entire month I slept at least 9 hours every single night, waking up feeling as though I hadn’t slept in weeks. Furthermore, I couldn’t even do my usual workouts. In fact, I couldn’t workout at all. I walked around my neighbourhood, if I could, but on most days I stayed at home, never leaving, because I was so fatigued.

At this point, I was sure I was dealing with mold toxicity. So, we had our home inspected and I booked my first appointment (ever) with a naturopath. I was determined to get to the bottom of my health issues, finally.

To my surprise, our air quality test came back perfect. There was nothing mold-related to be concerned about. This was great news on one hand, but not-so-great-news on the other because it meant I still didn’t have any answers to my list of health issues that seemed to be always getting longer.

At this point, my symptoms were:

– Extreme fatigue
– Nausea
– Vomiting
– Abdominal cramps
– Dizziness
– Blurred vision
– Diarrhea alternating with constipation
– Extreme hunger alternating with periods of no appetite at all
– Night sweats
– Headaches/migraines
– Joint pain
– Lowered immunity/reoccurring infections
– Brain fog
– Hormone imbalances

Since it was confirmed that I wasn’t dealing with mold toxicity, I began to explore other reasons why I could be so sick and dealing with all of the issues I had been experiencing on and off for 7 months at this point.

I ran blood work and the two areas that concerned me most were my liver enzymes (out of range high) and my white blood cell count (out of range low). It was clear my body was fighting something – but what? My medical doctor didn’t seem interested in digging into this with me, so I ran some tests for myself. I completed an adrenal hormone panel as I was sure I had stage 3 adrenal fatigue based on the extreme fatigue I was experiencing and I did a GI stool analysis, hoping for a parasite to show up.

When my results from the two tests came back in early May, I was very disappointed. My cortisol levels were not low and didn’t explain the extreme fatigue I was feeling, but the night time spike or “high” that was presented, further confirmed that my immune system was “battling something” – but what? (the reason I say this is because if your cortisol is high at night, it is likely immune system related as our immune system is most active in the evening)

The GI stool analysis also didn’t provide me with many answers. I didn’t have any bacterial or fungal overgrowth. Nor did it detect a parasite. I felt like I was back at square one again because I was almost convinced at this point that I had a parasite.

In May, June, and July my list of symptoms continued to grow, some of which I had never experienced in my life before – my abdomen was distended to the point of pain (if you didn’t know, you would have thought I was pregnant – I even have stretch marks on my belly to prove it!), I got an eye infection (further proof that my immune system was shot), my stools floated and were covered in mucus, and my vagina and anus started to itch. I knew I had a parasite.

So, I did my second stool test, knowing that parasites are difficult to detect and it often takes more than one stool test to find the bug living inside of you.

On August 2nd I got the news I have been waiting for – I have a parasite. Blastocystis Hominis, to be exact. Finally the answer to (hopefully) all of my health issues since October. For the past few months, I had a gut feeling it was a parasite, but it feels like such a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders now that I have confirmation. It’s weird to be happy about knowing I have a parasite living inside of me, but I can’t even tell you how happy I am just to have an answer. Now I can begin addressing the root cause and regaining my health again!

If you stuck with me throughout this entire story, thank you. It was really therapeutic writing this piece and I hope you can take something away from it. I’m not finished talking about parasites, yet, though. If you have any questions, please email me at megtherhn@gmail.com or leave a comment below. I’d be happy to answer your questions! I also plan to share my anti-parasite protocol with you as well as other information I gather along the way!

I know this experience is only allowing me to better myself as a nutritionist and help more people!

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22 comments on “Living With Blastocystis Hominis Parasite

  1. I HEAR you! I’ve been plagued with parasites before…especially since I travel to Nicaragua a lot where they are more rampant than in Canada. I’m very interested in hearing a more holistic approach to treatment as well! You rock girl…this is a conviction that you practice what you preach…NEVER GIVE UP! xo

  2. Thanks for sharing your story! It must be a relief to have an answer so that you can start healing and hopefully get back to living life to its fullest! I’m looking forward to hearing how the process goes.

  3. My gosh Meg, you’ve sure been through a lot. I am so grateful that you opted for that 2nd stool test. This post will definitely inspire others to not give up and keep on digging. By the way, I was with you on all of your logical explanations throughout everything you were experiencing. Great detective work!

  4. Hey Meg!
    Wow… glad you got to the bottom of it. Sounds terrible :S Get well soon!
    Just wondering – did you get the GI stool analysis from your ND?

  5. Wow, Meg! I’m sorry you’ve been sick, but I’m glad you discovered the cause! I felt like I was reading a mystery novel 😉 I agree – writing is SO therapeutic, even if it’s just short journals each day. I’m looking forward to following along and learning about your healing process!

  6. Hi Meg, thanks so much for sharing your journey with this – and for laying it out so clearly!! My mom has long suspected that I have a parasite and she also dealt with one for YEARS, doing multiple stool tests before finding some results that made sense. I’m curious if it was your GP or ND who provided the stool test? I would really like to know which mode of practitioner to go through for hopefully accurate results.

    • it was ME! 🙂 I can order these tests for myself and my clients as an RHN & Restorative Wellness Practitioner 🙂 xoxo Please email me at megtherhn@gmail.com if you’d like me to run these tests for you! Let’s get to the bottom of your issues!

  7. Meg,

    Your story is so similar to mine. I have been fighting Blastocystis Hominus for a year now. Before I tell you my story I want to start by saying I’m an extremely healthy person. I go to the gym 4 days a week, play hockey 2 times a week, golf, swim, and go on lots of hikes. The last time I was in the hospital was in 2002 for wrist surgery.
    My story all started Aug 16th, 2015 on my bachelor party in Mexico. The last day of the trip I felt extremely fatigued and had to be taken to a hospital. At the ER I got EKG testing of heart, Blood Testing, Finger-Stick Glucose, IV Fluids, Oxygen, and Physical Exam. The ER treated me for dehydration and said that I drank too much on my bachelor party. When I returned home to California I felt fine for a week and then all these symptoms came on – Extreme fatigue, Nausea, Vomiting, Abdominal cramps, Dizziness, Blurred vision, Diarrhea alternating with constipation, Night sweats, Headaches/migraines, Joint pain, Horrible Brain fog. I ended up in the ER 2 times that same week.
    The first visit Aug 23rd, I got EKG testing of Heart, Urine Testing, Blood Testing, Finger-stick glucose testing, IV fluids, physical exam. The doctor told me my WBC 11.4, AST 46, ALT 128 all on the higher side. He figured it was probably from drinking too much in Mexico on my bachelor party. Then 4 days Aug 27th all the symptoms came back and I ended up back in the ER. This time EKG testing of Heart, Urine Testing, Blood Testing, IV Fluids, Cardiac Rhythm monitoring, CT scan of Neck, Stool Test for Giardia, and Physical Exam. What they found was WBC 13.3, Neutrophils 9.8, AST 26, ALT 75, and CT C Spine – Nothing found. Given (1) Flagyl 3 times a day for 7 days to treat some sort of bacteria infection. The doctors had NO IDEA what was going on. They said I was fine, but I was far from it.
    I decided to go see a Naturopath on Aug 29th she ended up giving me Probiotic Intensive 1 x 7 days, Probiotic 20 billion 2 x daily, Renewal Greens 1 scoop daily, Recharge 2 cups daily, Hepatodoron 2 pills 3 x daily. I ended up traveling to San Diego to get married and was sick the whole wedding week on flagyl. Finally on Sep 6th I was off flagyl and it was my wedding day. I ended up back in the ER in San Diego the morning before my wedding. The hospital did EKG testing of heart, Blood Testing, Finger-Stick Glucose, IV Fluids, Physical Exam, Blood Cultures – Random Cortisol, Peripheral Blood Smear. The doctor in San Diego said I had a 1 to 2/6 systolic murmur at left and right upper sternal borders, Blood Culture – No growth 5 days, Cortisol – Before 10am 3.7-19.4 mcg/dl After 5pm – 2.9-17.3 mcg/dl, Basos Blood Test – 0.10 k/mcl, WBC, AST, and ALT normal. I was able to get through my wedding and started feeling better and decided to go on my honeymoon.
    We went to Greece for a week and on Sep 15th ended up back in the ER in Mykonos and got treated for EKG, FBC, Blood Testing, Urine Analysis, Chest X-Ray AP/LAT, Brain CT Scan, IV Fluids, IV Losec, Dynastat, primperan, stedon, Xanax 0.25mg x 3/day. This was the 5th time in an ER in a month. The doctor in Mykonos actually sent me and my wife home because I was so sick. Once I returned to states on Sep 18th I went to the ER again this time a different hospital. Doctor reviewed all my results and said everything looked normal and said to go find a primary doctor.
    Finally on October 1st I got in to meet my primary doctor. My Vitals were checked and she scheduled a visit with Neurology. That same day I got in with a Neurologist who scheduled a MRI, Checked B12, Creatine Kinase, B6, CBC + Diff, Electrolyte Panel, Creatinine Serum, With Glomerular Filtration Rate, Calculated, Bun, ALT, AST, Calcium, Magnesium Serums. The only thing off was ALT at 41. On Oct 10th I went back in to meet with my primary to review my results from my MRI which came back clear, Scheduled Treadmill Stress Test, CBC Differential, Ferritin, Iron, and TIBC. I was then prescribed Lorazepam and told I have anxiety. I could not believe they were telling me I have anxiety. I was a head sales trainer for 3 years prior to all this happening and used to give presentations to rooms full of sales reps. so me having anxiety makes no sense. The hospitals saw I was getting married and tied that to Anxiety.
    I was still so sick still, so rather than arguing I went and met with a psychiatrist assistant. Scheduled my visit with my psychiatrist on Nov 23rd and got enrolled in anxiety classes. After 3 classes and after learning more about anxiety it did not seem like the problem. Then a buddy of mine from high school started this parasite group https://www.facebook.com/groups/687433808055234/?multi_permalinks=835455493253064&notif_t=group_highlights&notif_id=1470395958016291 it opened my eyes to what was really going on.
    On November 10th I went down to the local herbs store and made my own parasite cleanse. I used Barberry, Black Walnut, Burdock, Cayenne, Cascara Sagrada, Cloves, Cramp Bark, Elecampane, Fennel, Fenugreek, Garlic, Gentian, Ginger, Hyssop, Licorice, Marshmallow Root, Milk Thistle, Pau d’ Arco, Peppermint, Psyllium, Sage, Senna, Thyme, Wormwood & Yellow Dock and took 2 of these every morning and night an hour before food. Finally on Nov 14th my first parasite came out. (I will email you photos if you would like). Then more on Nov 15th, 17th, and on Nov19th parasites and eggs (with veins on them). At this point I was convinced I had found what the problem was. On November 23rd I met with the psychiatrist and started to show him all my findings. He was also excited because we think we figured out what the problem was. After showing him all my photos he suggested going back to my primary doctor and she could give me a pill that could kill them. Man what a day, I was feeling better the doctor said I could take this pill to cure it. I thought this nightmare was almost over!
    I ended up getting in contact with my primary doctor who said to bring in the parasites for testing. I put the parasites in rubbing alcohol thinking it would preserve them. Bad idea it ended up most likely killing them. The lab told me they are able to identify the whole parasite microscopically anatomically whether it is alive or dead assuming it is intact. And that they would only be interested in live parasites anyways and those should be apparent by parasite identification. The bottom line is they need to be alive in order for the lab to see it moving under a microscope.
    The other way of testing is using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology to amplify the DNA of the parasite if there is one. This means that the parasite can actually be dead or in its dormant phase and it will be detected on this test. My hospital does not use this testing and told me there is not a commercially available PCR test for parasites in our lab or in the outside referral laboratories that we use. They also said it will not be available for 9 months. This seems crazy to me that a major hospital does not have PCR testing available but other hospitals and outside labs do.

    These are all my stool test done through hospital:

    8/27/15 stool no protozoa, no WBC; stool giardia neg
    11/17, 11/16, 11/12/15: stool parasite Identification: no parasites seen; undigested food matter observed
    12/2/15 stool C dif neg
    12/2/15 stool enteric panel PCR negative (salmonella, shigella, campylobacter, ecoli 0157, shiga toxin gene 1 and
    2).
    12/2/15 stool neg for protozoa/WBCs; stool neg for giardia
    2/20, 2/18, 2/16/16 stool helminths neg for eggs and larva
    5/6 cryptosporidia, cyclospora and isospora neg

    These are days I expelled parasites: (Photos if you want to see them)

    Nov 14th
    Nov 15th
    Nov 17th
    Nov 19th
    Nov 27th
    Nov 30th
    Dec 8th
    Jan 7th
    Jan 8th
    Jan 12th
    Feb 2nd
    March 26th
    March 27th
    March 29th
    Apr 1st

    Novemeber/December – I was starting to feel better doing this parasite cleanse. Then on Christmas Eve I got really sick all my symptoms were amplified. Come to find out these parasites can have effects around full moons. Christmas day was a full moon and that why I think I got so sick. (http://blastocystishominissymptoms.com/frequently-asked-questions-about-blastocystis-hominis) Has something to do with our bodys being made up of water and the moons gravitational pull. Parasite are also more active around full moons and release more toxins. Because they are more active you want to try to kill them around full moons. Blastocystis Hominus is notorious for blasting toxins in your body and that’s what make you feel so crappy all the time.

    January/February – I got another GI panel done from Parasitology Center PCI on Jan 20th and they ended up finding Citrobacter Freundii – often the cause of opportunistic infections mostly causing abnormal inflammatory changes in the intestinal tract. They also found Klebsiella which can be found after long antibiotic courses ie.. Flagyl. I scheduled an appointment Feb 2nd with the infectious disease specialist and was told by the hospital these are commonly found and there is nothing to worry about. Then Feb 2nd I went on the Whole30 diet. This diet changed my life! I Eat meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed. Once thing I was doing was feeding them with all the bad food I was putting in my body. I have been on this diet since and have had big boosts in my energy levels. You are also not giving the parasites a place to live and grow. I decided to go back to my naturopath and get a second opinion. She ordered a stool analysis and put me on Probiotic 20 billion, Liver – Dandelion Root/Yarrow Tea, Pill – Dandelion, Milk Thistle, Turmeric, Apple Cider Vinegar to start.

    Finally on April 21st I got the stool analysis from Genova Diagnostics showing I had heavy levels of Blastocystis Hominus. This was a great day! When I asked the hospital if I was tested for Blasto they said yes 4 times and you don’t have it. Then after showing them my lab results they said this is not a lab with well documented quality standards and I would not rely on it’s results. They also said Blastocystis can be commonly found in stool and it’s significance is uncertain as it may represent a commensal. I had every test imaginable ran, I was in Mexico got sick, and the doctors are telling me this parasite is not the cause of my sickness. Blastocystis Hominus has 9 different species are currently termed “subtypes” (STs). ST1, ST2, ST3 and ST4 are common in Europe. While ST1, ST2, and ST3 appear to have equal prevalence’s in patients with diarrhea and healthy individuals, ST4 appears to be epidemiologically linked to diarrhea and/or chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Meaning when I was in Mexico they had a different subtype then here is the states and that’s why I have been so sick.

    At this point I wanted to just get better and the hospital was refusing to treat me for this. Instead they wanted to schedule a Sigmoidoscopy, Sigmoidoscopy examines the inside of the rectum and lower colon and can reveal important diseases and detect tiny growth called polyps. Blastocystis hominis is a microscopic organism, so I did not see how a sigmoidoscopy would find it. You might be able to find it with Mucosal Scraping which they don’t do. I did not go through with the Sigmoidoscopy instead I meet with my naturopath who prescribed me Alina (nitazoxanide) 500mg for 3 days. Which I had to come out of pocket on $446 on because the hospital refused to treat me. After the 3 days I felt about 10-20% better, I knew it did something! Then over the course of 2 months I was taking oregano oil, MMS, grapefruit seed extract, gi shield, gi response and probiotics. I was finally able to get the hospital to prescribe me Alina and planned to take it on 7-19 around the full moon, it was a 7 day course of 500mg 2 times a day. After the 7 day course I’m in rebuild mode now taking innate – gi response 2 times a day, integrative – para-gard 2 caps 2x daily, innate – mens one a day 1 cap 2x daily, innate – renewal greens 1x daily, Probiotic 50-100 billion daily, Klaire Labs – Saccharomyces Boulardii 1 cap nightly, and Innate digestive enzymes 2 caps before meals 2x daily. I’m at a point now where I have killed everything in my stomach with the Alina and now I’m trying to rebuild my stomach with good bacteria. I’m still on my journey and thought I would share my story to help you find a solution for this horrible parasite. I will also send you an email.

    Summary – I still have Extreme fatigue, Nausea, Vomiting, Abdominal cramps, Dizziness, Blurred vision, Diarrhea alternating with constipation, Night sweats, Headaches/migraines, Joint pain, Horrible Brain fog. Once thing I notice is if I ever drink alcohol the next day I’m throwing up all day long. It’s like my immune system does not know what to do with this parasite. I started playing hockey again and have been trying to stay active. I would have never done any of this 6 months ago. This is not something that can be cured overnight. My naturopath said it’s going to take time, right now I’m on a 3 month stomach healing course. After 3 months we are going to determine if we need to treat with different antibiotics. Sometimes these parasites can become immune to certain antibiotics. I will update everyone in a couple months.

    I will keep you in my thoughts!

    Best of luck

    Ben.

  8. Hi Meg! I was just diagnosed with this bug as well in June 🙁 Currently I’m on Fagyl and Bactrim. I’ve been warned that this probably won’t work. I live in Canada though, and the drugs that have been more proven to work are almost impossible to get here. My biggest symptoms are severe weight loss, stomach cramps and pain, loose/undigested stools. Please do keep us informed with your steps. If you have any questions for me, please ask away. Maybe we can help each other through this 🙂

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