Intestinal worms

An Overview

Intestinal worms are parasites that can affect both adults and children, though they are more prevalent in children. There are several types of stomach or intestinal worms. Intestinal worms can cause many symptoms in the body, some of which are similar to the symptoms of other gut disorders. A quick and thorough diagnosis is crucial in each case to avoid complications. The most common types are roundworms, threadworms, pinworms, hookworms, tapeworms and giardia. Intestinal worms enter the body through the skin, nose and also through the ingestion of contaminated food or water. They then breed in the digestive tract and cause a number of unpleasant symptoms.

Types of worms:

  • Tape warm
  • Flukes
  • Hook worms
  • Pin worms
  • Trichinosis round worms

Symptoms for Intestinal worms

The symptoms you could have included:

  • abdominal pain
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • loss of appetite
  • general weakness
  • Irritability
  • diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
  • Swelling of face
  • Exhaustion
  • an upset stomach
  • Constant feelings of hunger
  • gas/bloating
  • fatigue
  • Increased feelings of anxiety and nervousness
  • unexplained weight loss
  • Intestinal worm in their stool
  • Itching around the rectum or vulva (caused by pin worms and thread worms)
  • abdominal pain or tenderness
  • Weakness or pain in the legs (caused by giardia)

Causes of Intestinal Worms

One way to become infected with intestinal worms is eating undercooked meat from an infected animal, such as a cow, pig or fish. Other possible causes leading to intestinal worm infection include. Intestinal worms are found all over the world but are more prevalent in tropical and sub-tropical areas. The monsoons increase the chances of a worm infestation as well. Other possible causes of intestinal worms are:

  • Dirty or unhygienically prepared food
  • poor hygiene
  • Contaminated water
  • Dirty fingernails may also spread the infestation
  • consumption of contaminated water
  • Undercooked meats or flesh foods
  • contact with contaminated feces
  • A sluggish digestive system that provides a perfect place for the worms to breed
  • Unhealthy eating habits and diet
  • poor sanitation
  • Some worms may enter the body through bare feet if the person walks on earth that is infected
  • Traveling to places known to have parasites (such as developing countries with poor sanitary conditions)
  • Contact with contaminated soil and feces.
  • unsanitary living conditions
  • Weak immune system
  • Exposure to livestock that have been affected with worm

Diagnosis and Treatment

A blood test can be used to detect some types of parasites in the blood. A tape test involves placing clear tape around the anus. The tape can be examined under a microscope for the presence of pinworms or their eggs.

Although intestinal worms sound a bit frightening, treatment is often straightforward. Your health care provider will choose the most effective form of medication / treatment depending on the type of intestinal parasite. Ensure that you take the medication exactly as prescribed or the treatment may not work. The course of medication may be for a few days or for several weeks depending on the extent of the infestation.  In some cases, the person may not need any treatment at all. A healthy immune system may be sufficient to manage some types of tapeworm without the need for medication. Common treatments for a roundworm infection include mebendazole (Vermox, Emverm) and albendazole (Albenza). However, depending on the type of intestinal worm infection, one may require treatment with an antiphrastic medication. Your doctor will most likely take and analyze another stool sample after treatment is complete to see if the worms have disappeared.

Prevention

To prevent intestinal worms, regularly wash your hands with soap and hot water before and after using the toilet and before preparing or eating foods. One of the more important aspects of prevention is basic sanitation. For instance, people should always wash their hands both before and after using the toilet to avoid possible exposure. Washing the hands before cooking or handling food is also crucial.

  • Avoid raw fish and meat.
  • Drink only filtered or boiled water especially during the rainy season.
  • Thoroughly cook meat to temperatures of at least 145°F (62.8°C) for whole cuts of meat and 160°F (71°C) for ground meat and poultry.
  • Use separate cutting boards for meats and vegetables.
  • De-worm your pets regularly.
  • Let cooked meat rest for three minutes before carving or consuming.
  • Only use clean water.
  • Freeze fish or meat to –4°F (–20°C) for at least 24 hours.
  • Maintain high levels of personal hygiene – Wash your hands before eating, after using the toilet and when cooking. Wash your hands after touching or playing with your pets as well.
  • Ensure that cooked fish reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.
  • Wash, peel or cook all raw fruits and vegetables.
  • If one person in your family is diagnosed with intestinal worms, it is recommended that de-worming medications be prescribed for the rest of your family as well.
  • Avoid swimming in sources of unclean water or walking barefoot in areas where contamination with fecal matter is possible.
  • Drink only boiled water.
  • Wash or reheat any food that falls on the floor.

 Remedies for Intestinal Worms

In addition to conventional medical treatments, there are a number of natural cures that may help get rid of intestinal worms. While the efficacy of these remedies has not been scientifically tested, many of them have been used since ancient times to cure worm infestations. Consult with your doctor before trying any of these home remedies:

  • One of the best home remedies to deal with intense itching around the rectum caused by intestinal worms is garlic. Simply make a paste with raw ground garlic and a pinch of Vaseline. Apply this around the anal region to kill the eggs and lessen the itchiness.
  • Raw garlic has strong anti-fungal and antiseptic properties and eating three cloves of raw garlic a day is also said to help get rid of all types of intestinal worms. While this may help to some extent it should be treated with skepticism.
  • Carrot has certain vitamins, minerals and organic compounds that are deadly for the eggs of intestinal worms and carrots happen to contain many of these.
  • A tablespoon of grated fresh coconut in the morning with breakfast. You can repeat this process every day until the infestation disappears.
  • Neem is widely known as a cure-all for countless different conditions, and it is particularly effective against parasitic worms.
  • Unripe papaya contains an enzyme called papain that helps destroy roundworms. Drink a tablespoon of unripe papaya juice mixed with an equal quantity of honey and hot water. Have this mixture first thing in the morning on an empty stomach to destroy the worms.
  • Popping a few handfuls of pumpkin seeds every day can be an effective way to eliminate the parasitic infection. An infusion of ground pumpkin seeds and water can help to expel tapeworms.
  • Wormwood is a powerful herb that has been used since ancient times to treat intestinal worms. Drink a concoction of wormwood oil and olive oil to get rid of worms or you could use wormwood oil and water as an enema and get rid of worms in the rectum.

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