ZocdocAnswersDo I have a parasite?

Question

Do I have a parasite?

If I have diarrhea does it mean that I have a parasite? I've had it on and off for about three weeks with no other symptoms. I'm really worried that I have a parasite.

Answer

Parasitic causes of diarrhea in the United States are possible, but they are fairly rare. They tend to occur only in those who have had recent travel outside of the country to places where diarrhea is more common, or in those who have been camping or otherwise potentially come in contact with and consumed untreated water. If one of these situations applies to you, then you certainly could have a parasitic infection as the cause of your diarrhea. On the other hand, there are many other causes of diarrhea that would need to be ruled out. For example, diarrhea is common after taking antibiotics and some other medications as well. Diarrhea could also be a symptom of irritable bowel syndrome, especially if it is just occurring on and off and is not severe. Diarrhea can also be a symptom of a more serious condition, such as celiac disease or inflammatory bowel syndrome, especially if there are other symptoms like weight loss, abdominal pain, or blood in the bowel movements. Regardless, the first step is going to be for you to get help from your primary care doctor. They can perform an examination and help begin sorting out what might be going on.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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