Babies infected with Ascaris may experience a lack of growth in height and weight, which is also referred to as failure to thrive. Adults infected with pinworms, tapeworms, or Ascaris may also experience weight loss. Nutritional deficiencies may develop in people infected with intestinal worms as a result of heavy infestations or worms that grow to be very large.
Intestinal worms can be prevented by drinking filtered water, swimming in chlorinated pools, and careful hygiene, especially after contact with feces. People who are infected with intestinal worms can be treated by a medical doctor with prescription medications. People with intestinal worm infections should take care to launder all towels, linens and clothing that come into contact with their bare skin so as to avoid reinfection.
Intestinal worms may live in someone’s intestine for years without causing any symptoms. General symptoms may appear a few weeks or several months after infestation and include skin pallor, weakness, tiredness (from anemia due to lost blood sucked by worms), restlessness, disturbed sleep and weight loss (due to loss of nutrients used by worms).
Abdominal symptoms can last for weeks or even months and include:
Foul smelling breath or gas
Chronic passing of gas – either flatulence or burps, particularly after meals
Loss of appetite or sleeplessness
Mucus in the stool
Blood in the stool
Loose bowel movements or diarrhea
Worms, their parts or eggs can be sometimes found in the stool
Itchy skin rash
Swelling around the eyes
During sleep, some worms may leave the body through the mouth, nose or anus
Swollen itchy bump on the site of the parasite entry (usually on the foot)
cravings for and eating farinaceous foods including but not limited to:
- white bread
- white flour products
- cravings for sugar or sugar-containing products
- love of vinegar
- love of sour foods such as lemons, grapefruits
Edited By Stephanie Dawson