Frequently Asked Questions

What are parasites?

An organism that uses another organism (called the host) for some aspect of its life cycle is considered a parasite. An example is the single celled protozoan Giardia. It inhabits
the intestinal tract of wild animals. Their excrement enters the water supply. Water treatment doesn’t always kill this organism so when we drink water containing this parasite it
now enters the human intestine, reproduces and causes abdominal discomfort and loose, foul smelling stools.

How many different parasites are there?

There are thousands of parasites and more are being discovered every year. Those that we know infect humans number in the hundreds.

How do I get a parasite?

It depends on the type of parasite. Some come from the bite of certain insects. Others enter through food or liquids. A few can penetrate the skin, or other body orifices when going barefoot or swimming. Pets and domesticated animals can be a source of infection.

What kind of problems do parasites cause?

Inflammation and possibly destruction of the tissues in which the particular parasite inhabits are the main problems. For example in the gut, one or more symptoms of irritable bowel such as nausea, gas, bloating, cramping, constipation or diarrhea may occur.

How do I know if I have a parasite?

Unless you see visible worms in the stool, there is no sure way to know. That is why it is important to investigate for those that are not seen. Some parasites produce microscopic eggs. Some are one-celled microscopic organisms.

Why should I use ParaWellness Research for parasite testing?

We take the time to do multiple microscopic exams with special stains and other tests on each specimen. We also test urine as well as stool. A full write-up on the findings and recommendations and access to a 50 + page reference manual is included.

What do you test for?

Parasitic organisms that may be found in stool or urine including roundworms, tapeworms, flukes, protozoa and yeast. I do not test for Lyme, co-infections, bacteria, H. pylori or viruses.

What about DNA and PCR testing?

A certain minimum number of organisms are required in order for these tests to turn positive. If positive, they may not indicate how many one is actually dealing with. I have seen organisms in my microscopic exams that were not picked up by these methods.

Can health insurance cover the cost of testing?

No. PWR, being a private health membership association and a private research program, is not considered a public medical lab. There is no reimbursement possible from commercial insurance, Medicaid or Medicare.

How long does it take to get the results?

Once your specimens are in the lab, the results are ready in 10-14 days, sometimes sooner, depending on the workload of that particular time.

How will I know that you have received my specimens?

When they arrive at our postal facility your tracking number will show they have been delivered. Two times a week we pick up the test kits and bring them to the lab at which time you will receive an email notification from us that they are in the lab. Be patient… and you will be notified when they arrive in the lab.

Will my doctor or practitioner see the report?

As a Member, once you receive your report you are free to share your report with whomever you wish. If I do not have a health care provider may I obtain the test and have the results sent to me? Yes.

May I collect specimens during menstruation? Yes.

What about testing and treatment during pregnancy or lactation?

The testing may be accomplished, but treatment must be undertaken with the developing or nursing baby in mind. Unless the infection is severe or life-threatening (which is rare) it is best to postpone treatment until pregnancy and/or lactation is completed.

If I have parasites what are my treatment options?

We encourage members to share the results with their health care practitioner and enter into a discussion of treatment options. For those without a practitioner the section on treatment options in the report will give some direction for treatment consideration.

How to I get questions answered about my report?

The first step is to thoroughly read the explanatory information provided in the report. Next consult the sections in the reference manual you have been directed to download and read. Most questions will be answered. Email is the fastest way to pose an unanswered question.

Do I need a follow up test to see if the parasites have been eliminated?

A follow up test is recommended after completion of treatment. The cost of a repeat test is $220 and includes a detailed written report with recommendations.

When should the repeat test be collected?

Generally, wait two weeks after completion of your treatment program and then collect your specimens any time after that. There is a reduced fee for a retest as long as it has not been more than 12 months from the time of your initial test.

Are there any preparations I need to make before collecting the specimens?

DIET – no foods to avoid. Coffee, tea and alcohol in moderation.

ACTIVITY – continue with what is your usual routine.

FASTING – not necessary for this test but if you are fasting that will not affect the test.

LAXATIVES – if you normally use a laxative to insure bowel movements, do continue.

ENEMAS – try to have your BM without use of an enema. If impossible otherwise, collect with an enema and indicate this on your health history form.

COLONICS – in general, wait at least 4 days after a colonic and then collect your specimens.

MEDICATIONS – avoid for one week (minimum four days) prior to collection antibiotics and antifungal medicines.  Check with your doctor about the possibility of a temporary stoppage.

SUPPLEMENTS –Those considered to be antiparasitic or antifungal should be avoided for one week prior to collection (minimum four days). As for probiotics, vitamins, minerals, etc., you may take them like you normally do.

TIMING OF COLLECTION – no advantage waiting to collect specimens at the full moon.

TEMPERATURE – avoid placing collected specimens in the refrigerator or freezer. They are preserved for two months once in the preservatives.

MOISTURE ON TOWEL – if the paper towel around the collection vials is moist, this may happen at times. If there is about an inch of preservative in the vials they are good to go.