Worms and Intestinal Parasites: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Intestinal parasites, commonly called intestinal worms or parasitic worms, are unicellular or multi-cellular organisms that infect the gastrointestinal tract of both humans and other animals and live off their host. Infection with parasitic worms occurs much more frequently than one might believe. While children are often more likely to get parasitic worms, adults that do not keep a rigorous hygiene can also be at risk. If left untreated, intestinal parasites infections can prove life-threatening.

Contaminated food or water, coming into contact with bowel movements and ingesting it as a result of poor hygiene can get one infected with a variety of parasitic worms, ranging from ascaris, giardia, the trichina worm to tapeworms, the hookworm and so on. While an intestinal parasite infection presents symptoms and can be diagnosed through simple tests, many people who are infected are often oblivious to the infection and let it go undiagnosed until the parasite starts causing more serious health problems.

Intestinal worms

The key to understanding parasitic infections of the gastrointestinal tract and the reason why they have such a harmful impact on one’s health lies in understanding what intestinal parasites are and what is their mechanism of infection. A parasite is an organism that lives in and feeds off another organism. Intestinal parasites, often referred to as intestinal worms or parasitic worms, are single-cell or multi-cell organisms that can potentially infect humans. They may be as little as a few millimeters or as big as a few meters, depending on their type.

Intestinal parasites go through three main phases of evolution: egg, larvae and adult. Again, depending on their type, they may reside in various animals (fish, rats, pigs, cows, humans, birds) and various parts of the body (intestines, lungs, liver, brain, eyes or lymphatic system).

Where can you find intestinal parasites? Intestinal parasites can live on fruits and vegetables, especially on crops fertilized naturally with animal manure coming from cows, pigs, sheep and so on. They can be found in the soil, almost everywhere, usually in the first 15 cm from the ground. They can be found in rivers, lakes and puddles. And because they can infect almost every living organism from mosquitoes, ants, wasps, fish, birds, pigs, cows, dogs, cats to humans, intestinal parasites are abundant in the bowel movements of all infected hosts and transmitted further from there.

Types of intestinal parasites

While there are intestinal parasites that prefer certain hosts, most can thrive off any living organism. Here are the most common 5 types of intestinal parasites that can infect humans:

1) Roundworms, half of which are parasitic. The most common type of roundworm infection is attributed to Ascaris lumbricoides, an intestinal parasite that causes ascariasis. This type of roundworm infects over 20% of the world’s population and cases occur just as frequently in developed countries with proper sanitation as they occur in developing ones. Children are a high risk category for Ascaris infection because they are more likely to play with pets or stray animals that haven’t been dewormed and thus may come into contact with parasite eggs from their bowel movements.

Ascaris eggs can remain dormant for years and become ‘active’ following ingestion. Ascaris parasites are highly dangerous because once the ingested eggs hatch, the larvae migrate from the intestines to the heart, lungs, liver and even eyes (or get lost in other organs) to then return to the intestines as adults ready to reproduce. If left untreated, ascariasis can lead to death (it is estimated that about 20,000 children die annually as a result of  severe Ascaris infection).

Signs and symptoms of an infection often include eliminating worms or eggs through stools, but more severe cases may include shortness of breath, nausea, diarrhea, bloody stools, fatigue, abdominal pain, vomiting worms. Fortunately, the infection can be detected easily through stool examination and treated successfully with mebendazole, taken orally.

2) Pinworms. The pinworm, also called threadworm or seatworm is another common intestinal parasite and a type of roundworm. Out of three major pinworm species, Enterobius vermicularis is the only one to potentially infect humans and cause what is known as enterobiasis. This type of pinworm completes its life cycle in 8-13 weeks and colonizes the gastro-intestinal tract. A telling sign of pinworm infestation is itching in the perineal area.

If the area is scratched, the eggs of this parasite get attached to fingernails, hands, underwear or bed linen, from where they can easily be transferred to the mouth and ingested. Pinworm infections have extremely high rates of (re)infection, which makes it common for most household member to become carriers of the parasite at one point. Following treatment, strict personal hygiene and household hygiene are imperative.

3) Flatworms. The most problematic types of flatworms for humans (and livestock) are tapeworms and flukes. Tapeworms are the ones that reach monstruous lengths of almost 17 meters. Usually, people become infected with tapeworm larvae after consuming poorly cooked food. The larvea thrives within the intestines by anchoring itself to intestinal walls with hooks and some specimens may live up to 20 years.

A mature female tapeworm can lay millions of eggs every day which are then excreted, increasing reinfestation risks. Infestation is dangerous because tapeworm larvae may migrate to the lungs or liver where they form cysts. Pork, beef, fish, dog and sheep tapeworms are the most common potential causes of tapeworm infestation.

While tapeworm infections may be asymptomatic, sometimes, the following signs and symptoms may appear: continuous hunger, weakness, tiredness due to nutrient deficiencies caused by the parasite feeding off its host, nausea, headaches, diarrhea, indigestion, even weight loss or failure to gain weight despite eating well. Taenia solium (the pork tapeworm), Taenia saginata (the beef tapeworm) and Taenis asiatica (the Asian tapeworm) are known to cause the disease known as taeniasis. In the final stages of taeniasis, the parasites reach the brain and may cause severe neurological problems.

4) Whipworms. Trichuris trichiura is a 30-50 millimeter roundworm known as the whipworm. It causes the disease known as trichuriasis, also called whipworm infection. The name of the parasite has to do with its appearance, reminiscent of a whip. Whipworm infection is estimated to affect about 10% of the world’s population annually as a result of oral contact with soil contaminated with whipworm eggs. While the infection may not show symptoms at all in many individuals, when the worm population in the intestines begins to rise, fatigue, abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea may appear.

Trichuriasis is more likely to occur in tropical and subtropical areas of developing countries, where sanitation is practically nonexistent. The infection occurs when people do not wash their fruits and vegetables properly, do not cook their food well or forget to wash their hands, especially after having contact with infected soil, animal or human bowel movements, both of which are often used as fertilizer.

5) Hookworms. Ancylostoma duodenale and Necator americanus are the main parasites causing hookworm infestation, known either as ancylostomiasis, or as necatoriasis. Hookworm infection occurs as a result of poor hygiene and infection rates are visibly higher in rural areas, tropical and subtropical regions, children, adults working in unsanitary conditions and so on. This type of parasite has a lifespan of around 5 years and inhabits the small intestine from where it feeds off blood. As a result, the most telling sign of infestation is anemia, closely followed by iron deficiency.

Unlike other intestinal parasites, hookworms usually infect people by penetrating their skin. For example, if you walk barefoot or handle infected soil, the larvae (and only them) transfer themselves to your skin, penetrate it to reach your circulatory system and then lungs. Their aim is to get to the trachea from where they are swallowed and end up in the intestines where they mature. A single female can lay up to 30,000 eggs in a day and larvae may remain dormant in tissues and become activated when other adult worms die.

Intestinal parasites

Some of these parasites fall into the category of protozoa (single-cell organisms), while the others into the category of helminths (multicellular organisms). An infection with the parasites known as helminths is called helminthiasis. It is estimated there are about 1 million species of parasites that may infect humans, as well as other animals. Most parasitic worms are thin, either round or flat and have a whitish-yellowish, sometimes transparent color.

While intestinal parasites feed off the nutrients we take from the food we eat, causing visible weight loss and growing hunger, others prefer blood, triggering anemia and iron deficiencies. When parasites grow in numbers, they become less discrete and telling symptoms such as rashes, itching in the groin area or eliminating live worms in stools may occur.

Depending on the type of parasite inhabiting one’s intestines, the degree of infection and the incubation period, intestinal parasite infestations may be more or less hard to detect. Usually, a doctor will examine one or more stool samples under the microscope to identify the parasites. It is also common for a doctor to place some duct tape around the anal region, then remove it to check it under the microscope for eggs. Ultrasounds are rarely used, but aim to locate parasites in the lymphatic system, while colonoscopies are only performed when your doctor suspects you have an intestinal parasite, but cannot find proof in stools (often because you may have only a few adults causing your health problems).

How to tell if you have intestinal parasites?

Here are the most telling 8 signs and symptoms you have an intestinal parasite:
1) Abdominal pain or tenderness.
2) Itching and rashes in the groin area.
3) Passing worms in stools.
4) Tiredness, fatigue.
5) Visible weight loss.
6) Increased appetite.
7) Gas, bloating, nausea and vomiting.
8) Diarrhea, often with blood.

Less common signs and symptoms associated with a severe intestinal parasite infestation include:
1) Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.
2) Difficulty falling asleep.
3) Screeching teeth during sleep.
4) Unexplained skin rashes, hives, rosacea or eczema.
5) Muscle or joint pain.
6) Frequent feelings of apathy, depression, chronic fatigue, anxiety.
7) Constant feeling of hunger.
8) Hypoglycemia.
9) B vitamins deficiency.
10) Excessive mucus in stools, often accompanied by visible (or invisible) traces of blood.
11) Cough.
12) Jaundice.
13) Night sweats or chills.
14) Colitis.

Some of these symptoms are caused by parasites releasing toxins or their bowel movements into the host’s bloodstream and are the result of a severe infestation. For this reason, they rarely occur in individuals in developed countries, but are more common in poor, developing countries lacking sanitation and good hygiene education.

Sources of infection

What causes an intestinal parasite infection?
1) Contaminated water.
2) Contaminated and unwashed fruits and vegetables.
3) Raw or uncooked contaminated meat.
4) Walking barefoot or handling contaminated soil.
5) Working with natural fertilizers such as human and animal manure.
6) Lack of good personal hygiene (hand washing) and sanitation (lack of toilets).

Tips to prevent infection

Once a person acquires an intestinal parasite and remains untreated, it is only a matter of time until he or she infects other members of the household, coworkers and so on. Seeing that transmission can occur fairly easily, prevention remains crucial in reducing both infection and reinfection rates. Here is how to prevent intestinal parasites:

1) Practice good hygiene. The most important thing you can do to prevent a great number of diseases, including intestinal parasites infections is to wash your hands thoroughly before you eat as well as before and after you use the toilet. Changing your bed linen and underwear regularly and washing them at high temperatures can help destroy excreted eggs and prevent infection of other people as well as reinfestation.

2) Drink clean water. Whether you have a certified clean water source, drink bottled water (which is best), filter or even boil and cool you drinking water, it is important to keep to your practice to avoid consuming contaminated water.

3) Wash your food and cook it well. Wash fruits and vegetables well before eating them and avoid consuming undercooked meat such as pork, beef or fish. Also, you may want to avoid foods fertilized with untreated human and animal manure.

4) Disinfect your shoes and house regularly. If you went for a walk in the park, leave your shoes at the door and change into a clean pair you use only inside the house. Disinfect your outsoles with diluted chlorine and do the same with the floors once in a while.

5) Avoid playing with unwormed animals. Stray cats and dogs and even household pets that have not been dewormed are very likely to carry one or more intestinal parasites that can infect humans. Being an adult, you will most likely wash your hands well after petting an unwormed animal, but children might put their hands into their mouth soon after touching the fur or tail of a stray animal, which might lead to the transmission of a potentially dangerous parasite.

How to treat intestinal parasites?

1) Medication used to treat intestinal parasites is called antihelmintic medication. It includes Benzimidazoles (mebendazole, albendazole, fenbendazole), Ivermectin, Praziquantel and so on. The most effective is mebendazole therapy, often prescribed in one dose or smaller doses taken over a period of three days, twice a day, with a last dose recommended 10-14 days after the completion of the first treatment (to kill remaining eggs).

What is interesting is that mebendazole has shown promising results in cancer treatment as well, with testimonies showing that it can induce partial and total remission in terminal cancer patients. It was shown to help reduce tumor size and prevent further cancer spread.

2) Surgery. This is a last resort and is recommended only in cases of extremely severe intestinal parasites infestation, when worms clump together in the abdomen, for example, expanding it visibly and putting great strain on the host’s body. Such cases are only seen in individuals living in extreme poverty, lacking hygiene possibilities. If the condition is left untreated and ends up in worms clumping together in various parts of the body (intestines, lymphatic system), medication is no longer effective and surgery becomes imperative.


While it may not seem as much of an issue, remember that intestinal parasites are extremely dangerous and can lead to long-term health problems. For example, Toxocara canis, an ascarid found in unwormed pet dogs, which can infect humans as well, can damage the heart muscle, the liver, the retina, cause seizures and coma. Another parasite appears to increase bladder cancer risks in adults, while many cause retarded physical and cognitive development in children. Basic hygiene rules and prevention can mean the world.

This post was updated on Monday / July 13th, 2020 at 6:37 PM

72 thoughts on “Worms and Intestinal Parasites: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment”

  1. This article is informative to me as I suspect I have one of these parasites. I want to known which foods especially vegetables destroy these parasites in the body.

    • Hello, Sandile. My honest opinion is that if you suspect you have an intestinal parasite, you should go see a doctor and get a prescription for antiparasitic medication. Antiparasitics are by far the most efficient for dealing with worms and intestinal parasites. While certain foods such as ginger, garlic, onions, oregano, cardamom, cloves, black walnuts may have a protective action, their effect is very likely not strong enough to cure an existing parasite infection. At most, they have a mild protective action and may be consumed to prevent a potential infestation. But, honestly, it really depends on the type of parasite, the source of the infection, the magnitude of the infection, your tolerance of these foods (many foods for intestinal parasites such as ginger may upset hemorrhoids, garlic and onions may worsen acid reflux, gastritis and so on). In any case, the surest way to get rid of parasites is with a prescription from you doctor. Wishing you lots of health.

  2. Been dealing with pinworms and have taken mebendazole as directed, almost 3 months, haven’t come back. There are several cases at elementary school. Using food grade diatomaceous earth to prevent intestinal parasites, also probiotics, coconut oil and eating garlic. Due to pricing in US, could not afford enverm for my husband and myself, only my child. Found mebendazole at the market in Spain for mom and dad. Counting on the DE to keep them away. Saw 1 worm on child January 10, none since.

    • Hello, Lee. If you are taking the medication prescribed to you (mebendazole), then you should get rid of intestinal parasites for good. But you do have to prevent re-infestation. If there are still children with intestinal parasites at your child’s school, then you and your family have to keep to strict hygiene rules to prevent getting the worms again. For example, it is extremely important to wash your hands throughout the day, before eating especially, avoid touching your mouth if you haven’t washed you hands first, keep nails short (intestinal parasites eggs can get under the nails and from there we may end up ingesting them) and wash undergarments and towels at 90 degrees Celsius if possible (in case there are eggs on them). If you suspect a re-infestation, go to the doctor. Wishing you lots of health.

  3. My 8 yr old daughter has been vomiting spasmodically (strangely weekends only, and usually 4 or 5 am) for over 6 months. Some months it’s every weekend, others sometimes can be weeks without vomiting. She has recently had a stool test, blood tests, allergy tests, ultrasounds completed with the only answer being she had cryptosporidium. Could it be that this parasite has infected her gut so badly that it remains there? She’s vomited again today and has been in pain for 24 hrs. We are under the care of a pediatric gastroenterologist who is suggesting we wait for second stool test results and if she still has cryptosporidium an important conversation must be had. What could this important conversation be?

    • Hi, Rochelle. I can only assume that the doctor is concerned with making your daughter healthy again and is making serious efforts to find the right treatment for her. From my experience and knowledge, worms and intestinal parasites in general can be very difficult to get rid of, especially in children who often overlook the importance of strict hygiene and generally have more opportunities to be exposed to intestinal parasites. Cryptosporidium is one of those parasites that are extremely difficult to treat, but incredibly easy to get. They can infect drinking water, untreated sources of water (wells, lakes), swimming pools (chlorine is not always efficient against them) etc. and are prevalent among children and people with a compromised or weakened immune system. What’s worse is that the parasitic infection can return if the parasite is still present around us.

      Managing and treating cryptosporidium infestations and all intestinal parasites infections focuses on taking the right antiparasitic medication and preventing a recurrence of the parasite. The medication will be recommended by your doctor and needs to be taken accordingly. As for strict hygiene, it is recommended to:
      1) Wash hands throroughly multiple times a day, especially before eating and after going to the toilet.
      2) Use a liquid soap (it’s more hygienic).
      3) Boil drinking water is you suspect water sources are contaminated.
      4) Wash fruits and vegetables you may eat raw with clean, uncontaminated water.
      5) Take profilactic treatment. If a member of the family has an intestinal worm, everyone can get it too.
      In the case of small children, day cares and other similar venues can be a source of recurrent infection.
      6) Avoid swimming pools until the infection is cleared (we can transmit the parasite to others too for several weeks after getting rid of it, through the eggs we continue to eliminate).
      7) Pets can, in some cases, transmit a form of this parasite too, so take your cat or dog to the vet for tests.
      8) Wash undergarments, towels and changing pads at 90 degrees Celsius to eliminate potential parasites and their eggs.
      9) Keep nails short.
      10) Avoid touching your mouth or face with your hand.
      11) Disinfect floors, table and other surfaces.

      Experts also recommend to manage the symptoms: diarrhea and vomiting causing dehydration. Whether you are and adult or a child, dehydration can be dangerous. It is recommended to stay hydrated by drinking water, herbal teas or, even better, electrolyte solutions or sports drinks with electrolytes etc. It is important to also eat well and take multivitamins to keep the body strong to fight infection. Zinc, vitamin C for the immune system, B vitamins for energy and appetite and so on. When I had nausea and would feel like vomiting if I ate, I would make myself a bowl of plain, boiled white rice and maybe grated a fresh apple on top. That was the only thing I could eat without vomiting. Wishing you lots of health and hope to hear good news.

  4. Hey, what might be the causes of the absence of fish parasites on the skin, intestines and gills of the fish? Thank you.

    • Hi, Andries. I don’t understand what you are referring to. Can you please be more specific?

  5. Suffering from shortness of breath, saliva from mouth on bed which is unusual for me and itching in the sensitive area, extreme fatigue. Please help me identify type of parasite. I bought benzimidazole and was told to take 200mg pills a day for 3 days and another after 14 days.

    • Hi, Bob. If you haven’t yet, see a doctor. And take the medication you have been prescribed as recommended. The first cycle is to eliminate mature intestinal worms or parasites and, after 14 days, their eggs. So follow your health care provider’s recommendations. Also, it is important to maintain a strict hygiene by washing hands before and after eating, keeping nails short and clean, washing underclothes with hot water (90 degrees Celsius), washing fruits and vegetables well, cooking meat thoroughly etc. If symptoms persists after completing the treatment, have some tests to see if you still have intestinal parasites or if you are suffering from another condition altogether. Wishing you lots of health.

    • Yes, it is possible. But an intestinal worms infestation doesn’t show symptoms right away. At this point it can be intestinal worms, something you ate that didn’t agree with you, stress or several other possible causes. If the symptoms persist, make sure you make an appointment with your doctor. Hope this helps.

  6. I’m making an appt tomorrow, but I’ve been having very short breath and sometimes the feeling of a lot of caffeine but I don’t consume caffeine since I’m very sensitive to it. Also my stomach has been hurting and I get really hungry but once I start to eat, I lose appetite and feel nausea. I guess I just want to know if worms could be the cause and what the severe symptoms are. Given I take care of myself very well and am always on edge about what I consume, I wouldn’t think anything could have caused them. But I am worried.

    • Hello, Ameila. Intestinal worms can give some very strange symptoms, for example, you are always hungry and eat a lot, but lose weight or feel low on energy. Truthfully, you never know if you have intestinal parasites because they are so easy to get even with great hygiene. So see a doctor and have a test called a coproculture which can tell you if you have intestinal worms or not. Even if you do, it’s easy to get rid of them with medication. But considering the symptoms you describe, your problem might very well be stomach-related. Gastritis can make you really hungry or make your stomach hurt. Hunger is also an ulcer symptom, along with pain (the ulcer hunger pangs). Peptic ulcers can cause one to lose appetite and feel nauseous as well as throw up. And the feeling you get, the shortness of breath and the caffeine-like rush you experience can be caused by the stomach juices going up into the esophagus (acid reflux). I’ve experienced the same two symptoms when I had gastritis. So you could also tell your doctor about these symptoms, describe your diet and lifestyle and ask to know if you might have gastritis or a stomach ulcer. These are usually diagnosed via ultrasound (or ecography), an endoscopy (or gastroscopy) or other tests and exams. Hope this helps.

  7. I always have this indigestion. Any time I eat food it will not go down because I will be feeling it around my neck. What could cause that pls?

    • Hello, Emmanuel. It is possible that what you are experiencing is a globus sensation (when you feel like you have a lump in the throat). This can be a result of stress, anxiety, acid reflux disease, eating foods that are too dry or hard, taking large bites of food, maybe an injury from food. In any case, you should see a doctor. Tell the doctor if you experience other symptoms like pain or if the food actually gets stuck and when this sensation started. This is important information that will help with the diagnosis. Wishing you lots of health.

  8. Hello, it’s Monica. Of late, I have been having diarrhea for about two weeks and stopped after taking raw aloe vera juice mixed with warm water. However, I have an itching problem after passing out stool. This is really so uncomfortable. To make it worse, I also started having an abnormal bleeding or spotting. I was given Albendazole (single doze) thinking it could be the cause of my anemia. I have done several ultra scans to see if I have the fibroid and cervical cancer screening but all came out negative. I also had a hormonal balance test and my results were positive and I was given medication. My worry is that I do not know what could be causing the continuous bleeding. Is there any other possible cause that my docs haven’t seen? Help needed.

    • Hello, Monica. Abnormal uterine bleeding is often a result of hormonal imbalances that may or may not have other causes (that’s why you had tests to rule out fibroids and cervical cancer). Polyps, endometriosis, infection, pregnancy, antibiotics, thyroid disease like hypothyroidism and even stress are all potential causes. Most of the time, however, it’s hormonal imbalances and the recommended treatment is hormone medication. Sometimes, no treatment is recommended, more exactly when no dangerous underlying cause can be found following tests and symptoms are not bothersome. Your age is also a deciding factor in determining the choice of treatment. I understand how worrisome this must be for you. Not knowing can be the worst sometimes because it has you lacking control of the situation. For you peace of mind, you can have regular non-invasive tests to simply monitor things. Sometimes, it takes time for a treatment to produce the desired effects, so give your treatment time to work. I don’t know if you find this piece of information useful, but some experts recommend taking vitamin C supplements for 3 to 6 months to help treat hormonal imbalances. You can discuss this further with your doctor and see if it might be helpful for you. Stay strong and wishing you lots of health.

  9. I am an 18-year old unmarried girl. I have been suffering from constipation for 18 days. Also, I had lower right abdomen pain. I tested my stool where there were seen no ova, but cyst and parasites are seen. Actually, I want to know what’s going on there.

    • Hello, Jony. Based on what you are saying, it appears you have intestinal parasites. In this case, you need treatment from your doctor. Studies suggest mebendazole is the most efficient and well tolerated treatment for worms and intestinal parasites, with cure rates as high 100%. So make an appointment with your doctor and start your treatment. As for the constipation, you should also investigate this further with your doctor. The best treatment for constipation is usually eating sufficient dietary fiber from food sources such as vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruits or whole grains and drinking plenty of liquids, especially water. Wishing you lots of health.

  10. I have been having this stool problem for days now. I took imodium, but it still didn’t stop. My belly makes a lot of sounds whenever I eat anything and I go to the toilet immediately after the sounds. Do you think this is some kind of parasite? And please, what causes hemorrhoids and what’s the solution to them?

    • It is important to go see a doctor. It is possible that a relentless diarrhea like this (if you are referring to diarrhea when you say you go to the bathroom continuously) has a bacterial or parasitic cause. In this case, it is an infectious diarrhea and the imodium won’t help. So go to the doctor as soon as possible. Also, tell the doctor what you ate in the days before the symptoms started. Were you on vacation somewhere and ate local food or maybe drank water that wasn’t bottled? Tell the doctor if you have other symptoms like headaches, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and anything you may have noticed about the condition. And yes, bacteria and protozoa, a type of parasite, can cause infectious diarrhea. For more information on what causes hemorrhoids and what to eat for them, please read the article on foods to eat and to avoid for hemorrhoids. Remember, go to the doctor as soon as possible. Also, to counteract the dehydration caused by too frequent trips to the bathroom, it is important to drink plenty of liquids like water or herbal teas and replenish lost minerals with the help of electrolyte solutions or supplements or sports drinks with vitamins and minerals. Wishing you lots of health.

  11. Hello, my granddaughter is 11 months old. And has had pinworms for 3 months. She has had Dr. Reese’s pinworm medicine, and it kills some but in two days they are back. I wonder if medicine will damage? I have given it to the siblings and myself. Any suggestions? This is getting old.

    • Hello, Denise. Because your granddaughter is still an infant, it is important you talk to a pediatrician about the best medication for her. Anthelmintic medicines are often not given to children younger than 2 years because of fear of side effects, so only a pediatrician can advise you in this respect.

      What you need to know is that intestinal parasites spread very easily to other members of the family and the surroundings through eggs, so an infection can persist in a household indefinitely unless you disinfect surfaces, objects and clothes. It is recommended to practice an excellent hygiene while the members of the family are following the first and second course of treatment for intestinal parasites and their eggs. Maintain the same level of hygiene some time afterwards. Bed sheets, pillow cases, towels, clothes you wear beneath outer clothes and pajamas should be washed every day at 90 degrees Celsius. Toilets and other surfaces in the house should be disinfected to destroy potential eggs. Washing your hands multiple times a day, especially before and after eating is crucial. Avoid putting your hands in your mouth and scratching if it feels itchy. Disinfects bottles, pacifiers and other similar objects. Again, talk to the pediatrician about the best treatment option for your granddaughter and the rest of the family in the likelihood the parasites were transmitted to the rest of you too. Wishing you lots of health.

  12. Hello. For about 2 years now my digestion has changed. Once I came home from vacation, the following evening I felt terrible. When I was about to fall asleep, my legs and arms jumped into the air, my stomach was bubbling, I spent the whole night on the toilet, lost 5 kg. This went on for a few weeks or so, I saw doctors, even a neurologist, because sometimes I felt numbness in my limbs. Nothing. An endocrinologist figured I have Hashimoto’s, prescribed me something for that, plus magnesium, calcium, vitamin D, selenium. I still take them, but my core problem is not resolved. At the very first time my intention was it was something in my stomach and bowels, but the gastroenterologist was not very thorough.
    Since then I have been having these symptoms: cannot gain weight, sometimes not hungry for a day, sometimes no matter how much I eat, I’m still hungry, tired most of the time, in the early days I had strange rashes on my skin, tremors on different parts of my body, my stool is almost always with mucus, very stinky (nothing like before, before it was just normal stool), when I’m about to fall asleep I have sudden and scary awakenings, no order in going to the toilet, joint and muscle pain. How likely do you think it is I have parasites?
    Thanks, B.

    • I am sorry to hear about your health problems, Brad. It’s incredibly frustrating to not have answers with all of these symptoms present. If you suspect you may have contracted a worm or intestinal parasite, take a stool test to see if there are any parasites or eggs. If the test comes clean, you can either repeat it and make sure the doctor checks for even more parasites, or ask the doctor to give you a prophylactic treatment, just in case the parasites may not appear, but are there. Also, talk to your doctor about recommending a broad-spectrum antihelminthic agent with a greater efficacy.

      Also, considering you are not pleased with your visit to the gastroenterologist, maybe you should make a second appointment for a more thorough examination. Write down all of your symptoms, especially those of a digestive nature: mucus in stools, bad smell, consistency of stools, frequency of bowel movements, if there is abdominal pain or blood in the stools etc. Ask the specialist to recommend tests that look at the possible causes of these digestive symptoms and tell him to go through the results with you so you can understand your diagnosis better. Digestive conditions that could result in symptoms similar to yours can have an autoimmune cause and it is possible both your digestive problems and hypothyroidism have resulted from an underlying immune system problem. Hashimoto’s disease is, after all, an autoimmune hypothyroidism. And muscle and joint pain often has an autoimmune cause as well. This would explain the wide range of symptoms and different organs and systems being affected (stomach, thyroid, metabolism, joints, muscles, sleep pattern). In any case, it is important to investigate all of your symptoms and find the best treatment options for you. Wishing you lots of health and hope to hear back from you with good news.

    • Hey Brad, I hope you find your treatment and healthy right now. But what you wrote is exactly what I experienced. And I also have same symptoms and Hashimoto’s too. But overall I had already seen the parasites in the stool before the symptoms appeared but during the time I tried different treatments but was not successful. After 3 years I decided to repeat the treatment with broad spectrum anti-helminthic and this time I was successful (I don’t know the percentage though). My major is Molecular Biology (I know and research a lot of things about them) and there is a huge evidence in the literature those parasites induce auto-immune disease in the body. If you can please contact a good doctor and consider this parasitic infection in your body. If you want to contact with me we can discuss further. Thank you.

  13. I am looking for pictures of such parasites and can’t find them in here? Not sure if these are what I have.

    • Hello, Collette. Unfortunately, we do not have an image gallery for worms and intestinal parasites. But it wouldn’t help you much to look at pictures because there are so many different types of parasites and most are microscopic. Even some that are visible without a microscope are hard to distinguish clearly. Here are some signs and symptoms of worms and other intestinal parasites you can look for:

      1) The obvious, passing worms in the stool. The visible ones are tiny, often white or semi-transparent, but also brown, red-brown, string-like in shape. They can be as small as half a cm or several cm in length. Some parasites like the tapeworm can grow to 6 meters in length but people don’t usually eliminate them whole, but in pieces and after treatment.
      2) Itching, especially at night or early in the morning could be a symptom of intestinal worms.
      3) Holes in stools, as if something really tiny has passed through them.
      4) Constant bloating, distended stomach.
      5) Abdominal tenderness, pain.
      6) Weight loss, weakness, tiredness.
      7) Paleness.
      8) Nausea, vomiting.
      9) Loose stools or inexplicable diarrhea.
      10) Occasionally bad breath and stomach gas.

      But know that most of these symptoms apply to other medical conditions as well. If you suspect you have intestinal parasites, see your doctor and have a coproculture, a test in which they analyze a sample of stool under the microscope. You can also ask your doctor for a prophylactic treatment for intestinal parasites, but remember not all antihelminthic medications are equally effective. Hope this helps.

  14. Worms loosing in stools, black headed. Age 38 and weight 50 kg, hb 6.7. Is it possible the absence of iron or vitamins to cause worms again and again? I have taken mebendazole for 3 days. I just need a chance to live. Help me.

    • If you are dealing with a severe intestinal worms infection, please see your doctor. Your doctor will need to investigate what type of intestinal parasite you have and prescribe you the best medicine for it. Your doctor will prescribe a first round of treatment for the worms and a second round of treatment usually a week later for any remaining parasite eggs.
      And yes, it is possible for vitamin and mineral deficiencies to encourage intestinal worms infections because nutritional deficiencies cause low immunity and this could make it easier for certain intestinal parasites to infect the gastrointestinal tract. However, low iron, low vitamin B12 and other nutritional deficiencies could be a result of having intestinal parasites. So please see a doctor as soon as you can for adequate treatment. Wishing you lots of health and hope to hear back from you with good news.

  15. Hello! I came across a medical computer diagnostic which claims that worms and other parasites can be detected by it. Before this I’ve only known that parasites can be identified and diagnosed through lab in stool samples. Would love to hear your opinion regarding this new tool.

    • Hello, Jennifer. I have not heard of this but I would be interested to know what type of medical equipment is this and how exactly does it diagnose intestinal parasites. Stool samples are currently the most efficient way of diagnosing intestinal parasites but any new medical developments are always welcomed.

    • Don’t listen to Marius. Stool samples are notoriously inaccurate. It is usually worthwhile to look into more involved tests if parasites are suspected. It is estimated by some experts that taking a stool swab, which is the maximum extent to which most MDs in the US attempt to diagnose larger parasites, results in less than a 5% detection rate even when there is an infection in the digestive tract. Of course, this technique is competely useless for parasites which are outside the digestive tract. This may explain why conventional medicine is seemingly oblivious on the potential extent of parasitic infection.

    • Hello, Miya. If you read again, you’ll see that I wrote that stool samples are an efficient way of identifying intestinal parasites, emphasis on intestinal. This is because the life cycle of such organisms often involves elimination of both adult parasites and their eggs in stools. What adds to the accuracy of this test is the fact that doctors can collect stool samples from different days, consecutive days and repeat this test to be sure there are no parasites (these steps alone account for a great variety of intestinal parasites life cycles). Not to mention the test is easy, pain-free which makes a patient more willing to submit additional stool samples. So yeah, all of this makes for a pretty accurate test for intestinal parasites, at least in my opinion.

      Naturally, for other types of parasites, different investigation methods are required. Parasites that form cysts in organs are discovered using MRI, CAT scan or X-ray testing. Parasites that produce an immune system reaction that involves the release of antibodies in the blood are best identified through blood testing for specific antibodies. While parasites that live in the blood are seen in blood smear tests.

      Different tests are accurate for different types of parasites, but a stool test remains pretty accurate for a great deal of intestinal parasites, if performed correctly. This means that the doctor should ask questions about your symptoms, lifestyle, such as potential food sources of parasites (raw or undercooked meat, from beef to slugs or fresh lettuce or unpasteurized apple juice), recent events, mostly travels, in order to determine if it’s an intestinal parasite that is prevalent where you live, one that is endemic to areas you’ve traveled to or one whose life cycle is dependent on a certain food group. And based on this, look for certain parasites in stools. Or if it’s another parasite entirely. The doctor should ask for multiple samples from consecutive and different days and repeat the test or give prophylactic treatment, based on their research and findings. Overall, it adds up to an accurate diagnosis for intestinal parasites.

  16. I just collected stool for a colon DNA test. I noticed the stool had many white things about the size of small soft grains of rice. I am wondering if these are worm eggs of some sort, or perhaps segments of a tape worm. I am hoping the lab that does the DNA test will report back if this is the case. Any ideas or predictions of what the little white things are? I haven’t eaten anything (rice or corn) that could come through undigested that resembles these things. I am an 83 yr old female.

    • Hello, Betty. By any chance, have you eaten almonds or sesame seeds recently? Because I get these small white particles in the stools when I eat almonds or sesame seeds, most likely because I don’t chew all of them extremely well and they sort of come through undigested. It would be possible for other nuts and seeds to do the same.

      At the same time, it’s a possibility you have intestinal parasites. Some worms and their eggs are tiny and white in color and could appear in stools. Now I’m not sure if the DNA test will be able to identify the exact parasite species because there are so many of them and usually even specialty tests look for particular species and sometimes omit others simply because they weren’t looking for them. But since these grain-like white particles are so visible, the doctors doing the DNA test should be able to tell if they are parasites and further recommend a coproculture stool test to identify the species and recommend treatment. Try to think if you have had any of the symptoms listed in the article, which could indicate if there is a possibility you have intestinal parasites. At the same time, know that not all intestinal parasites infections lead to symptoms, so a stool test would be your best chance at knowing for sure. Hope this helps and wishing you lots of health.

  17. I can actually see and feel what I think are parasites in my lower extremities (shins), lower back, shoulders, arms, hands, neck, and face. My hair is also inexplicably thinning. At first I thought I had some sort of neurological disorder, but I’m sure that’s not it. Is it too late once these have left the intestinal track? I’ve resorted to everything, a change of diet that includes raw fruits and vegetables, some cooked veggies, and very little meat (chicken). I’ve used black walnut hulls, oregano oil, and wormwood extracts and they only seem to tax my kidneys. I’ve used 100% gum spirits of turpentine, which revealed parasites clearly in my stool, but did not rid them from my entire body. I’ve also resorted to all types of candida cleanse methods, and nothing seems to be working. Please offer me a solution before I die.

    • Hello, James. First of all, please answer the following questions:
      1) Have you seen a doctor for the intestinal worms you say you have?
      2) Did you have a stool test to identify the exact type of intestinal parasite?
      3) Did you receive medication from your doctor to treat the parasitic infection (example: mebendazole)?

      These are important steps for the successful treatment of intestinal parasites. If you have not been to the doctor yet, please make an appointment, have a stool test and talk to your doctor about what the best treatment option is for you. Once again, if you haven’t gone to the doctor, it’s not too late yet. Just make an appointment as soon as possible.

      I am going to be honest with you here: I do not believe in alternative remedies for intestinal parasites. Very often, the parasites are too resilient to respond to natural treatments and only medication from your doctor can help clear the infection for good, especially the new generation of eggs. And it’s just as important to make a distinction between certain foods having antiparasitic effects and these effects being strong enough to produced desired outcomes. What this means is that even though oregano oil, for example, may be toxic to parasites, in the amounts that is safe for you to use it, it will probably not clear all the parasites.

      This being said, you’ve reported that some of the natural treatments you’ve tried have had side effects, especially on your kidneys. It it important to discontinue the use of all natural antiparasitic products you have been taking up until now that cause these side effects and see a doctor if the symptoms you are experiencing do not stop. Such side effects are signs that these products are really not good for your body and can result in toxicity.

      I am also curious to why you would so drastically change your diet. You should know that an intestinal parasite does not discriminate between sources of food: whatever food keeps you alive and healthy will also nourish the respective parasite. And a drastic change in diet like excluding meat products to such an extent is more likely to affect you than the parasite. For example, by eating very little meat you are depriving yourself of essential B vitamins that you need for good digestion, muscle health, nervous system health and energy metabolism. And of protein you need for healthy hair, muscles and brain health.

      And here is something you might find interesting: severe protein deficiency affects hair, causing thin, brittle hair that falls off. Serious B vitamins deficiencies can cause neurological symptoms, possibly of the likes you are experiencing when you say you feel parasites in your lower extremities, back, arms etc. It’s just like when you feel pins and needles in your muscles, your eyelid twitching or a large portion of a muscle just moving rhythmically all on its own.

      Because there are so many causes behind all sorts of symptoms and because even natural products have side effects, it is important to see a doctor and address all of these symptoms you have described to me. Remember that it’s not normal to feel unwell when on a natural remedy and often times, people misinterpret signs of toxicity as signs to detoxification. That is not true. Detoxification does not hurt. If it did, it would mean you would be too sick to even live. So please see a real doctor. Waiting to hear back from you with good news.

  18. ‘NO’ to all three of your questions.

    Thank you, as your reply makes me feel a lot better. I’m going to see a doctor this morning, hell or high water! In the meantime, I’ve passed up some good meals here lately, including some baked haddock that I cooked last night, but was afraid to eat. I’m about to go handle that right now!

    Thanks again…I’ll most definitely reply back with good news.

    • I am so happy to hear you are going to the doctor and to see you are tackling the issue with such responsibility. As a side note, you should know that it is important to cook fish very well because fish too may be carries of certain parasites. I prefer to boil fish or eat canned fish (it’s been pasteurized at high temperatures that make it safe to eat), but the important thing is to just cook it well, thoroughly.
      Wishing you lots of health!

  19. I have been infected with threadworm (not pinworm!) for 4 months. I have had repeated treatment with first mebendazole, 6 weeks worth daily, pyrantel pomoate alternately with above to no effect. Treatment then went to Ivermectin 3mg x 3 tabs, now had 4 times, albendazole, 2 tabs twice a day for 3 days, now had 4 times. I find the medications make symptoms extreme for about 4 days then it settles slightly before flaring up again. I am all about hygiene, shower morning and night and wash throughout the day when needed. I have tried internal cleansing, ceased all sugars, refined carbs, processed foods. Added all anti parasitic foods to what little diet I have, used or using wormwood, black walnut, DE, MSM, clove bud oil, oregano oil, coconut oil, garlic, bitter melon, neem leaf tea, colon cleanse, flax seeds and oil, pineapple, papaya seeds, probiotics, pumpkin seeds, colloidal silver and copper, neem oil, aloe vera, Ivermectin cream, anti Parasitic cream, scabies cream, lice wash, borax, bi-carb, Hydrogen Peroxide, you name it…the list goes on and on. I purchased a home steamer, air purifier, house gets scrubbed daily, everything washed in hot water, sun dried then put in dryer daily, all surfaces hot washed and steamed, vacuumed daily, toilet and shower cleaned after every use, you name it..worn dust masks the lot! My husband and father have both had it too although not to the extent I have. I’ve had 6 maybe 7 stool tests come back negative! I can assure you I have the evidence of this parasite. Dr. has seen so confirmation is not a problem however to prescribe longer term medication we need a pos test result. Stool samples are very unreliable. Threadworm do not lay eggs inside therefore eggs deposited outside need to be found in the small sample of stool actually examined under the microscope. I have had laboratory confirm lack of reliable testing. Also blood testing here only tests for bacteria released by parasite which points to infection also elevated white blood cell count. I’ve been told I have a severe infestation, yet results are all negative apart from elevated white cell and other things that were put down to health issues I already have. Very, very frustrating. I have them in my nose, lungs (showed up on xray) and every area downstairs including bladder. They come out of my mouth and make me vomit with how disgusting it is. I am so ill with these rotten things. Contracted from eating vegetable grown in soil purchased from a landscape business. Even though all vegetables regardless of where it comes from is washed and soaked in apple cider vinegar and washed well. Apparently there is a marked increase in cases in our local area, some people having found threadworm in their home water supply! I have other health conditions, some serious, including immune deficiency, no thyroid function etc. Apparently that’s why I’m so infected. This is the worst thing I have ever been through. It’s not just a little bit of itching. Insomnia, nausea, stomach pain, fever, chest/rib pain, urinary infections, digestive issues, sore eyes, headaches, hair falling out in chunks, rashes, crawling, itching, extreme fatigue or hyperactivity, it just doesn’t stop! I’ve seen an infectious disease specialist who, me being his first ever case, found it disgusting and said to just let my GP deal with it! Humiliation and distress. I want my, albeit limited, life back! I want to see my children and grandchildren whom I haven’t seen for 4 months. Not even at Christmas which we had to cancel. I can’t go anywhere because I couldn’t stand to put anyone else through this and it’s so infectious. I need help. This has cost us thousands we couldn’t afford and it’s not going away. I apparently have auto-infections. How do I get rid of this? Please!

    • Hello, Kath. I am so sorry to hear about this. Your situation is made difficult by existing health issues which can make it hard for a doctor to separate symptoms and provide a clear diagnosis. Can you please answer me this: did any of the tests you had show you had threadworms specifically? Or were there other parasites too? I am asking you this because threadworm is not that hard of an infection to clear, especially after all this treatment you’ve had. But other parasites may need more specific treatments. It is possible, and this is only a theory, that you might have contracted not one, but two different parasites that could have caused your health issues. For example, an intestinal parasite like the threadworm and another parasite that is evolved to infect the urinary tract and bladder. Some parasites like these may only show up in blood tests looking for specific antibodies which could explain why your stool tests are clean. Or they may show up only in urinary tests or endoscopy. Before anything else, please make an appointment with your doctor and discuss this possibility. Depending on what the doctor tells you, we may talk further. Wishing you lots of health.

    • I relate to all your saying. You told my story. I’ve come to be so disgusted. I’m not 100 percent sure yet bit after 4 yrs of trying everything even turpentine which actually I have started it up with another product that is working, HOMOZON. I don’t know how I came across it, yet in my desperate attempt to get better I ordered it. Scary, I thought I’d seen everything. I’ve been taking it for 2 months now. The things coming are scary. The first 2 weeks I was on the toilet often. The things came out and still unbelievable. This stuff works. It may be 6 months, yet I’m getting feeling back in my free and legs. I am desperate because like you I’ve lost my life. These things have stolen everything from me and I’m at the point if this is forever I want it to end. If you have cancer at least you can talk about it. This infection no one wants to admit it exists and I know it does. Drs don’t want to deal with it. It has been a silent hell for me. Do many times I’ve wanted to give up. It’s a very lonely existence and thousands are suffering as we are. We have had to rely on the internet and basically be our own Dr. My heart goes out to you. I felt your pain especially about spreading it . I think a lot about that. I still use several other of my treatments because I’m very scared. Yet HOMOZON which is oxygen therapy has been a true miracle to me. It’s a powder been around over 100 yrs. Not dangerous. Your story touched me so needed to share this with you. God bless you.

    • OMG this is my story. Been to infectious diseases, Dr. did nothing. I see a couple different kinds now. Pinworms and threadworms in my feet, face and whatever lives in sinuses, my hair, my ears and my eyes. Now all I do is suffer in silence. Dr. and ER thought I may need crises not I feel them move and see them move, I cannot get Dr. to take me seriously even with chest cough, feeling like I have pneumonia and hard to breathe. Two weeks went to color hair, started burning and like things were jumping out of hair. I already have PID and am severely anemic as though this doesn’t help me I’m not alone.

    • I am sorry to hear this, Cheryl. Can you talk to your doctor to just give you a prophylactic treatment for worms and intestinal parasites?

  20. I have have been diagnosed with worms by my Naturopath for 4 times now in the last 7 months! She uses a Vega machine so I’ve no idea what type of worm or parasite it is. On this occasion I was suffering a sharp pain for a few days on my left side before I went to see the Naturopath. She tested me yet again with the Vega machine and said my liver was not working properly either! I’ve been taking the herbal treatment she prescribed for 4 days and I feel so tender and sore in my gut in fact I feel worse than I did. Not only that I feel so very bloated and even after going to the toilet (which I’ve done loads of) I still feel that I have not emptied my bowel. I even took some Movical yesterday to try and help shift if there was a bit of a blockage.
    On a couple of occasions I have noticed in my stools very soft matter with a couple of little pellets of very hard stool. Could I have a blockage which is making it easier for me to have parasites?
    Yesterday I passed a couple of bright red things in my stool which alarmed me I thought it was red pepper but I hadn’t eaten any of that. One was a ball I thought it was a ball of blood then on prodding it I saw it was not a ball but a firm almost rubbery texture something about 5 mm long? The second piece was about 10 mm long with one side smooth and the other side looked like a lumpy texture (like the little lumps on a chicken skin before it’s cooked).
    These things were bright red and I’ve kept one in a tube to show my doctor. What on earth could it be? When I went back to look at it in the tube it’s now really dark brown. I’m scared that I’ve got a massive worm in my body and that was bits of it breaking off.
    Please help me!

    • Hello, Jo. First of all, if the herbal treatment is making you feel worse than before, stop taking it. No natural treatment and no form of detoxification should make you feel worse. Do you know what’s in it first of all? Because the bloating could be because it contains lots of fiber or because it contains strong laxative herbs. It is possible these plants have either irritated your digestive system themselves or upset you as a result of their laxative properties. And this could be making you feel like you still have to go. As long as you eat anything and take laxatives or herbal preparations with laxative properties, you will keep having lots of bowel movements and keep feeling like there is more. And this is not necessarily good in the long run because your digestive system need time to process food properly and nourish you and hurrying it like that is not healthy.
      Also, a lot of obscure herbal preparations can be contaminated with heavy metals which could cause various symptoms such as loose stools, bloating, feeling of unwell, sharp pains, liver problems and so on, so make sure you know the origin and contents of the preparations you are taking. If the pain in your side has started after taking the herbal preparation, it would be wise to discontinue it because there is a chance that preparation has caused it in the first place.
      So unless your doctor prescribes laxatives for a chronic form of constipation, you don’t need to take them. Manage your bowel movements frequency and stool consistency naturally with a soothing tea once a day, fruits, vegetables, dried fruits, nuts and seeds.

      Now about the difference in stools consistency, namely the pellets of hard stool in softer stools. Sometimes when you go to the bathroom but you can’t pass everything, what is left will be dehydrated so the next time you have a bowel movement, it can come out like a stool with normal consistency with some hard lumps mixed in. This can also happen when you hold your bowel movements for too long. Again, the remedy for this is to go to the bathroom the moment you need to, drink plenty of water and eat enough fiber from sources such as bananas, pears with skin, apples with skin, kiwifruit, dried plums, dried figs, nuts, seeds etc.

      As for the red things, if it’s not peppers, could it be tomatoes? Have you eaten any fresh tomatoes with skin or tomato sauce with pulp in the last few days? Goji berries can also come out like that, sometimes watermelon, red apples, grapes or other red fruits with skin, and there must be others foods too. All of these can result in bits of bright red, rubbery particles in stools. Usually parasites are too small to be seen or, if you can see them, they are transparent, cream-colored, grayish, but usually not bright red. That’s why I was wondering about what you’ve might been eating.
      In any case, it’s great that you going to the doctor and you should address the concern regarding hard stool consistency too.

      If you are worried about parasites, don’t rely on inexact tests. Go have a stool culture test called a coproculture which should be able to identify any parasites or intestinal worms. You can also ask your doctor if he or she can prescribe a prophylactic treatment for intestinal parasites. It’s usually mebendazole or something similar and can be given in case of suspicion of parasites.

      As for the tests your naturopath has been performing with that machine, know they are unreliable. Intestinal parasites can only be seen in stool cultures, under the microscope or indicated by various symptoms you may manifest and are best treated with medication. No natural product will get rid of them. If it did, there wouldn’t be so many critically ill children and adults with severe intestinal parasites infections. It would be best to also discontinue the herbal preparation and see if the digestive upset and sharp pain continue. If they do, see a doctor for this too. Keep the herbs in case your doctor may need to test them. Hope this helps and would love to hear back from you after your visit to the doctor.

  21. I must confess that intestinal worm infection is the worst tragedy to befall anyone. I have a 42 year old aunt who has been suffering series of ill health since childhood. This minute, she is alive and active, the next minute she starts complaining of abdominal pains, sleepless nights, headaches that don’t ever stop, fatigue, diarrhea. A little exercise and she sweats like a gallon of water is dripping from her forehead. Gosh! You know the most painful part of the story line? She has been on malaria and typhoid medications all these while according to the doctor’s prescription. Who does that? I decided to get to the root of the matter and end it once and for all by God’s special grace. My question now is, is it safe to administer Lavamisole because I suspect Ascaris here or maybe Nacator or its amazing sister Ancylostoma.
    Please help a sister in need. It’s that terrible round here.

    • Hello, Jessy. Only a specialist can advise you with regards to the safety of the said anthelmintic medication. What I can tell you is that this specific anthelmintic causes low white blood cell count which predisposes to infection. So it comes with certain risks for your aunt, hence the reason why she should see another doctor who can assess her health, run some tests and provide an accurate diagnosis. Based on a current assessment of her health, medical history, test results and diagnosis, the doctor can recommend one medication or another.
      It would be great if your aunt can have some tests to determine the exact parasite so as to receive a medication that targets said parasite more efficiently. A stool test looking for specific parasite species would be of great help in both providing an accurate diagnosis and recommending an efficient treatment.

      And then it’s important to prevent reinfection. Avoid walking barefoot, clip nails short, wash hands before eating and upon coming home, avoid gardening or handling soil without gloves, wash underclothes at 90 degrees Celsius daily, disinfect surfaces, wash vegetables and fruits very well, cook all meat thoroughly, especially pork and chicken, avoid rare and medium rare steaks etc. Hope this helps and wishing you and your aunt lots of health!

  22. Hi, Marius. Thanks for the informative article! I have a very simple question that I’m hoping you can help me with. I would like to get into the routine of deworming regularly – not that I have high risk habits, but I feel it’s living responsibly. I have taken Vermox for this purpose but I am not sure whether it is effective for tapeworms and I’ve been struggling to find consistent information on this. If you could please confirm whether Vermox can be used for tapeworms and if so, how should the dosing be scheduled? Thank you!

    • Hi, Luke. You can look up a study called Studies on the comparative efficacy of mebendazole, flubendazole and niclosamide against human tapeworm infections.
      It says in this study that niclosamide and mebendazole both have high cure rates for tapeworm and the disease it causes, taeniasis. However, multiple doses and a several day treatment are needed for high cure rates. Praziquantel is also commonly prescribed for tapeworms.

      I too practice deworming once a year and use Vermox as well. I do a lot of gardening and have several pets and I find it contributes greatly to preventing worms and intestinal parasites, along with good hygiene, so I understand where you’re coming from. My treatment plan includes taking 100 mg dose of mebendazole once a day for 6 days in a row for adult worms and intestinal parasites, followed by one 100 mg dose after 7 days for any remaining eggs. And it’s been effective so far since I haven’t had any parasites. But you should talk to your doctor and see what he or she recommends because I am not a doctor and cannot and do not recommend any treatment.

      It’s important that you understand there are side effects to any intestinal parasites medication:
      – Abdominal cramps
      – Nausea, vomiting
      – Headaches
      – Diarrhea or constipation
      – Fever, sweating
      – Body aches, muscle pain
      – Malaise, fatigue, sleepiness
      – Dizziness, vertigo
      – Rashes
      – Low blood pressure and changes in heart rhythm
      – Allergic reaction with potential anaphylaxis
      So please be aware there may be serious side effects to deworming medication and you should take all the necessary precautions to avoid them. This is why it’s best to talk to your doctor for a treatment plan. Hope this helps.

  23. Thank you Marius, that study is exactly the kind of information I’ve been looking for. I will talk to my doctor about a treatment plan before taking any further action. Thanks again.

  24. I get loose motions and bcz of that I lost my appetite. The doctor prescribed me Ofloxacin and Ornidazole, Loperamide for three days. Loose motions stopped but I still feel quite itchy. What should I do? Now I sometime sweat at night. And have body pain.

    • Hi, Shal. Please answer me these questions:
      1) What was the diagnosis your doctor gave you?
      2) Do you have an infection and, if so, what kind?
      3) Do you know if you have parasites and, if yes, what kind?
      4) Did you have a stool test for identifying parasites?
      5) When did the night sweats begin, before or after you started treatment?
      6) Did you have blood with loose stools? If so, what color?
      7) Do you do gardening or have pets that stay both indoors and outside?
      8) Have you been on vacation recently and where?

      It is possible for the loss of appetite and itching to be caused by intestinal parasites and worms or by protozoa. A stool test helps identify the exact parasite and allows the doctor to prescribe the most efficient medication. Because not all medicines are as effective. Plus, you’ve been prescribed Ornizadole which works for protozoa and some bacteria, but a lot of intestinal parasites respond to anthelmintics. The sweats at night could be caused by an infection like a bacterial infection, a viral infection or a parasitic infection. At the same time, antibiotics cause night sweats too. So it’s best to think when the nighttime sweating started, before or after treatment, and tell your doctor about it. Body aches are a very common symptom and are caused by so many things, from the flu or stomach flu to various medication.

      What you should do is consider these questions and see your doctor to discuss your symptoms in more detail. This can help your doctor better understand what you have and provide an adequate treatment. In the meantime, make sure you keep to excellent hygiene. Wash hands before eating, wash bed linen and underwear at 90 degrees Celsius in the washing machine, keep nails short, don’t share personal objects, disinfect floors and cooking surfaces and wash and cook your food very well. Hope this helps. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

  25. People are here because Drs. leave us desperate. I absolutely think a medical Dr. needs to be seen. After 5 of them, it does no good to keep trying. State insurance wont just keep paying. Drs. see negative stool test and that’s all they need. They don’t do squat.

    • Have you considered asking one of these doctors for a prophylactic treatment for intestinal parasites? Even though they don’t show in stool tests, this can be done and it can help you feel better knowing that you’ve dealt with the possibility and not worry about having parasites. Interested to hear your thoughts on this, Miya.

  26. Hello, everyone. I agree with many of the replies I’ve just read; no doctor (in the USA, anyway), has the knowledge or training to deal with what the CDC is now classifying many of the parasitic diseases (including ‘helminth’) as “emerging and under-diagnosed” in the US.
    Dogs, cats, etc., that receive regular veterinary care, stand a much better chance of being diagnosed, treated and cured of a parasitic infection. And mostly this is done prophylactically. While I’m very, very glad for all our beloved pets, why isn’t this available for humans?
    It has been my personal experience that doctors such as gastroenterologists and dermatologists are programmed to label us as having delusions, with little to no testing to quantify this diagnosis. A person who is delusional has a very serious psychiatric disease, called psychoses. I am sure that people who have Ekbom’s Syndrome (delusional parasitosis), do exist, but if you check out the blogs spots on the internet you will see literally thousands of people talking about this issue!
    Surely not all us can be delusional!
    Perhaps, even as recently as 20 to 30 years ago, the US had little cause for concern, but why on earth wouldn’t we be affected, like any other country, today? People come from all over the world, US citizens travel all over the world, items are bought and sold from all over the world, including (sadly), some exotic pets. It’s insane to think we remain in a protected bubble.
    I just want to thank whoever developed this ‘commentary’, as I feel a little better now for just having an arena of like-minded people to get this off my chest.

    • Hello, Victor. I agree with you on this: parasites have been around for very long and have produced disease for just as long. So they’re not just emerging. At most, parasitic infections have been under-diagnosed. And since not even the most common parasitic infections can always be identified through conventional tests for various reasons (either doctors are not looking for a certain parasite specifically or it can’t be found during the first test because of its particular life cycle) it would be great if everyone could have access to prophylactic treatment.
      Of course, people should be informed about the side effects of anthelmintic medication such as nausea, stomach upset, diarrhea or risk of anaphylactic shock.
      Wishing you lots of health, Victor!

  27. Thanks, Marius. You’re probably right about parasites having been around for a long time and the CDC labeling certain parasites as “an emerging disease”, it’s probably just another way of stating that these parasites are just “very under-diagnosed”.
    What is disturbing to me is a question of whether or not medical students are even being taught to consider this as a possible diagnosis? I live in an area that allegedly claims to have some of the best medical facilities (doctors, hospitals, labs, etc.) in the US. So far, I’ve yet to meet a doctor or inquire at the hospital’s lab, or an independent laboratory that has ever heard of ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay), tests that are specific to screening for parasites! They still believe that the only way to screen for parasites is the good old-fashioned stool sample way! I think this is scary that we are so behind-the-times that one might consider going to a foreign country to get diagnosed and treated appropriately, but there it is…
    I certainly appreciate you taking the time to leave a reply. Thank you! And Marius – here’s wishing very good health back to you!

    • There seems to be an awful lot of conditions that appear to not receive proper attention (laryngospasms, for example). I also do not understand the reluctance to providing prophylactic treatment for intestinal and other parasites, especially when it can be done safely and is cost-effective.
      And while stool tests (when done properly, repeated at certain intervals to account for the differences in life cycle of various parasites, employed to look for more than a handful of the most common parasites and used as part of a larger, more extensive medical investigation with regards to parasitic infections) can represent a great screening tool for so many intestinal parasites in my opinion, other types of tests like blood tests, antigen and antibody tests or X-rays should also be considered within the range of available screening options and applied whenever necessary. Not all parasites are intestinal worms and not all are visible in stools. So many we are just beginning to understand show up in different areas of the body so, yes, there is a need for greater flexibility and a more modern approach to the diagnosis and treatment of parasitic infections. Especially since we’re just now realizing the extent of the damage one parasite can do to our health long-term (like river flukes that can cause bladder cancer).
      It appears it’s up to us to sometimes insist on receiving adequate care, stay informed and look for doctors more willing to put in the effort needed to provide comprehensive health care.
      Wishing lots of health to you too, Victor, and thank you for your input on the subject!

  28. I visited rwanda in late 2015 and the day we returned I developed a tiny pinprick on my finger which developed into a small blister type sore. My GP gave me some cream for it but didn’t seem interested when I said I was concerned something might have entered through my skin. Fast forward to 2017/2018 I started to notice a flutter feeling in my upper abdomen which on investigation was put down to an ectopic heartbeat. I recently, by chance, discovered a decomposing worm. About 3″. I think a round worm as it had a body cavity with some contents and am guessing a hookworm as these enter through the skin. I am hoping one entry site means only one worm and since it came away I have not had the fluttery feeling so guessing it was the worm doing somersaults in my duodenum. I am hoping that a single worm wouldn’t be able to produce eggs but I am waiting to see a GP to arrange medication to ensure nothing else remains. Unfortunately the ‘yuck’ factor clicked in and I flushed the worm. It will have been inside me for three and a half years. Is there anything else I should insist my doctor do? Thanks!

    • Hello, Bee. It may be helpful to have your doctor run some blood-work to check for any abnormalities such as: certain nutritional deficiencies, B vitamins in particular, which could be a side effect of an intestinal parasite infection; or elevated levels of certain antibodies, which is how some parasite infections are diagnosed. If it’s an intestinal parasite, it may be diagnosed via a stool test. But it would help to first research what types of parasites are prevalent in the area you visited so that the lab doing the test or tests has some idea of what to look for (there are so many different types of parasites and a basic stool test only checks for some of them, usually those more prevalent in a certain area). It could help to think about what you ate, drank and did during your visit. For example, did you drink bottled water or tap water, spring water etc.? Did you eat raw fruits, vegetables, seafood, rare steak or was all of the food you ate thoroughly cooked?

      Try to think if you’ve experienced any odd symptoms sometime after your visit, whether it’s unintentional weight loss, changes in bowel movement habits, holes in stools, white or dark spots or specks in stools or bowel movements, changes in urine or stool color, nausea or anything really. Tell the doctor about any such symptoms as well as if you’ve received any treatment for intestinal parasites after your trip and what it was exactly. You can ask your doctor if you can receive some form of prophylactic anti-parasitic treatment. We can get intestinal parasites and other worm infections anywhere really, though these tend to be more prevalent in underdeveloped countries due to lack of sanitation mostly. So it’s wise you’re seeing your doctor about this and looking into it. Hope to hear back from you with good news and wishing you lots of health, Bee!

  29. Thanks Marius. I am pretty sure this was not ingested and I know the day before we were sitting on the floor of a mud hut on flour sacks. I also know I put my hand on the ground when someone pulled me to my feet, and the man of the house worked on the land. Only drank bottled water or boiled water drinks ie coffee or tea and all food was well cooked in reliable places. Hard to get a picture of what parasites are common in the area as we were on a mission trip.
    I will take your suggestions with me to my GP. and ask about nutrients and antibodies. I have had annual bloods done during the last 3 years, I am in my seventies, so nutritional deficiencies should have been picked up and I know I am not anaemic. I am not aware of any symptoms other than the fluttery feeling round the duodenal area and a cough, both of which were attributed to an ectopic heart beat but I think that was because other things had been exhausted and there was no reason to think about parasites until I passed the worm.
    It will be a couple of weeks before I see my Gp but will update you when I know what course they are going to take.

    • Excellent notice of your health, Bee! It’s great that you can provide so much information to your GP! Looking forward to hearing back from you!

  30. I have dried out feet and hands my skin is dry on my arms and legs. I have something that comes out of my ears and eyes and head. There are string like substances I can burn them and it releases. I have muscle tightness cough. Where lately when I go to eat my foods seems to have small white things in it.. Please help people are saying I’m crazy.. I can’t handle much more! DESPERATE FOR HELP

    • Hello, Melissa! Don’t despair. It’s all going to be alright. Just take baby steps. What comes out of your ears and eyes and head (is it from the scalp)? Can you describe it? Can you maybe put it in a jar and go to the doctor’s with it? The string-like things, what do they release? As for food, does all of your food have small white things in it or just some foods? Have you been to the doctor’s about this? My suggestion is to save some of those things that come out of the ears and eyes and head in a glass jar and go see your doctor as soon as possible (the doctor will know how to test them). Make a list of your symptoms and give it to the doctor. It’s important that you see a doctor about this. But trust that it will work out. You can do this! It’s going to be okay! Looking forward to hearing back from you with good news!

  31. Hello, Marius. Before taking mebendazole, prescribed by general practitioner, I suffered excess stomach gas, bloating, painless acne on face and eventually I saw worm during night. I took 2nd dose after 14 days. But still I experience excess gas and stomach rumbling. Is this mean parasites still inside me? I eat healthy since, I do laundry, ironing clothes and sheets, and clean surfaces. Where I did mistake? This parasite problem driving me crazy.

    • Hello! Intestinal parasites can cause symptoms that mimic other conditions too. So the symptoms you are experiencing even after the treatment may or may not be caused by intestinal parasites. Because sometimes intestinal parasites can be persistent and resist treatment, it would be a good idea to see your doctor again for a second course of treatment. Your doctor may recommend you redo a stool test. Also, it is generally recommended that every person in the household get treated for intestinal parasites, even if just one person appears to have them. If not everyone gets treated, everybody gets reinfected. If you have a pet like a cat or dog, it’s a good idea to get them dewormed too at the same time as the rest of the family.

      And lastly, experts also recommend caution when eating fresh produce (fruits and vegetables) and meat. Fruits and vegetables need to be thoroughly washed before consumption and greens like salad, spinach and other leafy vegetables are best eaten cooked, at least for a while. Meat such as pork or sheep and all meat really should be cooked thoroughly to destroy parasites and their eggs. It’s a good idea to disinfect all surfaces in the home and clean rugs well because parasite eggs can live in rugs for weeks to months (in rare cases, up to a few years). And always wash your hands well before eating. Hope this helps and wishing you lots of health!

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