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Intestinal worms: causes, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Roundworms refer to an infection caused by the intestine’s presence of parasites ( Enterobius vermicularis), also known as pinworms, which is why this condition is medically called “pinworm.” This parasitosis is characterized by wonderful white worms in the large intestine that, among other symptoms, can cause intense itching and irritation in the skin around the anus. Although it can affect anyone and is easily spread, it is much more common in children of school age, especially those between 5 and 14 years old. To avoid contagion, appropriate treatment must be started. And extreme, above all, personal hygiene measures during the duration of the infection. In this FastlyHealarticle, we explain in detail what are the causes, symptoms, and treatment of pinworms and oxiuriasis.

Causes of pinworms

A person suffers from pinworms or pinworms when they involuntarily ingest the microscopic eggs of these parasites, which can be found on the nails of infected people, as well as on objects that they have previously touched with their hands.

These eggs, first, arrive and lodge in the small intestine, and it is there where the larvae hatch, which later moves to the intense bulk, which is in the organ where they develop into adult worms. These are small and white with a length that oscillates around 1 centimeter. In addition to this, female worms reproduce after about two months and lay their eggs on the margins of the anus., adhering to the skin in that area and causing discomforts such as irritation and itching. Given these symptoms, the affected person needs to scratch the rectal area, and consequently, self-infection or spread occurs since the infectious eggs remain on the hands or nails and can be carried to the mouth or other objects. Often, these types of parasites can spread to other people in the following ways:

  • The affected person does not wash their hands after going to the bathroom or scratching the anus directly.
  • Microscopic worm eggs can be found on the infected person’s clothing or sheets, on the fingers, and later to other household objects.
  • If they are in the air, Eggs can be inhaled or lodged in food and later ingested.

Once known how this infestation occurs, it is convenient also to point out which are the factors that can increase the chances of suffering from it, and these are the ones that we detail below:

  • Reside in a highly-populated area.
  • Inadequate personal care and hygiene habits.
  • Overcrowding
  • Warm climates
  • Frequent or live in closed institutions.
  • Being in a family in which a member has this infection.

Symptoms of pinworms

In many cases, people who have acquired intestinal worms have no symptoms, or they are so mild that they are not aware of the presence of these parasites in their bodies. However, when they do appear, symptoms such as the following may be experienced :

  • Anal itching or itching is usually more intense at night.
  • Irritability, difficulty sleeping, and restless sleep result from the last symptom.
  • Irritation and infection of the skin around the anus due to nail damage caused by scratching the area.
  • In the case of girls and women, itching and discomfort in the vaginal area may be experienced if there are parasites near the genital region.
  • Only when the infection is severe or severe can the person experience nervousness, loss of appetite, or weight loss.

Treatment for pinworms

Given the manifestation of the above symptoms or the suspicion of suffering from oxyuriasis, it is essential to go to the doctor for a thorough physical examination and start the appropriate treatment if the diagnosis is confirmed. In the case of intestinal worms, the specialist will prescribe an oral antiparasitic drug, which is indicated to kill adult parasites with a single dose; however, to destroy the eggs, the second dose of this drug will be necessary after about two weeks of the first. As it is an easily contagious condition, it may be required for everyone who lives with the affected person to receive treatment.

In addition to timely medication, several steps can be taken to alleviate symptoms and prevent reinfection or the spread of pinworms:

  • Wash the year’s area and the genitals at least once a day, preferably in the shower, with lukewarm water and a mild, pH-neutral gel.
  • Do sitz baths with warm water of the rectal area for about 20 or 30 minutes about 3 or 4 times throughout the day.
  • Avoid scratching the anus and genitals so that the skin does not become irritated and infected.
  • Unless they have just been washed, try to keep your hands away from your mouth and nose.
  • Wash your hands in case of anal scratching, working under the nails, like this before each meal, after changing diapers, etc.
  • Keep nails short and clean.
  • Change and wash sheets, towels, and underwear that the infested person has used frequently. They should be washed in hot water separately from other clothes.
  • Avoid shaking the clothes used by the affected person so that the eggs do not get into the air or other places in the home.
  • Clean and disinfect the toilets in the home to prevent possible infections.

Complications of pinworms

Even though pinworm is not by itself a problematic condition, and with proper treatment, it can be successfully fought, on some occasions, there may be complications that should be the reason for urgent medical consultation; these are:

  • Infections in the skin around the anus due to frequent and repetitive scratching.
  • In young women, infections in the intimate area such as vulvovaginitis, conditions in the endometrium, or the fallopian tubes can arise in an associated way.
  • Urine infections or cystitis may also appear.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Intestinal worms: causes, symptoms, and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Digestive System category .

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