For Quick Alerts
For Daily Alerts

What Are Intestinal Worms? Types, Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis And Treatments

Intestinal worms or parasitic worms are organisms that reside in the human intestines and feed off in the human body. The main species of worms that cause the parasitic infestations are pinworms, roundworms (Ascaris lumbricoides), tapeworms (Cestoda), hookworms (Necator americanus) and flatworms (Platyhelminthes) that can find tier way into people in many ways. [1]

Intestinal worms can lower the quality of life and cause significant mortality. Te infestations of parasitic worms are spread throughout the world and are widely prevalent in countries with poor sanitation and poverty.

In this article, we will discuss details on intestinal worms. Take a look.

All About Ringworm: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatments And Prevention

Types Of Intestinal Worms

  1. Pinworms: They are mainly contracted through infected objects like towels, bedding and clothing. When people touch these objects and then touch their mouths, the worms pass to the intestines and spread.
  2. Tapeworms (Cestoda): The main cause of tapeworm is drinking contaminated water and eating raw or undercooked meats such as pork or beef. Tapeworms attach themselves to the intestines, grow to their adult form, and releases eggs in human and spread. [2]
  3. Roundworms (Ascaris lumbricoides): They are mainly transmitted when a healthy adult comes in contact with infected faeces or maintains poor hygiene. Studies say that roundworms infestations can cause more than 60,000 deaths a year. [3]
  4. Hookworms (Necator americanus): Hookworms are spread by contaminated soil or faeces. Walking barefooted in the soil or staying in the soil for longer hours can give way to these worms inside the body.
  5. Flukes (Platyhelminthes): They are leaf-shaped flatworms. Humans are less likely to get contaminated with flukes compared to animals, and if they do, it is mainly due to the consumption of contaminated water. [4]

Symptoms Of Intestinal Worms

Experts say that different intestinal worms may cause different symptoms. Also, the symptoms may vary from person to person. Some of them may be asymptomatic, some may have mild, while in some, the symptoms can be moderate to severe.

Common symptoms of intestinal worms include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting [5]
  • Loss of appetite
  • Blood in stool
  • Loss of weight
  • Stomach pain
  • Dysentery
  • Stomach tenderness
  • General weakness
  • Fever (mild to severe) or Chills.
  • Allergic reactions
  • Anaemia
  • Headache
  • Worms in stool
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Bloating
  • Seizures (in severe cases)
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Conjunctivitis

Effective Natural Remedies For Teething In Babies

Causes Of Intestinal Worms

Many factors can cause the infestation of intestinal worms. Some of them may include:

  • Consumption of undercooked or raw meat. [6]
  • Consumption of spoilt meat.
  • Consumption of overripe fruits
  • lack of hygiene
  • Consumption of contaminated water or drinking water containing parasitic eggs or larvae. [7]
  • Coming in contact with contaminated faeces
  • Contact with contaminated soil. [8]
  • Contact with infected objects like bed sheets, clothing or towels.

Risk Factors Of Intestinal Worms

Some of the risk factors of intestinal worms may include:

  • Poor sanitation.
  • People with a weak immune system.
  • Older people.
  • People with immunocompromised conditions such as AIDS.
  • Playing in contaminated soil or staying in the soil for a prolonged period.

14 Safe And Effective Home Remedies For Ringworm Infection: Garlic, Tea Tree Oil, Salt And More

Complications Of Intestinal Worms

If the manifestations of intestinal worms are left untreated for longer, they may cause complications such as:

  • Nutrient deficiency.
  • Obstruction in the intestines.
  • Pancreatitis
  • Systemic cysticercosis or the development of cysts that may cause problems related to the central nervous system and skeletal muscle. [9]

Diagnosis Of Intestinal Worms

Some of the methods to diagnose intestinal worms may include:

  • Stool test: To detect parasites in stool samples.
  • Blood test: To detect parasites in the blood.
  • Colonoscopy: It includes evaluation of large and small intestines with a tube-like device to look out for signs of parasites. [10]

Benefits Of Pomegranate For Babies: When To Introduce And Things To Remember

Treatments Of Intestinal Worms

In many cases, the infestation of intestinal worms may reduce on its own due to strong immune systems and changes in lifestyle. Rest may require treatment methods depending on the type of intestinal worms. The treatment methods may include:

  • Medications: It includes medications such as albendazole and praziquantel.
  • Surgery: This method is suggested when the parasites have spread to larger areas of the intestines.
  • Lifestyle changes: It includes methods like maintaining proper hygiene, drinking clean water and eating fresh, cooked and clean foods.

To Conclude

Early diagnosis can help treat intestinal worms at an early phase. Consult a medical expert if you experience any of the aforementioned symptoms.

Story first published: Saturday, October 2, 2021, 8:30 [IST]