Human Intestinal Worms: Symptoms and Prevention
There are different types of human intestinal worms, and each may have different impacts or symptoms. However, they can be treated and prevented in a similar way. If you are interested in learning more about intestinal worms and how to prevent them, continue reading below.
What are human intestinal worms?
Intestinal worms are also known as helminths, which is the medical term for the worms. Human intestinal worms are parasites that thrive in the intestine, hence its term. They live by eating bowel content and can suck blood from the intestinal wall. The parasites may be dangerous because they can cause severe infections. Below is a list of the most common different kinds of human intestinal worms.
Common Human Intestinal Worms
- Hookworms: Necator americnaus and Anclostoma duodenale are two types of hookworms. As a type of roundworm, a hookworm is usually a half of an inch long and tends to be found in the tropics. It is most likely to get hookworms by walking barefoot. They penetrate the skin and reach the intestine. These hookworms live off of sucking blood from the intestinal wall.
- Whipworm: Also known as Trichuris trichiura, whipworm is another type of roundworm. It causes trichuriasis. Trichinella spiralis is another type of worm that causes trichinosis, and is most likely to be acquired by eating raw or undercooked meat. More specifically, eating uncooked and contaminated pork meat will increase your chances for infection.
- Schistosoma mansoniis a type of parasite that causes intestinal schistosomiasis. Mainly found in Africa, the Caribbean, Middle East, and South America, the parasite tends to reach about a half an inch and is one millimeter thick. Be sure to check your stool and urine because there may be signs of their eggs.
- Beef tapeworm: Adult tapeworms can reach up to twenty meters long. They are most likely to be acquired by eating undercooked and contaminated beef.
- Fish tapeworm: Infected freshwater fish are usually the cause for acquiring the worm. Usually found in Europe, Russia, and the United States, the tapeworm can be at least ten meters long.
What are the symptoms?
So, what are the signs and symptoms of human intestinal worms? Sometimes it is difficult to determine what is going on in your body because parasites can live inside your intestine without causing symptoms. However, when they do cause symptoms, they tend to look the following:
- Diarrhea, gas, or bloating
- Nausea or vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Stomach pain
- Weight loss
- Dysentery or passing a worm in your stool
Causes and Prevention
Make sure to contact your doctor if you are experiencing the symptoms listed above and believe you have an intestinal worm. If you are still uncertain or unsure about the information provided on the topic of human intestinal worms, here are some causes.
What causes human intestinal worms? The following things increase your chances for getting intestinal parasites:
- Poor hygiene
- Eating undercooked, contaminated meat
- Staying in an area with parasites
- International travel
- Drinking contaminated water
- Children and the elderly are more likely to receive an infection
- Weakened immune system
In order to prevent getting intestinal worms, try following the suggestions listed below:
- Make sure to cook meat and fish completely. Undercooked meat tends to lead to intestinal worms and infection.
- Educate yourself with the places you travel to or restaurants you go to. International travel is a common cause of human intestinal worms, so make sure to be prepared if you plan on traveling. Avoid restaurants that have poor hygiene and be aware of what you are consuming.
- Do not be barefoot in tropical areas. Avoid walking barefoot or swimming in lakes in tropical areas. Parasites can penetrate the skin, which is why you need to make sure to wear shoes.
- Maintain a good hygiene by washing your hands regularly. Make sure to wash your hands specifically after you go to the bathroom, touch soil or pets, and before you eat.
- Keep a careful watch on your children and the elderly. Tell them to not touch their mouth or nose with their hands.
Human Intestinal Worms Treated
You can get treatment of intestinal worms, which is why it is important that you contact your doctor. Discuss your symptoms and concerns with a trusted professional or doctor in order to determine exactly what is going on with your body. A single dose of anti-worm drug should kill the parasite. However, if you leave the infection untreated, it can lead to more serious and severe symptoms.