Blastocystis Hominis & Dientamoeba Fragilis

Rarely routinely tested for in the UK. Not only contracted in the tropics but also in the UK.

Blastocystis Hominis/Parasites test

What is Blastocystis Hominis and Dientamoeba Fragilis?

Blastocystis Hominis and Dientamoeba Fragilis are microscopic parasites which are discovered in the stools and can infect the digestive tract. Although 5-10% of the population have these parasites but are symptom-free, it is diagnosed in up to 40% of people who suffer with irritable bowel and/or chronic fatigue.

Symptoms of Blastocystis Hominis and Dientamoeba Fragilis

Many of those infected are carriers without any symptoms, the parasites simply reside in the digestive tract without causing any harm.
However, these parasites can cause symptoms such as diarrhoea/constipation, mushy stools, nausea, abdominal pain, cramps, bloating and flatulence. Other less frequently reported symptoms include fever, bloody stools, vomiting, headache, itching, weight-loss, chronic fatigue, depression, and non-specific gastrointestinal symptoms. Many patients presenting with these symptoms are often for many years, misdiagnosed as suffering with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

How do you get Blastocystis Hominis or Dientamoeba Fragilis?

Blastocystis Hominis and Dientamoeba Fragilis are found throughout the world, although more common in less developed countries where hygiene and sanitation is not adequate.  How it is transmitted is not known for certain.  The risk of infection may increase through ingesting contaminated food or water and/or exposure to animals.

How can Blastocystis Hominis and Dientamoeba Fragilis be diagnosed?

The detection of these parasites is difficult because they disintegrate promptly after they leave the intestine.  Therefore, it is essential that the stool sample is placed immediately in a special fixative.  In the UK there are only a few laboratories equipped to detect them, with more in Europe and the USA.  The test is thorough.  As these parasites are rather elusive, we, at Allergy Medical UK, recommend that three samples are taken for greater accuracy. stool test done for my daughter. It is now clear for all parasites [...] Her appetite has improved, she seems more comfortable with foods, she no longer reacts to wheat and dairy. She no longer complains of tummy aches or itchy bottom. She seems to have grown too.  E.S. Midlands

Treatment for Blastocystis Hominis and Dietamoeba Fragilis

A number of common antibiotics available in the UK are used for the treatment of BH, including Flagyl (metronidazole), Erythromycin or Doxycycline but these single drugs have a high failure rate.  Some patients have also tried a herbal remedy, Oil of Oregano, which is known to have significant effects on harmful micro-organisms.  However, in our experience at Allergy Medical UK, the most successful treatment is that developed by Professor Borody at the Centre of Digestive Disorders in Australia.  This is a combination of three drugs.   We also advise on how to safeguard a healthy gut while taking the medication and how to deal with any side effects. 

To Dr. Econs and his wonderful staff, words alone can't express my gratitude. Between my parasite treatment and my new found eating plan, I feel better than I have in years!  A.S. USA


Can Blastocystis Hominis and Dientamoeba Fragilis be cured?

Doctors are always reluctant to talk about “cures”.  We recommend that, on completion of the course of treatment, a stool test is repeated.  Our audits show that 80% of patients see a clearance of Blastocystis Hominis with the first course of treatment.  Dientamoeba Fragilis is easier to eradicate and 90% of patients see a clearance with the first course.  For some patients the parasites are resistant and the first course does not totally eradicate them.  In this case a second or third course of various combinations of drugs are used.  Subsequent treatments usually show a clearance of the parasites and resolution of the symptoms.  
According to our audits, after eradication 70% of clients report various degrees of response or clearance of symptoms.  30%, despite the test results showing a clearance of the parasites, experience no changes to their symptoms.  People with known food intolerance may underestimate its role in causing chronic abdominal symptoms, so Allergy Medical UK believe it is important that this problem is also addressed.

How to prevent getting Blastocystis Hominis or Dientamoeba Fragilis

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water after using the toilet and before handling food.
  • Teach children the importance of washing hands to prevent infection.
  • Avoid water or food that may be contaminated.
  • Wash and peel all raw vegetables and fruits before eating.

When traveling in countries where the water supply may be unsafe, only drink boiled tap water or canned or bottled carbonated drinks and make sure uncooked foods are washed with boiled tap water.

How can we help you?

Identifying the root cause.

  • Evaluate your symptoms and guide you as to what are the most appropriate tests.
  • Recommend the most suitable medications and remain accessible for advice throughout your treatment.
  • Deal with any associated problems or treatment complications.

Specialist tips and notes

Blastocystis and/or Dientamoeba are found in up to 30% of people suffering with irritable bowel.  5% of the general population carry these parasites but are unaware of their presence.

Eradication of protozoan parasites is possible by means of suitable anti-parasitic medications.

Sometimes the parasites cause no symptoms.

Related blog posts