This is a short online book authored by a young man who moved to Oregon with his wife in 2005. Opinions expressed in this account are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of BRF or its affiliated organizations.
Blastocystis 'hominis' Hominis
A Digestive Emergency
Copyright©2008 Chris Gunnell
This article contains vivid descriptions of illness. It is thought that those who have found this article are familiar with the symptoms and will not be offended.
As a person without medical training, I do not make any medical claims. Since Blastocystis 'hominis' hominis and other illnesses are serious, the information provided here is for informative purposes only. I do not advise the following information as treatment advice. This is an account of what seems to have worked in my case.
What is Blastocystis 'hominis' hominis?
Simply put, Bh(Blastocystis 'hominis' hominis) is a waterborne parasite.
My story begins in August of 2005. My wife and I decided to move to Eugene for a faster paced life. The mistake I made was to begin drinking the water. I thought that because of the rains Oregon receives, it would have clean pure drinking water. I soon learned otherwise.
The first symptom I noticed was diarrhea. It was different from what I had experienced to that point. I would eat what I thought to be a regular meal. But no matter what I ate, I would have diarrhea, yellow watery, diarrhea. By coincidence my wife began having diarrhea. We tried eating yogurt and rye crisp crackers to get regular. The diarrhea continued.
Up to that point in my life I believed occasional diarrhea to be a normal part of life. I know now that diarrhea is not normal. It means there is something happening to cause an intestinal immune system response.
I worked at a hardware store. My breakfast, like many others, was coffee and a large muffin. Work was hard, because I felt very weak. The diarrhea continued, usually at morning.
At this point I began having, according to clinic doctors, acid reflux problems. My heart would race. I was becoming very dizzy and weak. When we arrived in Oregon I weighed 190 pounds. Within the time span of a month, I began losing weight at the rate of about a pound a day. The diarrhea was continuing. I had noticed, by this point that it had an odor different than what I thought "poop" should smell like.
I tried taking antacids like Tums and Maalox and they actually seemed to create more burning. The first time I went to the emergency room. The doctor prescribed Zantac at 150 milligrams. That was an experience. My heart raced, I felt dizzy and weak, and could not do anything. My weight loss began to make me so weak, I would shake.
The doctors recommended that I increase the dosage of Zantac to 300 milligrams. I began having pains that radiated from my chest to my arm. I did not want to have a heart attack to remedy the acid so I stopped the Zantac.
My body was absorbing little of what I ate because of the diarrhea. I became dizzy and weak enough not to work. My supervisor at work said they were letting me go because of poor performance.
For the next six months, I existed. Weakness, dizziness, and pain, kept me in bed most of the time. My stomach had pain much of the time, sharp pains, what felt like poking. There was and itching feeling within my stomach. I was very sensitive to heat. The shower had to be lukewarm. That summer I had to remain indoors because of the hot weather. My skin on my back would itch from any heat.
During this time at home, I no longer worked. I shook and felt anxiety. Since I was homebound I would visit the library and look for books about digestive disorders, and quickly return home. I got a huge break when I came across the book "Dangerous Grains" by Ron Hoggan. It is a very good book about grain and gluten. Many of the symptoms of celiac disease (a biological allergy to wheat gluten) were what I was experiencing. I immediately stopped eating wheat products.
It was a test at first, since I had no alternatives. I know now that it would not be a complete solution but it gave needed relief. My weight was then 160 pounds. I was very happy to regain some strength, after a month of losing a pound a day. That was when my weight stabilized. I no longer had anymore acid problems.
For a period of time I had to eat some food about every two hours or less. I found that I would begin shaking if I went too long without food. I would stumble to the kitchen with difficulty. Even washing dishes to cook was a great effort.
It was a time of trial and error. I drank tap water up until deep into illness, and then I finally drank only distilled water. Some foods would send me into a weakened bedridden state.
I searched for relief. The doctors wanted to do an endoscopy and colonoscopy. I agreed. They found nothing "unusual". I was tested for celiac disease and gluten allergies and tested negative. The pains remained and I continued to complain. I was also displaying symptoms of anxiety and depression, as would be expected from someone with an unexplained illness. Surprising to me, no further interest was shown by the gastroenterologist in treating me. He referred me to a general practitioner.
It is very concerning to be undiagnosed by someone "specializing" in intestinal disorders.
The doctor I saw immediately said I had irritable bowel syndrome. He gave a very fast diagnosis without even an examination, sitting in a chair, typing at his computer. He prescribed a bowel relaxer/anti-depressant. I explained about the pains and how I wanted to treat the cause of my illness, not just the symptoms. What he suggested was not going to work for me, so I told him that I would not take his anti-depressant and walked out.
I remained on a gluten free diet. I was able to get out of the house and the major distressing symptoms were more even. After some months I was able to work again.
It was difficult to find inexpensive foods that were genuinely gluten-free. Also, although I had great improvement in my general bad state, I would still have attacks of diarrhea. This I found to come fromjuices and fruits. I drank cranberry juice only to have increasingly bad symptoms. Oranges produced a bad stomachache along with blood in my stools.
Honey, watermelon, or anything sweet would produce similar symptoms. I finally decided to cut all unnecessary sugars from my diet.
I had come a great distance but still did not know the source of my problems. I searched the internet and found a story on the KVAL-TV, Eugene, Oregon, website about Ken Boorom who suffered from an intestinal parasite called Blastocystis 'hominis' hominis. It was an exact match to my illness.
My search had ended. But the journey continues. After dealing with physicians, and their inability to give an accurate diagnosis, I have been able to manage this illness on my own up to this point. I have since learned that many of their medications treat only the symptoms, such as acid reflux.
Zantac, and other medications can contain gluten, and create a number of intense reactions and side effects that elevate the crisis. I have learned that doctors are quick to prescribe anti-depressants. They may provide some relief to some individuals but they do not get to the core of the problem.
The most manageable system I have used to keep Blastocystis 'hominis' under control uses three different approaches. First, I avoid all gluten containing products. This gives relief from diarrhea and skin problems. But it also relieves mental effects such as anxiety, "panic attacks", nightmares, and insomnia. Second, sugar had to be limited in all of its forms. Third, I do a monthly cleanse with Paragon from Renew Life products.
My life changed dramatically in a short period of time. I was quickly bedridden and unable to work. I had a diarrhea that was draining my life out of me. I ate, but was absorbing little. Ron Hoggan's book "Dangerous Grains" probably saved my life. If I had not stopped eating gluten my health may have deteriorated to complete hospitalization or worse.
I don't think I am completely cured of Blastocystis 'hominis' hominis, but I am in a better position to manage my health and live better.
I can only guess how many others suffer from varying degrees of the same illness. There is an ominous hint to be in a public restroom stall, only to hear the person next to you grunt, followed by loud dropping liquid and splashing, and then they exhale as if they are exhausted. To see people that are extremely skinny, even though they eat a lot, is not the same anymore. What about those who are overweight? Could their body be storing all available fat to compensate for the body's feeling of starvation of valuable vitamins? What percentage of the population is homebound, anxious and afraid to step out the door? How many mental institutions hold inaccurately diagnosed individuals expressing extreme mental affects due to Blastocystis 'hominis' hominis?