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Worms in Humans

Worms in Humans

Worms are parasites and have been feeding off human beings since time unknown. Intestinal worms find their need of a secure environment providing them nourishment and a chance to multiply, fulfilled by the human body. Here is more information about the type of worms that can affect you or your child.
Shrinivas Kanade
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
A worm commonly affecting individuals living in the United States and the European countries, is the pinworm. You are likely to get infested with this worm in childhood. 50% of the world's population harbor either the hookworm, large roundworm or the whipworm. Most of these people live in areas where there is shortage of clean drinking water and absence of a proper sanitation system.
Intestinal Worms in Human Beings
Most of the time, proliferation of intestinal parasites in humans occurs when you eat infected food or come in contact with infected feces containing worms or their eggs.
Pinworms
As is the case, pinworms spread through infected feces. Almost every child below the age of 12 years is infected by them. This parasite, once it gets entry in the human body, inhabits in the large intestine. The female pinworm in a child sneaks out of the anus, late at night when the child is sleeping, to lay the eggs on the surrounding area of skin. The eggs are itchy and when the child scratch at them, they are transferred to their nails and fingers and then on to other items such as food, etc., leading to their spread. Pinworms are present everywhere, especially in areas that have four seasons in a year.
Tapeworms
This worm attaches itself to the intestinal wall with the help of hooks and suckers. This parasite can grow up to 20 feet long, without you having any indication of its presence in your body. Tapeworm may infest you after eating raw or undercooked pork. Alternatively, you may ingest its eggs (contaminated water) which after reaching the stomach, hatch into larvae and move to the small intestine. The acid present in the stomach dissolves the protective covering that encapsulates the larvae and sets them free, the hatchlings that manage to survive the stomach acid then move on to the small intestine and grow into adults measuring 0.1 inch in length. The larvae laid by the Trichinella female spread with the blood and hide within the muscles. Vomiting, diarrhea, fever and the pain in abdomen are a few of the signs of the presence of these worms in the body. The fact that it may enter your bloodstream and travel to the eyes giving you a headache or to the brain which could lead to a fatal brain swelling, if you eat infected and undercooked pork, tenderloin and sausages is a proof to the extent of harm it can do.
Schistosomes Worms
You might find the mode of the proliferation of these intestinal parasites amusing. These worms first infect snails which release schistosome larvae into the water. The larvae penetrate the human skin and then enter the blood stream. The adult schistosomes which measure up to 0.6 inch in length, lay eggs which spread to different parts of the body with the help of the blood flow. These eggs and not the parasite itself, can make your life difficult by causing inflammation, scarring or enlargement of the liver, bladder, lungs or intestine. According to WHO (World Health Organization), at least 200 million people, a majority of them living in Africa, are infected by these worms.
Whipworms
Whipworms are also known as Trichuris trichiura. Its resemblance to a bull-whip has given it, its name. An adult whipworm grows to 2 inches in length. Whipworms, after infestation, usually inhabit the large intestine and can cause severe diarrhea, loss of weight, anemia and rectal prolapse. Out of its 800 million victims, most are children living in the tropics and subtropics.
Roundworms
The most common of all is the roundworm infestation. As many as 1.5 billion people all over the world, especially, those living in tropics and subtropics, are suffering from it. The common mode of infestation of roundworms is by ingestion of infected food. The eggs of roundworms are hatched into larvae in the intestine. The larvae move through the bloodstream and lymph system to the lungs and cause shortness of breath, wheezing and fever. In its most severe form, infestation of roundworms can lead to the blockage of the small intestine and death. The information from the WHO paints a bleak picture, that as many as 60,000 deaths, most of which are children, are caused by ascariasis due to roundworms.
Hookworms
Hookworms fall under a class of roundworms. The larvae of the hookworm can gain the entry into the human body through the openings of the sweat glands or hair follicles in the skin. This may happen with you, if the soil you are walking, laying or sleeping on is contaminated by the hookworm larvae. Moving across the skin and through blood vessels and lungs, the hookworm larvae reaches the throat, where they are swallowed and transported to their destination, the small intestine. Adult hookworms are 0.4 inches in length and may cause abdominal pain. These hookworms suck blood through the intestinal walls which leads to anemia in the person suffering from the infestation.
Worms infestation cause signs and symptoms such as anemia, constipation, nervousness and immune dysfunction. Colon cleanse along with the expert medical advice and treatment, may help you to get rid of these parasites. Following is a list of other symptoms that you may notice in case of a worm infestation.
Symptoms of Worm Infestation in Humans
  • Itching
  • Fatigue
  • Coughing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in feces
  • Shortness of breath
  • Gassy stomach pain
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Problems or pain while urinating
  • Muscle spasms and pains
  • Stomach bloating
  • Swelling
  • Rash
  • Sweating and grinding teeth in sleep
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Inflammation of the vagina
  • Anorexia (eating disorder)
  • Colitis (inflammation of the large intestine)
  • Rectal prolapse
  • Jaundice
  • Memory loss
  • Mental problems
You observe itching near vagina or anus, gassy pain or unintentional weight loss among other signs and you suspect a worm infestation. For identifying intestinal parasite you can go for microscopic stool examination. To make sure you can undergo MRI or X-rays to detect worms present in the other parts of the body.
It is said that, "Prevention is better than cure!" Whenever you go out camping, be careful about the quality of drinking water. Wash your fruits properly, cut and throw away the bad part in it before eating. Extreme heat kills the parasite and destroys their eggs. Be careful about eating raw and half-cooked food. If you are traveling to some other country, find out whatever you can about the medication you will require to stay healthy.