A pinworm infection (oxyuriasis) is caused by tiny parasitic worms that affect the colon and rectum.
Roundworms live in the intestine for about 7-8 weeks.
The infection occurs when the eggs of the pinworms are swallowed.
The eggs open in the intestine.
Who belongs to the risk groups of a pinworm infection?
The risk of oxyuren infection exists all over the world and affects people of all ages and socio-economic levels.
The risk of infection increases in children who:
- live in a community,
- visit populated gyms and schools.
Oxyures are more likely to visit children of preschool and school age.
Oxyuren in adults
Oxyuren infection often occurs in more than one family member.
Adults are less likely to become infected, with the exception of mothers of infected children.
However, sexual partners can transfer the eggs to each other.
Causes of oxyures
Infection with oxyures occurs when eggs of pinworms are accidentally swallowed.
The microscopic eggs can get into the mouth:
- contaminated food,
- Finger contact.
Once swallowed, the larvae hatch from the eggs in the intestine and in a few weeks they become adult worms (2-5 mm).
The oxyurene eggs can survive outdoors for two or three weeks.
Unlike other parasites, the pinworm’s eggs can infect the host shortly after laying.
How long do pinworms and their eggs live?
About four weeks after ingestion, the female reaches the anus and leaves the body to lay the eggs in the surrounding skin (perianal zone).
This process takes place at night.
After oviposition, the worm dies.
The worm larvae hatch in the intestine two weeks after the eggs have been swallowed.
Two weeks later, the female oxyuren is capable of reproduction, which is the time of incubation.
The pinworms that infect humans cannot infect pets.
But some of the microscopic eggs can land on a pet and be transmitted from here to humans when they pet the dog or cat.
Symptoms of oxyuren infestation
Many people have no symptoms whatsoever.
Some feel an itch around the anus or vagina.
The itching can become intense and disrupt sleep.
- itching and itching in the vagina are the most common symptoms in adults and children.
As a rule, the oxyural female deposits her eggs during the night when the host (human) is sleeping.
The itching arises due to the inflammatory reaction provoked by the worm and eggs in the perianal tissue.
The human with the pinworms scratches himself, which may damage the skin in the area and thus cause further infections.
- Insomnia is another symptom. This problem arises due to the constant itching in the zone.
- Another symptom is abdominal pain. However, these only occur if the infection is severe.
- Sometimes the infected person may feel pain when urinating, the pinworms can provoke problems on the genital or urinary apparatus.
- Weight loss is another symptom, even though it occurs in many other infections as well.
- Teeth grinding or bruxism (occurs mainly in children affected by oxyurs).
- Infants also show signs of rash or urticaria.
- Constipation or diarrhea.
- Tiredness and irritability due to lack of sleep.
- Emaciation, the worm feeds on food it finds in the host’s intestine.
How are pinworms transmitted?
The transmission of oxyures occurs mainly due to lack of hygiene. The eggs are transmitted from the anus of an infected person:
- into the mouth (re-infect yourself),
- on other surfaces.
If someone touches the contaminated surface and then the mouth, the eggs can be swallowed.
A pinworm can lay thousands of microscopic eggs.
The eggs can be transferred from a person’s anus to:
- Underwear and clothing.
During oviposition, the female oxyuren deposits an itchy mucus that creates the urge to scratch in the affected area (anus/vagina).
When scratching the skin inside the anus, the eggs are transferred to the patient’s hands.
From the hands, the eggs can be transferred to anything that is touched, such as:
- washing utensils (toothbrush, combs, etc.),
- directly on the hands of other people (when the hands of one infected person touch the hands of another),
- surfaces in kitchen and bathroom,
- Kitchen utensils
- Mouth – the eggs can survive up to three weeks on the surfaces. If these are touched and the hand then comes into contact with a person’s mouth, there is a risk of swallowing the eggs.
Inhalation of eggs. The microscopic eggs can disperse in the air and be inhaled and then swallowed.
This can happen when a bed sheet or towels are shaken up.
Lack of hygiene. Young children are more likely to become infected because they do not wash their hands as thoroughly as adults.
Children can also have infections for long periods of time because they continue to swallow eggs.
Usually, children are in close contact with each other, sharing the toys and holding hands while playing.
In this way, a re-infection is favored.
The parasite can also be transmitted through sexual contact.
Complications of oxyuren
Infections with pinworms do not cause major problems.
In rare cases, severe infestation can have the following effects:
- Infection of the female genitals. In women or girls, the parasite can migrate from the zone to: – vagina, – uterus, – fallopian tubes,
– surrounding pelvic organs.This can cause symptoms such as inflammation of:
- Scheide (Vaginitis),
- inneren Gebärmutterwand (Endometritis),
- Eileiter (Salpingitis).
- Gewichtsverlust. Wenn viele ausgewachsene Madenwürmer in den Darm gelangen, können diese Würmer:
- Bauchschmerzen verursachen,
- die Nährstoffe verzehren, die gerade verdaut werden.
Die Folge ist ein Gewichtsverlust.
Diagnose der Infektion durch Madenwürmer
Der nächtliche Juckreiz in der Perianalzone eines Kindes weckt einen starken Verdacht auf eine Oxyureninfektion.
Die Diagnose erfolgt, indem der Parasit oder seine Eier identifiziert werden.
Manchmal können die Madenwürmer an folgenden Stellen bemerkt werden:
- auf der Haut nahe dem After,
- in der Unterwäsche, Nachtwäsche oder auf dem Bettlaken,
- im Kot.
In the stool, the worms appear like small cotton threads.
Oxyures are difficult to see due to their size and white color.
Examinations and tests in oxyures
If a person is suspected of having oxyurs, even if they are not visible, you can do an adhesive strip test.
It is best to do this test at night, when the itching typically occurs, or early in the morning, even before going to the bathroom and washing.
Glue a piece of adhesive tape to the opening and leave there for about 10 minutes: females and eggs stick to the tape.
Then press firmly on the skin around the anus to collect the eggs.
After that, the adhesive strip is handed over to a doctor who examines it under a microscope to look for the oxyuren eggs.
The doctor may ask the individual to make several such adhesive strips to increase the likelihood of seeing the eggs.
A single test can detect oxyures in 50% of cases; if the test is repeated three times, 90% of infection cases are detected.
Blood tests are not needed to confirm the diagnosis of oxyuren infection.
The doctor must exclude the following diseases that can cause itching and white spots in the zone:
What is the therapy for oxyurne infection?
Treatment for oxyuren includes prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
One should consult a doctor before starting treatment if oxyures are suspected.
Among the available drugs there are the following anti-worm drugs:
- Vermox® (mebendazole)
- Helmex® (pyrantel)
Treatment provides for two doses of the drug, with the second dose given 2 weeks after the first.
Pregnancy and lactation
Special attention to hygiene is the recommended therapy for:
- pregnant women,
- nursing mothers.
In the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, do not take:
- mebendazole (Vermox®),
- Albendazole (Eskazole).
During the 2nd and 3rd trimester of pregnancy and during lactation, the drug may be used if necessary.
This decision should be made by a doctor.
It is recommended to use home remedies until birth, most likely this is already sufficient.
All surfaces and objects touched by the infected person must be treated at the same time.
Recurrences in oxyures are a common problem. It is therefore important to strictly adhere to hygiene rules, for example:
- correct hand washing,
- Keep nails clean and short-cut,
- avoid biting nails,
- no scratching in the area.
Natural remedies for pinworm infection
In addition to the above medications, one can try some home remedies and make a change in diet to get rid of the pinworms.
- You should eat a clove of garlic daily, preferably raw.
You can mix the garlic with honey.
- Another useful food is the lemon peel, even if children are not easily persuaded to eat it.
- Since the oxyurs feed on sugar and carbohydrates, it is better to largely restrict these foods in the diet.
- You can prepare a paste from one clove of garlic and about 1/2 teaspoon of honey.
This mixture should be applied to the anus, because it helps to kill the eggs and relieve itching.
- Origano oil is effective against pinworms, but beware: it must be noted on the packaging that it can be swallowed.
- You should change the bed sheet frequently and wash at least 60°C.
Should the relatives of an infected person be treated?
Yes. The infected person and all persons living with him under the same roof should carry out the therapy at the same time.
Diet and nutrition for pinworm infection
People who suffer from frequent parasite infestation know that the problem cannot be definitively solved by medication; a change in diet, on the other hand, can prevent the infection from repeating.
It is recommended to eat natural foods; The following should be avoided:
- sugar, sugared food and drinks,
- milk, dairy products,
- refined carbohydrates such as white rice,
- sweet cream dishes,
The vegan diet / raw food allows:
- nuts and seeds – especially pumpkin seeds, which have a micicidal effect,
- Legumes, as fresh as possible.
Prevention of pinworms
- To remove the majority of eggs, it is helpful to wash yourself thoroughly every morning and change the underwear.
- To avoid contamination of the bath water, a shower is preferable.
- You should change underwear, sleepwear, towels and sheets frequently.
These tissues should be washed in hot water, especially after each treatment of the patient, as long as the infection has not been eliminated.
- Fry meat and fish.
- Vegetables must be immersed in a bowl of water and sodium bicarbonate for 5 minutes.
How long do pinworms stay? (Forecast)
Infection with oxyures can be defeated by medication and proper hygiene.
Oxyures can pass on their own if hygiene rules are carefully observed.
However, since the eggs of the oxyures are invisible to the naked eye and very contagious, re-infection is likely.
A person can become infected:
- on its own
- by another person’s eggs.
If various recurrences occur after family treatment, the primary sources of oxyureneans could be people and places outside one’s own home.
The drugs kill the worms, but the eggs remain. When the larvae hatch from the eggs, new worms are formed.
Not all eggs open at the same time. It is therefore important to complete the treatment.
The total recovery time can be two weeks.
In the meantime, it is important to wash the underwear at least once a day and clean all surfaces that may come into contact with the oxyuren eggs.