13 May 2011 No Comments
Pinworm (Enterobius vermicularis) infections are extremely common. Occurring world wide, it is estimated that there are more than 40 million cases in the United States each year, making it the most common worm infection in America.
Although any individual may develop a case of pinworms, the infection occurs most frequently in school children between 5 to 10 years of age. Pinworm infections occur in all socioeconomic groups; however, human-to-human spread is favored by close, crowded living conditions. Spread among family members is common. Animals do not harbor pinworms – humans are the only natural host for this parasite.
The most common symptom of pinworms is an itchy rectal area. Symptoms are worse at night when the female worms are most active and crawl out of the anus to deposit their eggs. Although pinworm infections can be annoying, they rarely cause serious health problems and are usually not dangerous. Therapy with routine prescription medications provides an effective cure in almost all cases.
The very simple life cycle of E. vermicularis ensures a high human prevalence. Tiny eggs deposited around the anus by a female worm spread the infection. Each female worm can produce more than 10,000 eggs during her lifespan. When someone with pinworms scratches their perianal area, eggs may lodge under their fingernails and be spread to anything he or she touches. Infested dust, clothing, bedding, or toys can also spread eggs. When someone else accidentally ingests these eggs, they also become infected.
Over the next several weeks, newly ingested eggs hatch and mature into adult worms. The new worms migrate to the junction between the small and large intestine. Following further maturation, the newly “pregnant” worm migrates from this region to the rectum. From here she will make the trip to the anal area (commonly at night) and deposit her eggs. The life cycle has now come full circle. Adult females live for approximately three months in their human host. Their eggs may die within one to two days in a warm and dry environment; however cool and humid conditions will allow their survival for up to two weeks.
Many people have pinworms and don’t have any symptoms at all.
The most common symptom of pinworms is itching around the anus. It is worse at night when the female worm deposits her eggs on the person infected. This can lead to difficulty getting a good night’s sleep. This intense itching is felt to be due to an inflammatory response to the adult worm and her eggs in the perianal tissue. If severe scratching occurs, the skin may break down and allow development of a secondary bacterial infection.
Pinworms can rarely migrate into the vagina or urinary tract causing irritation in these regions. Intense itching is again the prominent complaint. This location of infection is less common than the perianal region, and the infection usually goes away on its own. Case reports of E. vermicularis migration into the internal female reproductive tract have been reported. These infections are very rare.
Pinworms do not cause abdominal pain, bloody bowel movements, fevers, or poor appetite. If the person has any of these signs or symptoms, they may have a more serious condition and should call a doctor or visit the hospital’s emergency department. Adult pinworms have been found in inflamed appendices removed at operation; however, whether the pinworm infection was the cause of appendicitis is controversial.
Home Remedies for Pinworms
Pin worms are very small white colored worms which usually affect young children. Pinworms are highly contagious and may spread from one person to another through contact. These worms, which are only a quarter of an inch in their adult size, colonize the intestines, especially the upper region of the colon and feed on the undigested contents in the intestines.
The pin worms usually enter into a body in the form of eggs. Once the eggs hatch, the worms migrate from the intestines to the anal region. Young children suffering from pinworms may experience itching in the anal region. If the pinworm infestation is severe, you may even be able to see them in the anal region of the child. The female worms lay their eggs in the rectal region and when the child scratches due to the itching in the area, the eggs may stick to the nails that often come in contact with the mouth while eating. They then travel through the mouth and once again get transferred into the intestines.
A child suffering from pinworms can experience excessive anal itching, bedwetting, insomnia, loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, and general irritability. In females, these worms may travel from the anus to the genital tract, causing not only severe itching, but also inflammation of the vaginal tract.
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There are several home remedies for pinworms which can help you get rid of these parasites for good. One of the most effective home remedies for pinworms is the consumption of garlic. Eat small portions of garlic in either raw or cooked form. Garlic may not taste very good in either forms, so to improve the taste, you can consume it with a spoon of honey. If you want, you can also grind a few cloves of garlic, mix it with petroleum jelly and apply on the anal opening of the child to kill the eggs. As soon as you apply this mixture to the child’s anal opening, the itching will be relieved.
Another one of the effective home remedies for pinworms is the consumption of freshly grated coconuts and castor oil. Simply consume a spoon of grated coconut and then after about three hours, follow it up with a spoon of castor oil.
Since the primary method of curing pinworms is to keep the intestinal tract clean, include more roughage in the diet so that the pin worms are flushed out. Give your child lots of salad and green vegetables as well as fresh fruits, all of which are excellent home remedies for pinworms.
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