Pinworm

Jan 11, 2022

Table of contents

30 Second Summary

  • Pinworm is a parasite that lives in the human intestine.
  • The most common symptom is itching around the anus and in the vagina at night.
  • It is diagnosed with a patch test.
  • Treatment is with antiparasitic drugs or by observing strict hygiene rules.

What is Pinworm?

Particularly affecting children, pinworms cause millions of people to become ill every year. The explanation for pinworms is an infection caused by tiny parasitic worms. The length of adult worms varies between 5 and 10 mm. The white or cream-colored pinworms look like small pieces of thread. The eggs of these worms, which can live in the human body for about 6 weeks, can only be seen under a microscope. Pinworms, which are treated in a short time, usually cause itching and discomfort to patients.

What are the Symptoms of Pinworms?

Pinworm symptoms are limited. The most common symptom is itching in the anus and vagina. This itching is more common especially at night. This is because pinworms crawl up around the anus at night to lay eggs. Another symptom is vaginal discharge. Because in some patients, pinworms move towards the vagina. In addition, wounds may form in the itchy areas due to scratching of these areas by the patients and these wounds may become infected.

Another symptom of pinworms is restlessness, insomnia and discomfort. Rare symptoms include intermittent abdominal pain and nausea. In some patients, pinworms may progress silently without showing any symptoms.

What are Pinworm Tests? (Diagnosis)

In order to diagnose pinworms, the physician must determine the presence of pinworms. Patients may be asked for a patch test for this. In order to perform the patch test, patients should apply a transparent patch to the itchy area immediately after waking up, without going to the toilet or taking a shower. If pinworms are present, pinworm eggs will stick to the sticky part of the tape. For the results to be accurate, the test must be performed on 3 consecutive days.

If the patches taken from patients can be visualized under a microscope, then pinworms are diagnosed. If a patient has pinworms, then family members should also be tested.

What are Pinworm Treatment Methods?

Pinworms are a type of infection that is easy to treat. The main aim of the treatments is to prevent the infection from recurring. For this, everyone in the family needs to be treated. Pinworm treatment is done in two different ways.

6-Week Strict Hygiene Schedule

The 6-week strict hygiene calendar includes hygiene rules that patients and family members must follow. These rules are as follows:

  • Both the patient and the household need to develop handwashing habits. Hands should be washed thoroughly with warm, soapy water, especially before meals.
  • Another issue to be considered is showering habits. Both the patient and the household should shower and change underwear every morning. However, since pinworms can also be transmitted in the shower, family members and especially children should not bathe together.
  • The nails of everyone in the household should be cut at the root. If there is a habit of nail biting, then this habit should also be stopped.
  • Infected individuals should not scratch the anal area.
  • All textiles used at home should be washed at high temperatures. In addition, textiles should not be shaken to prevent pinworm eggs from getting into the air.
  • All potentially infected surfaces in the home should be cleaned regularly. Particular attention should be paid to surfaces such as toilets, countertops and toys.
  • If the infection recurs after the patient has recovered and the house has been thoroughly cleaned, it should be assumed that the source of the disease is somewhere outside.

Pinworm Medicines

Anti-parasite drugs are used in the treatment of pinworms. Drug treatment uses 3 different medicines. One of the medicines used in the treatment is given to patients as a single tablet. Another drug has the fewest side effects, but additional drugs are needed to reduce central nervous system inflammation. There is also an over-the-counter medicine that is suitable for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Natural Treatment Methods

Some natural methods help in the treatment of pinworms. There is not much scientific research on these natural supplements, but some results show that they provide relief. These foods include garlic, grapefruit, raw carrots, coconut oil, pumpkin seeds and onion juice.

What are the Harms of Pinworms?

Pinworm infections generally do not cause major problems. However, in rare cases, they can also cause infection of the female reproductive organs. This is because pinworms can travel from the anus to the vagina and from there to the uterus and fallopian tubes.

The other problem that can be seen in pinworms is urinary tract infection. It is more common especially in women. In addition to this condition seen in severe pinworm infestations, pinworms can reach the bladder and cause cystitis.

The most common problem with pinworms is weight loss. This is because pinworms absorb essential nutrients from food.

Pinworms can also cause infection in the abdominal cavity. These infections include appendicitis. Skin infections can also occur due to intense itching.

Pinworms in Infants

Since pinworms are very contagious, even very young babies can be infected. Symptoms of pinworms in infants include crankiness, restlessness during sleep and itching in the anal area. It is sufficient to follow hygiene rules for the treatment of pinworms in babies.

Pinworms in Children

The main reason why half of pinworm cases occur in children is that they constantly share their toys and constantly put them in their mouths. Symptoms of pinworms in children include the following:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Severe itching in the perianal area,
  • Drooling at night,
  • Teeth grinding
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Itchy nose
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss,
  • Night fears

Treatment of pinworms in children is carried out with strict hygiene monitoring. In addition, pinworms can cause weight loss, appendicitis, bedwetting, diarrhea, skin infections and pain when urinating in children.

Question: My daughter is infected with pinworms. She is 6 years old. She has taken a lot of medicine, and we have also tried complementary medicine treatments, but the problem persists. Once a week, we see the pinworms in my daughter’s urethra area. Please help me eradicate these pinworms. This has been ongoing for the past 4 years.

O** L** | 04 Jun 2024

Dr. Sandro Kurt Cinti answered | 9 days ago
Due to the highly contagious nature of pinworm infection, it is necessary to treat the entire family and regularly clean living areas. Antihelmintic medications such as albendazole and mebendazole should be used for the treatment. Additionally, hygiene measures such as frequent handwashing, regular nail trimming, and washing clothes in hot water should be taken.
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