Claudia Machado Cooke, MD, FACP, MPH  |  Health Through Understanding

Parasites

Parasites were little known to average Americans and little spoken of until recent years. However, as we have become increasingly globalized, a new spectrum of organisms have found their way to our lives, dinner tables, and our homes. Giardia and amoeba were the 2 parasitic organisms most commonly encountered, though infrequently, in the US.

Testing for parasites is done typically through blood and stool specimens. However, testing methods are notoriously inaccurate. Subtle elements of the medical history and of conventional lab studies may provide tip-offs of parasitic infection.

Dr. Cooke utilizes conventional diagnostics and also uses specialty laboratories. However, once again, it must be stressed that the history is the most critical element leading to the diagnosis. A skillful application of antibiotics and probiotics, botanical remedies, and dietary modification will typically bring the patient to a cure. One young lady had suffered for over 10 years with a periodic diarrhea following foreign travel. She had seen numerous specialists over the years who dismissed her as having irritable bowel. However, the history revealed two critical elements: a regular periodicity to her bouts of diarrhea; and nocturnal awakening with the need to defecate. Both of these features are virtually ringers for parasitic infection. Following 2 short courses of antibiotics with probiotic support she was permanently rid of her bouts of diarrhea for over 3 years until the time of this writing.