Parasites in the human liver
The liver performs a large number of functions in the human body that ensure its vital activity. Parasites in the liver lead to serious complications, metabolic disorders, and in advanced cases - to death. Unfortunately, the liver is often a target for colonization by helminths and protozoa. This is due to the peculiarities of its structure, high intensity of blood supply, the presence of nutrients to ensure the life of parasites.
- What parasites live in the liver?
- Symptoms of parasites in the liver
- Treatment of parasites in the liver
What parasites live in the liver?
Most often, parasites in the liver appear due to non-observance of basic hygiene rules, the use of food and water contaminated with helminths, contact with animals - carriers of a parasitic infection.
Types of liver parasites:
Amoeba. These protozoa enter the liver through the portal vein from the intestine with the blood stream. They cause amebiasis, the manifestations of which are damage to hepatocytes, malnutrition of cells, and the formation of hepatic blood clots. Complications - hepatic abscess, hepatic hepatitis.
- Giardia. This kind of microscopic protozoa parasitizes in the human digestive system, lungs, and may end up in the brain. According to medical statistics, every fifth inhabitant on our planet is a carrier or a patient with giardiasis. The insidiousness of this disease is that, under unfavorable conditions, lamblia can become covered with a keratin membrane, forming cysts, and remain in this state for several years. Cause complications such as inflammation of the liver and gallbladder (hepatitis and cholecystitis).
- Ascaris. Round helminths enter the liver from the intestines through the nipple of the Vater, portal vein, and bile ducts. Most often they are found in the common bile duct, less often in the liver ducts. Ascaris damage to the liver is diagnosed by chance, during surgery. Parasites provoke liver abscesses that break into the peritoneal cavity, as well as hepatitis, cholangitis, cholecystitis.
- Echinococcus. A tape parasite that appears in the human body after ingestion of its eggs from animal hair or after ingestion of soil particles from dirty vegetables and fruits. It is a sphere in which the head with the neck and segments of the parasite develop in the liquid. The accumulation of cysts is an alveolar form of echinococcosis. Such helminth colonies can exist for up to 10 years, constantly growing and putting pressure on nearby tissues and organs. The toxins secreted by the cysts of echinococcus negatively affect the liver, causing complications such as hepatitis, obstructive jaundice, ascites, and allergies.
Alveococcus. Tape helminth, similar in lifestyle and consequences for the body to echinococcus. A person becomes infected with oncospheres (eggs) of alveococcus when in contact with wool, meat of wild and domestic animals, when eating mushrooms, berries, water, herbs, seeded with helminths. Oncospheres enter the liver with blood flow through the portal vein. In it, a multi-chamber cyst is formed - a larvocyst. This growth has continued for several years. During this time, the liver undergoes structural changes: its blood circulation is disrupted, the hepatic vessels suffer. The consequences of alveococcosis are obstructive jaundice, liver necrosis, hepatitis.
- Cat or Siberian fluke. This leaf-shaped flat helminth causes opisthorchiasis, enters the body along with infected fish, molluscs or upon contact with a sick person. The liver hardens, abscesses appear on it. Complications of opisthorchiasis - liver cirrhosis, purulent cholecystitis, peritonitis, hepatomegaly (organ enlargement).
- Schistosoma. The flat parasite enters through contact with the carrier of the disease, through contaminated water. It can be implanted through contact with the skin, and spread throughout the circulatory system throughout the body. In the liver, it causes bleeding, liver failure, and can be fatal.
Leishmania. These protozoa enter the body with mosquito bites, from where they are carried to all organs. They live inside cells, with a latent course of leishmaniasis, they can hardly manifest themselves with significant symptoms. In liver tissues, its cells (hepatocytes) are replaced with fibrous tissue. There are foci of necrosis, tissue inflammation (hepatitis).
Symptoms of parasites in the liver
Symptoms of parasites in the liver depend on the type of parasite, the stage of the disease, and the duration of the invasion. There are both general and disease-specific symptoms.
Manifestations common to hepatic helminthiasis:
- Feeling of weakness, increased fatigue;
- Headache due to intoxication;
- Decrease in the intensity of mental processes (memory, attention);
- Sleep disorders (insomnia, drowsiness);
- Alternating diarrhea and constipation.
Symptoms of amebiasis:
- Fever, low-grade fever;
- Enlarged liver, tenderness to palpation;
- Pain radiating to the right shoulder;
- Leukocytosis, eosinophilia.
- Pallor of the facial skin in combination with a normal level of hemoglobin;
- Peeling, cracks and dryness of the border of the lips;
- "Marble nose" in case of mass intoxication;
- Uneven skin coloration (from brick red to light yellow);
- Vomiting and diarrhea;
- Bitterness in the mouth;
- Mood swings;
- Decreased appetite;
- Weight loss, decreased immunity.
- Allergic urticaria, diarrhea caused by the immune response to toxin poisoning;
- Dull aching pain under the right rib;
- Obstructive jaundice (yellowing of the sclera of the eyes, skin).
Symptoms of ascariasis with liver damage with this type of helminth may be very weak or not manifest at all. Diagnosed with increased fatigue, allergic urticaria, alternating periods of poor appetite with a kind of gluttony.
Symptoms of opisthorchiasis:
- Severe pain in the muscles of the limbs;
- Swelling of facial tissues;
- Hyperthermia up to 40 ° C;
- Enlarged liver;
- Attacks of pain in the right hypochondrium;
Symptoms of schistosomiasis:
- Abdominal pain;
- Puffiness and rash on the skin;
- Diarrhea mixed with blood and mucus;
- Nausea and vomiting.
Symptoms of alveococcosis:
- Constant pain in the liver and in the epigastric region;
- Detection of a dense knot on palpation;
- Belching, nausea, vomiting;
- Intense greenish jaundice, itching of the limbs.
Diagnosis of helminthiasis is carried out in addition to studying the symptoms and anamnesis of the patient by conducting blood tests, serological reactions to antibodies to each type of parasite.
Treatment of parasites in the liver
Treatment of parasites in the liver is carried out exclusively under the guidance of an infectious disease doctor or helminthologist. The use of anthelmintic drugs has its own characteristics - with an incorrectly calculated dosage, the parasites do not die, but migrate to other organs, sometimes atypical habitats for them. With a massive invasion, a huge number of dead helminths simply poison the body with decay products, can cause blockage of vital organs, respiratory tract, intestinal lumen, provoke suffocation, and death.
Treatment of echinococcosis, alveococcosis is carried out only by surgery, since huge cysts and larvocysts cannot be removed with the help of medicines. Too low a dose of the drug will lead to the transition of the disease into a chronic form with a long-term course, the transition of some helminths to the form of cysts.
Anthelmintic drugs for the liver:
- A universal broad-spectrum agent: Albendazole, Praziquantel, Mebendazole - treatment of ascariasis, opisthorchiasis, schistosomiasis;
- Pirantel, Piperazine, Levomizol - treatment of ascariasis;
- Trichopolum, Tinidazole, Furazolidone - treatment of giardiasis;
- Hiniofon, Enteroseptol, Ambilgar, Dehydroemetin - treatment of amebiasis.
The next stage after anthelmintic therapy is the restoration of liver tissue. For these purposes, hepatoprotectors, enterosorbents are used. Good results are obtained by adhering to a diet, optimal alternation of sleep and rest. To reduce the risk of liver damage by helminths, it is enough to observe hygiene measures, wash vegetables and fruits, and observe the norms for heat treatment of products.
Author of the article: Danilova Tatyana Vyacheslavovna | Infectionist
Education: in 2008 received a diploma in General Medicine (General Medicine) at the Pirogov Russian Research Medical University. Immediately passed an internship and received a diploma of a therapist