Be Aware of the Symptoms and Treatment for Pinworm Infections


Pinworm Infection

Pinworm infections are the most common type of intestinal worm infection in the United States. In fact, it is reported that there are about 40 million people in the U.S. that are affected by pinworms. The infections develop in the large intestine and in the anal areas. The parasites in humans responsible for pinworm infections are called pinworms.

The Life Cycle of Pinworms

Pinworms are small, white, thread-like worms that live in the human intestine. They are contracted by swallowing pinworm eggs. The eggs are too small to notice with the naked eye; therefore anybody can swallow the eggs without realizing it. After swallowing, the eggs are then moved to the small intestine where they can hatch and develop into larvae. Once the larvae reach maturity within 2-6 weeks, they move into the large intestine to live. The adult female pinworms, on the other hand, will travel through the rectum to the person’s outer anus. They will lay eggs in there and then travel back to the large intestine. After the eggs hatch, they will also travel through the person’s anus to reunite with the other pinworms living in the large intestine.

Pinworm Infection Symptoms

The intestinal parasites known as pinworms can greatly affect school-age children – especially preschoolers. That might be because these children are much more prone to eat anything that is given to or found by them. Their curiosity as well as eating too many foods off the street can lead to an ingestion of pinworm eggs. Adults are also susceptible to pinworm infection – especially mothers of children who are currently infected. Mothers might touch the eggs while caring for their children and then hands that are contaminated can touch the mouth area allowing the eggs to enter the body. Sexual activity of adults – especially the oral sex – can also cause pinworm infections.

The most common symptom of a pinworm infection is severe itching around the anus or vagina. Less common symptoms range from an upset stomach to loss of appetite, irritability, restlessness, and insomnia. Of course, who can get enough sleep if you can’t help but scratch your anus area because of the intense itching? The symptoms of pinworm infections usually occur when the female pinworm is laying its eggs in the anus.

Pinworm Treatment

Pinworms in humans are easy to diagnose. If you suspect you might have a pinworm infection, an adhesive tape or pinworm paddle will be attached to your anal area. The eggs or the female pinworm itself will adhere to the sticky tape. Then with the use of a microscope doctors can identify the presence of pinworms. The test is sometimes known as the “scotch tape test”, and the test should be done before the individual takes a bath or has a bowel movement. Such activity may remove the eggs and pinworm most readily available while allowing parasites further inside the body to escape detection temporarily.

The usual and most common treatment for pinworm infections is one tablet of Mebendazole. This treatment can be repeated after a week – especially if itching still persists. Some clinics would recommend a treatment protocol of 3 weeks/3 times so the person has effective treatment for a total of 9 weeks. Though pinworm infections can be treated at home, disinfection measures should begin as soon as the treatment begins in order for you and your family to totally get rid of the pinworms.

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