Signs of Intestinal Worms in Humans
By Pierre Mouchette | Bits-n-Pieces
Intestinal worms are parasites or organisms which depend upon other organisms for existence. Infection caused by intestinal worms usually results from poor sanitation, inadequate hygiene, or contact with contaminated pets.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, get medical treatment immediately.
Upper stomach pain, loss of appetite, and diarrhea can occur with intestinal worms. Tapeworms may develop if a person ingests an infected flea from their pet. Tapeworms can also result from eating undercooked fish, pork, or beef contaminated with the parasite. Tapeworms from pork and beef can grow to 15 to 30 feet long. Hookworm can also produce stomach pain, weight loss, and diarrhea. Roundworm, or ascariasis, can cause severe abdominal pain and vomiting if the parasites block the small intestine, growing up to one foot in length and becoming as thick as a pencil.
Tapeworm larvae can penetrate the intestinal wall and infect other body parts, producing cysts in the brain, muscles, skin, and other organs. Cysts in the brain and spinal cord can create seizures, confusion, headaches, weakness, and paralysis. These cysts are detectable with CAT scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Hookworm infection can cause severe anemia and low red blood cell count in infants, children, pregnant women, and malnourished people. Hookworms live in the small intestine, where they attach to the intestinal wall and suck blood. Anemia is the most severe complication of hookworm infection. Children suffering from chronic worm infestations can experience severe anemia, affecting their growth.
Pinworm infection can cause itching in the anal area, especially at night. Pinworm infection develops when their eggs are swallowed. Female pinworms expel thousands of eggs into the environment. Dust-containing eggs can infect doorknobs, furniture, and food. Egg-laden female pinworms moving from the anus often cause intense anal and vaginal itching. Hookworm is spread by walking barefoot through soil contaminated with infected feces. Allergic reactions can develop at the entry site, known as "ground itch."
Tapeworm sufferers might see part of the ribbon-like worm in their stool. A worm in vomit or stool can be the first sign of an infection with ascariasis or roundworm.
Ascariasis, a roundworm infection, can cause symptoms comparable to pneumonia, like coughing, wheezing, and fever. It occurs when larvae migrate to the lungs before intestinal infection, making its diagnosis difficult. Finding larvae in lung or stomach fluids can confirm the condition.
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