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While human waste, sometimes called "stool," always contains a small amount of mucus, an excessive amount of mucus can indicate a problem. Cause for excess mucus can range from a gastrointestinal disorder, such as Crohn's disease, to cancer. A patient experiencing excess mucus in his stools should consult a doctor to find out the cause, but the symptoms can also be caused by a parasite infection.
A protozoa is a single-celled organism that can reproduce in the human body, causing serious illness. Common examples of protozoa are giardia, a microscopic organism that grows in the small intestine, and cryptosporidium. Aside from excessive mucus in the stool, protozoa infections can also cause symptoms that include diarrhoea, bloating, vomiting and abdominal pain.
A helminth is a parasite with many cells, commonly referred to as a worm. Examples of helminths that can infect humans and cause excessive mucus in the stool include roundworms, tapeworms and pinworms. In contrast to protozoa, a helminth in its adult form cannot reproduce inside the human body. In addition to excess or bloody mucus in the stool, helminthes can also cause fatigue and weight loss. A person infected may also see a worm pass in his stool.
Parasites that infect humans causing excessive mucus and other symptoms are typically acquired via contact with infected excrement or water supplies. Hikers and campers can be particularly susceptible if they drink from untreated water sources while engaged in those activities. Travellers to foreign countries may also be at a higher risk, due to lower standards of water sanitation. You might also be more susceptible to infection if your immune system is compromised by illness or age.
Traditional medical treatments are available and may include a single dose or up to two to three weeks of treatment, depending on the cause. In addition, natural remedies can be used to help make the intestinal environment inhospitable for the parasite. Suggestions include high doses of Vitamin C, as tolerated; increased fibre intake; increased water intake; and reduction of simple carbohydrates.
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