Blastocystis hominis is a microscopic parasite sometimes found in the stools of healthy people as well as in the stools of those who have diarrhea, abdominal pain or other gastrointestinal problems. Infection with blastocystis is called blastocystosis.
Researchers don't yet fully understand the role that blastocystis plays, if any, in causing an infection. Certain subtypes of blastocystis may be more likely to cause symptomatic infection, or may pose a risk only when combined with other types of infection. In some cases, blastocystis simply resides in the digestive tract without causing harm.
There are no proven treatments for blastocystosis, and the infection usually clears up on its own. However, if signs and symptoms don't improve, your doctor may recommend trying medications.
Jan. 25, 2013
- Coyle CM, et al. Blastocystis: To treat or not to treat... Clinical Practice. 2012;54:105.
- Blastocystis spp. Frequently asked questions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/blastocystis/faqs.html. Accessed Oct. 5, 2012.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Oct. 5, 2012.
- Zhang X, et al. In vitro culture of Blastocystis hominis in three liquid media and its usefulness in the diagnosis of blastocystosis. International Journal of Infectious Diseases. In press. Accessed Oct. 5, 2012.
- Leder K, et al. Blastocystis species. www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Oct. 5, 2012.
- Oral rehydration solutions: Made at home. Rehydration Project. http://rehydrate.org/solutions/homemade.htm. Accessed Oct. 5, 2012.
- Travelers' diarrhea. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/travelersdiarrhea_g.htm. Accessed Oct. 5, 2012.
- Backer HD. Water disinfection for travelers. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2012/chapter-2-the-pre-travel-consultation/water-disinfection-for-travelers.htm. Accessed Oct. 6, 2012.
- Watson JC, et al. Food and water precautions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2012/chapter-2-the-pre-travel-consultation/food-and-water-precautions.htm. Accessed Oct. 6, 2012.
- Handwashing: Clean hands save lives. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/. Accessed Oct. 6, 2012.
- Steckelberg JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 24, 2012.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.