How to get rid of worms?

A man suffers from abdominal pain caused by worms

Worm infection is observed in more than 1. 5 billion people. You can become infected with the worms through food, raw water or contact with a sick person.

Helminthiasis or helminthic infestations are a group of diseases caused by parasitic worms living in the human body. According to the latest data, 1 in 100 people is a hidden carrier, and about 80% of new cases occur in children and adolescents. At the same time, helminthiasis is registered not only in underdeveloped countries: enterobiasis and ascariasis often occur among wealthy segments of the population.

The wide spread of helminthiasis is explained by the asymptomatic course of the disease in the early stages. Symptoms of infection do not appear even if the number of parasites in the body is small. The patient may not suspect the presence of parasites for a long time, but still infect others.

How dangerous are worms?

Today, 360 species of worms are known that are dangerous to humans. Most of them parasitize in the human intestines or liver, but depending on the type and life cycle of the parasite (egg, larva, adult), any organ and system can be affected: lungs, heart, central nervous system, muscles, eyeball. etc. Next.

The main damage caused by helminths is:

  • the gradual development of anemia (insufficient number of red blood cells).The worms consume nutrients from the intestines, as a result the body does not receive enough micro and macro elements, the patient loses weight and suffers from a vitamin deficiency;
  • destruction of organs and tissues.Many worms penetrate the intestinal wall and damage the surrounding tissues during their migration. Microscopic wounds and ulcers form on the organs, the mucous membrane of the gastrointestinal tract is constantly inflamed, the risk of infection increases;
  • pathologies of the nervous system.Worms destroy not only the surrounding tissues, but also waste products - toxins that have a devastating effect on the central and peripheral nerves. The patient becomes nervous, irritable, disturbed by headache, insomnia, lethargy and apathy;
  • allergic reactions.Worm waste products (toxins) are also dangerous allergens. Therefore, in the case of helminthic infections, a skin rash often develops, itching occurs, nausea and vomiting are possible.

In children, helminthic infections can cause developmental delays and dangerous complications: from perforation of the intestines (through ulcers) to paralysis of the arms and legs.

They are typical representatives of helminths

The most common types of parasites are:

  • pinworms– roundworms that penetrate the rectum and colon. Infection occurs when personal hygiene rules are not followed;
  • roundworms– roundworms attacking the small intestine. During the developmental cycle, they can migrate with the blood and lymph flow, entering the lungs and heart;
  • whipworm- the roundworm living in the large intestine. With the help of a thin head, it penetrates the mucous membrane, damages the integrity of the tissues and causes microulcers;
  • opisthorchis– flatworms that attack the liver. Parasites clog the ducts, which causes stagnation of bile and interferes with the normal functioning of the organ;
  • bent heads- roundworms parasitizing the duodenum. Infection occurs through contact with larvae that pierce the skin, enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body;
  • bull tapeworm- a tapeworm with a maximum length of 10 meters. It occupies almost the entire intestine, which leads to severe exhaustion;
  • gut eel– roundworms that penetrate the colon and cecum. To lay eggs, the worms move closer to the anus, which causes severe itching in the anal area;
  • Echinococcus– tapeworms that affect not only the gastrointestinal tract, but also the liver and lungs. They cause echinococcosis, a disease in which cysts form in various human organs.
A parasitologist treats helminth infections.

How are worms spread?

According to the WHO, more than 1. 5 billion people worldwide suffer from soil-transmitted helminthiasis. It is a common misconception that you can get infected with worms only by consuming poor-quality food: untreated water, unwashed fruit and vegetables, or unprocessed meat and fish. But this is not true. Some parasites can penetrate intact skin.

Helminth larvae penetrate the skin, enter the capillaries and spread throughout the body along with the bloodstream. For people, such punctures are not sensitive - it is quite difficult to suspect an infection. You can also become infected with parasites by inhaling microscopic eggs together with dust.

How do you know you have worms?

Depending on which organs are affected by the helminthic infection, patients may experience conjunctivitis, cough, headache, swelling, and tremors in the limbs. In case of severe vitamin deficiency, joint pain occurs, hair falls out, and nails begin to peel. In children, helminthiasis can lead to delayed physical and mental development.

Common symptoms of worms in humans are:

  • malaise, weakness, fatigue;
  • allergies such as skin rashes, cough, asthma attacks;
  • decreased or increased appetite;
  • nausea, vomiting without poisoning;
  • abdominal pain;
  • diarrhea or constipation;
  • weight loss, even if the appetite is good;
  • sleep disorders, insomnia;
  • inflamed or enlarged lymph nodes;
  • unexplained fever;
  • muscle and joint pain without exercise;
  • snoring or grinding your teeth during sleep;
  • the presence of worms in the stool;
  • itching in the anal area (often with pinworms).

How do you know if you have worms?

It is impossible to independently determine the presence of helminthic infection. In the initial stage, the disease can be practically asymptomatic. The patient does not feel pain, the immune system is able to suppress the pathogenic effect of toxins and allergens for a while. Usually, the aggravation begins during the period of larval migration or when the number of worms increases. The stronger the infection (i. e. the more parasites), the more symptoms appear.

However, the asymptomatic course of the invasion is dangerous - the patient infects others and his health gradually deteriorates. In order to detect the disease, a preventive examination must be carried out at regular intervals in the hospital. As part of prevention, the therapist prescribes an examination for worms at least once a year. If you live in an endemic region - once every six months.

Helminth analysis

The following tests can be prescribed to detect helminthic infection:

  • stool analysis.Feces are examined for the presence of helminth eggs. The analysis does not require prior preparation: the patient only needs to take a stool sample;
  • analysis of enterobiasis.To determine enterobiasis (a disease caused by fungi), it is enough to take a scraping (smear) from the anal area. Usually, the test is prescribed in the morning before going to the toilet;
  • blood test to detect specific antibodies.The most revealing study, which allows the identification of parasites such as roundworms, opisthorchis, acne and lamblia.

How long is the fecal examination for worms valid?

Examination of feces for worms allows specialists to detect helminth eggs (if any). This test does not give a 100% guarantee of detection, since the number of eggs depends on the life cycle of the worms and sometimes they may not be detected in the stool, although the infestation remains. Therefore, in most cases, doctors recommend performing stool tests two or three times, with short intervals between tests.

Blood test for parasites

A blood test for specific antibodies is the most informative method for detecting helminthic infection. After the analysis, the doctor can not only talk about the presence of worms, but also determine their type, and therefore choose the most effective therapeutic complex.

Worms are recognized by the human immune system as pathogens: the body begins to produce specific antibodies to fight the parasites. This is clear from the analysis.

Which worm test is better?

If a parasitic infection is suspected, the doctor will prescribe several tests. A comprehensive study allows you to determine the presence of worms with 100% accuracy, determine the type and stage of the life cycle. It is impossible to say that any analysis is better or worse: several tests should be performed to increase the reliability of the diagnosis.

Where should you go if you suspect worms?

If you suspect a helminthic infection, you should make an appointment with an infectious disease specialist. In the early stages of helminthiasis, there are no specific symptoms, so it is quite difficult to suspect that you or a loved one have worms. In general, the patient complains of mild malaise: indigestion, headache, apathy.

If the symptoms do not go away within a week, or if the condition returns periodically (for example, you feel sick once every 3-4 months), consult your doctor. Attacks of poor health are associated with the migration of parasites.

Which doctor treats worms in humans?

Parasitic infections are treated by an infectious disease specialist or parasitologist. But you should not immediately consult a specialist: it is better to consult a therapist. He prescribes a series of tests and, if necessary, refers you to a parasitologist or gastroenterologist.

How to treat helminthiasis?

If worms are detected, the doctor prescribes antiparasitic drugs, which are designed to combat a certain type of worm. Modern drugs are equally effective against worms in all stages of the life cycle: adults, larvae and eggs. In most cases, a single dose of tablets is sufficient, but sometimes a drug course is also necessary - the treatment is developed by a therapist or parasitologist.

It is unacceptable to deviate from the developed treatment tactics - this can lead to the worm eggs remaining in the body, which causes re-infection later.

Medicines to improve the condition of the gastrointestinal tract, vitamins to eliminate vitamin deficiency and antihistamines (in case of an allergic reaction) can be prescribed along with antiparasitic drugs.

Helminthiasis: treatment with folk remedies

There are a sufficient number of methods of treating helminthiasis with folk remedies. Patients are advised to eat a large number of foods containing strong essential oils: for example, drink clove infusion or eat garlic. Such methods are not only ineffective, but also dangerous.

If the intestines are damaged by worms, consuming products containing strong essential oils will cause further irritation to the mucous membrane, increasing pain and problems with defecation.

Do not use dewormers without consulting your doctor. Some drugs lead to the death of worms, but do not provoke their expulsion, e. g. they remain in the body, causing severe poisoning. Safe treatment of the invasion is only possible under the supervision of an experienced doctor!

Prevention of helminthiasis

Treatment of helminthiasis should be carried out not only by the patient, but also by all members of his family. Bed linen and underwear should be boiled and wet cleaned with disinfectants. In order to prevent helminthic infection in the future, it is recommended:

  • check the quality of the food you eat: do not eat unwashed vegetables, fruits and herbs, unprocessed meat or raw fish;
  • observe the rules of personal hygiene, do not use other people's towels and utensils;
  • should undergo a comprehensive examination once a year, including examination of worm eggs.

Helminth infections are very treatable and do not cause serious damage to the body if detected in time. Therefore, the most important thing is to consult a doctor on time. In order to prevent helminthiasis, hygiene rules must be followed and regular medical examinations must be performed.

Popular questions

  1. Do you lose weight if you have worms?

    Weight loss is a possible but not mandatory symptom of parasite infection. Loss of weight caused by parasitic diseases can be caused by disturbances in the microflora and nutrient absorption processes in the intestines.

  2. How to remove worms without drugs?

    Parasitic diseases (worms) are treated medically with antiparasitic drugs. Only a doctor can prescribe anthelmintic drugs. The choice of antiparasitic drugs depends on the type of worms.

  3. Why do worms come out?

    The movement of worms in the human body is determined by the characteristics of their life cycle. For most parasites, escape is how they spread and are passed on. When released, the worms can be detected not only in the feces, but also in the sputum and exhaled air.