Intestinal Worms

Dr. Ajay Mohan (AIIMS)MBBS

December 03, 2018

January 19, 2021

Intestinal Worms
Intestinal Worms

What are intestinal worms?

Intestinal worm infection is a very common type of infection, which is typically associated with poor socio-economic status and unhygienic living conditions.  It may be caused by whipworms, tapeworms, hookworms, threadworms, and roundworms. These parasites reproduce within the human body, especially in the intestines.

Read on to know the most common types of intestinal worms, the symptoms you can see along with their causes and treatment.

Types of Intestinal Worms

India’s National Health Portal reveals that there are four types of intestinal worms that affect humans the most:

  • Roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides)
  • Tapeworm (Cestoda)
  • Whipworm (Trichuris trichiura)
  • Hookworms (Ancylostoma duodenale)

Intestinal Worms Symptoms

The common signs and symptoms of intestinal worm infections include:

Intestinal Worms Causes

These worms usually enter the human body through the fecal-oral route and lay eggs in the intestines. Adult worms can cause a variety of symptoms and even grow a few feet long. They can also travel through your bloodstream and cause complications in different parts of your body. Worms can easily enter your body because of unhygienic habits such as:

  • Not washing hands properly after urinating and defecating
  • Walking barefoot on the grass in your lawn
  • Not washing your hands before eating food
  • Drinking dirty or contaminated water 
  • Drinking untreated or unpasteurized milk
  • Eating undercooked meat, chicken or eggs
  • Not washing vegetables before cooking or fruits before eating them
  • Taking a swim in a public swimming pool, rivers or lakes with untreated water 
  • Getting a lick from an infected pet
  • Being exposed to areas with infestations, like open sewers or garbage dumps

Diagnosis of Intestinal Worms

The diagnosis is mainly considered by the physician based on the signs and symptoms of the patient and by performing the following tests:

  • Stool routine or stool culture
  • Tape test: In this test, microscopic examination of the parasites’ eggs is done by pressing a cellophane tape against the skin around the anus which is then examined under a microscope.
  • Visual examination: By monitoring the child’s anus, underwear or diapers.

Intestinal Worms Treatment

Management of intestinal worm infection:

  • Maintenance of good hygienic practices play an important role in the management of intestinal worm infection.
  • Promoting hand washing and improved sanitation techniques for school kids.
  • Education on healthy behaviours which include good health and hygiene helps in reducing transmission and reinfection.
  • Development of adequate sanitation facilities.
  • Encouraging periodic deworming using deworming tablets can help.
  • Encouraging supplementation with vitamin A for preschool children.
  • Providing treatment with anthelminthic medications.
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  1. World Health Organization [Internet]. Geneva (SUI): World Health Organization; Intestinal worms.
  2. World Health Organization [Internet]. Geneva (SUI): World Health Organization; Intestinal worms.
  3. Rashidul Haque. Human Intestinal Parasites. J Health Popul Nutr. 2007 Dec; 25(4): 387–391. PMID: 18402180
  4. Cooper PJ. Intestinal worms and human allergy.. Parasite Immunol. 2004 Nov-Dec;26(11-12):455-67. PMID: 15771681
  5. World Health Organization [Internet]. Geneva (SUI): World Health Organization; Intestinal worms.

Medicines for Intestinal Worms

Medicines listed below are available for Intestinal Worms. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.

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