A pinworm is a thin, white parasite that looks like a little worm. People swallow the egg and it develops into a pinworm in the large intestine of the human. While the host sleeps, the female exits the intestine. It deposits eggs on the skin surrounding the anus.Pinworm infection is common worldwide. It affects people of any age, sex, and socioeconomic status. It usually affects more than one person and the eggs spread from the anus to the mouth. People do not realize they are swallowing the eggs. They may be on fingers, under the fingernails or other contaminated surfaces or objects. The eggs can survive on contaminated objects for up to three weeks.
Itching in anal/rectal area
The itching sensation is probably due to the female depositing the eggs on the skin. The female lays her eggs in a jelly-like substance and this is what causes the itching. It tends to be worse at night and can sometimes cause a disturbance while sleeping. Scratching is a natural response to itching but it can tear the skin and prevent it from healing. Cotton gloves may help to prevent scratching during sleep. Eggs spread because they end up on fingers and under fingernails. Washing hands, scrubbing fingernails and keeping them short can help to prevent infection and re-infection.
Discomfort in anal area
Discomfort in the anal area may also be a sign of a pinworm infection. These infections are quite common. They are not harmful. Taking medication and preventing re-infection can get rid of them quickly. Home remedies aren’t recommended as the first line of treatment for pinworms. However, there is no harm in trying a home remedy as well as medication. Some people believe that eating a cup of shredded raw carrot twice a day helps push the worms through the intestine. Carrots are rich in fiber. Also, they do support bowel movement.
Presence of pinworms in anal area or stools
Adult pinworms are visible to the naked eye and you will see them around the anus. In the stools, they look like pieces of cotton thread. The eggs are not visible to the naked eye. Do a tape test first thing in the morning. Take a cellophane tape and press the sticky side against the skin surrounding the anus. Take it to your doctor and he or she will examine it under a microscope. If eggs exist, the doctor will prescribe a course of medication. This usually involves an initial dose, followed by another dose two to three weeks later. You will need to treat all the people in the household.
Skin irritation in anal area
The trauma of scratching and moisture increases skin irritation in the anal area. Treatment of the pinworm infection will kill the worms. But the itching and irritation may continue for a few days. It is important to clean and dry the anus thoroughly. Don’t leave any soap in the anal area. Many over-the-counter products are available to treat anal skin irritation. They are available as creams, ointments, gels, and more. It acts as a protective physical barrier on the skin.
Insomnia or bedwetting
You need to find out whether pinworm infection is to blame if a child has trouble sleeping. A schoolchild who suffers from insomnia will experience difficulties concentrating, irritability, and moodiness. Over-the-counter medication is available to treat pinworm infection. Some medication prevents the worm from absorbing glucose. This kills it within a few days. Another kind paralyzes the worms. Medication is usually available in liquid or in chewable form. It is important to take a dose and repeat it after two weeks. The first dose kills the worms but not the eggs. The second dose will kill any worms that hatch after the first treatment.
Recurrence of infection
The female lays her eggs on the skin around the anus. Next, within a few hours, they become capable of infecting someone else. Extreme itching causes scratching can transfer eggs to the hands. Without proper hygiene and washing, eggs transfer back to the mouth. This causes a further infestation. The cycle continues without good hygiene. Treatment with medication is not good enough alone. Strict hygiene measures are necessary to prevent re-infection. Shower and change underwear daily to remove eggs. Launder night clothes, towels and bedding in hot water. Don’t share towels. Wash hands frequently and scrubs fingernails. Discourage nail biting and scratching.
If pinworms are present in significant numbers, they may cause abdominal pain. This may lead to a lack of appetite and weight loss. Medication will be necessary but a home remedy may help to keep the infection under control. People believe that a home remedy can kill eggs and prevent the female from laying more eggs is a garlic salve. Chop up a couple of cloves and grind into a paste. Mix the paste with petroleum jelly or any other base oil. Use a clean cotton swab to apply the salve. Don’t use this salve if the skin is sensitive or broken.
Urinary tract or bladder infection
Sometimes heavy pinworm infection remains untreated. It causes a urinary tract or bladder infection. Pinworms can also irritate the urethra of a child and lead to bedwetting. Medication can kill the worms. But your doctor usually prescribes oral antibiotics. This helps in treating any urinary or bladder infections. Once again, taking preventative measures is important to prevent an infestation from recurring.
The rectum is very close to the vagina so worms can find their way there. This may cause inflammation of the uterus lining or vaginitis. Vaginitis causes irritation and itching in the vagina. Pelvic pain, fever, and an abnormal vaginal discharge may also occur. Almost 20% of girls get worms in their vaginas. A combination of medications may be necessary to get rid of the problems. This includes killing the worms by applying oral antibiotics for any vaginal infection. Cleanliness is of the utmost importance in such a case to prevent re-infection.
Loss of appetite and weight loss
Pinworms are parasites. They feed off the nutrients in the intestines of their host. Sometimes a heavy infestation of pinworms occurs in intestines. They may feed off most of the nutrients the person eats. This can cause weight loss due to lack of nutrition. After treating the pinworm infection, the appetite recovers and abdominal pain disappears. The person will regain weight and eat a healthy, balanced diet will help. A dietary supplement may be consumed to regain weight. This will ensure adequate nutrition.