All about worms
'Doctor my son keeps picking his nose. Could he have worms?' 'Doctor that child never stays easy, hes always on the go. It's almost as if he was hyperactive. Could he have worms?' 'Doctor my child is always eating sweets, he must have worms?' 'Doctor he never sleeps right at night hes always threshing about the bed. Surely he must have worms?'
Parents have put these observations and questions to me many times over the years. I know from conversations with my colleagues that my experience is not unique. They have had the same experience and some have even more exotic tales to tell.
In his interesting treatise on Irish country cures Dr Patrick Logan devotes a chapter to the subject of worms. He informs us that in Irish folk medicine the seventh son is credited with the power to heal many diseases and that he can kill worms by simply touching them. Why he would want to is another question. Dr Logan also describes old cures such as drinking lime water or boiled nettle roots. The latter probably worked because of its strong purgative effect. Our ancestors had strong beliefs in the harmful effects of worms and perhaps a form of folk memory persists within many people to this day despite our increased sophistication and education.
All the blame
The poor old worms get blamed for an awful lot of medical conditions. The belief in the harmful power of worms is so strong that an unscrupulous medic could establish a lucrative practice specialising solely in the treatment of worms. He would however have to find a suitable title that would be properly grandiose while at the same time conveying a sense of what he was about. The professional title of worm specialist would simply not do.
'It is good hygienic practice to ensure that the family dog is de-wormed several times a year as a form of prevention against worm infestations. Unfortunately mans best friend is often the chief suspect in cases of worm infestation'.
On a more serious note, intestinal worms are now far less common than they used to be although they can be a serious health risk in poor countries. The differing incidence of infestation between poor and rich countries is due to better sanitation and the availability of a clean water supply in the richer nations of the world. Improved standards of butchering and higher hygiene standards in the kitchen have also contributed to the drop in worm infestation.
There are several types of worm that can infest the human gut. They include hookworms, whipworms, threadworms, tapeworms and roundworms. The species that are most frequently encountered in Ireland are the threadworm (enterobius vermicularis), the roundworm (ascaris lumbricoides) and the tapeworms (taenia saginata and taenia solium). Taenia saginata can be acquired from beef and taenia solium comes from pork.
Tapeworm infestation is now very rare in Ireland and I have not seen a single case in twenty years of general practice. The diagnosis is made by observing tape-like segments being passed with the stools. The treatment of this form of infestation can be difficult so it is indeed fortunate that it is rare. Roundworm infestation is now relatively uncommon and it is recognised by the passing of a worm with the stools. Usually there are no symptoms prior to the passing of the worm so its presence can come as quite a surprise to the host.
Threadworms are the commonest worms that we encounter in everyday practice. They cause no symptoms apart from an itchy bottom that can disrupt sleep at night. The threadworms can exit through the anus and irritate the skin. Sometimes they can be seen just like small threads around the anal region. So the parent who questions if a disturbed nights sleep could be due to worms might well be right.
The parent who questions if picking the nose could be related to worms might also have a point because infestation frequently occurs from hand to mouth contamination. If an infested child has unfortunate social habits and brings its hand close to the mouth after scratching its bottom it is easy to imagine how the cycle of infestation can be maintained.
Modern treatments for threadworm infestation are so effective that treatment failure is usually attributed to re-contamination. In such situations success is achieved by treating the whole family, including the parents, not to mention the family dog. It is good hygienic practice to ensure that the family dog is de-wormed several times a year as a form of prevention against worm infestations. Unfortunately mans best friend is often the chief suspect in cases of worm infestation.
If a parent suggests to me that a child has worms I will often treat the condition on the basis of that evidence alone. It is bad enough for the parent or child to suffer the thought that worms might be present but the cringe factor rises even higher if the doctor decides that it is necessary to prove that they are present. Applying sellotape to the anus in order to catch a worm strikes a little of unnecessary zeal. If the parent suspects that they are present or has seen threadworms with the stools or has seen them on the childs anus that evidence is a reasonable basis for proceeding to treat.
The drugs used to treat worms are known as anthelmintics and they come in two categories. One category works by paralysing the worms and eventually killing them allowing them to be passed from the gut during normal defaecation. The other category immobilises them and forcefully eliminates them from the gut through the presence of a purgative, which is combined with the anthelmintic. There is no significant absorption of the drug from the gut into the bloodstream, which means that the incidence of side effects with these drugs is very rare. However, since they do induce paralysis in the worms it is most important to take the medication in accordance with the manufacturers instructions and not to take multiples of the recommended dose in order to be sure to be sure!
There is one serious exception to the advice I have just given. Anthelmintics are absolutely not to be used in the case of the first three months of pregnancy. The risk exists that they could cause defects in the developing foetus. This is an important exclusion to make because expectant mothers are frequently in the company of small children and therefore are more at risk of being infested with worms.
If an expectant mother becomes infested her family should all be treated even in the complete absence of symptoms in those family members. The mother should vigorously scrub her hands and nails after each bowel movement and avoid scratching her bottom. She should also have a bath or shower on a daily basis paying particular attention to the anal area. Strict attention to personal hygiene is essential. This advice may be tedious but it should help to eliminate the possibility of re-contamination.
Reading about worms and even thinking about them may cause the hairs on the back of your neck to rise. But washing your hands after you have been to the toilet, washing your hands after you have played with your dog and keeping your hands generally clean should go a long way to avoiding infestation. Also, dont forget to de-worm the dog.
Dr Leonard Condren is the medical editor of irishhealth.com.
What is the best treatment on the market at the moment
I suffer from an itchy anus and have tried the usual PreparationH, Anusol, washing with salty water, sudocream, Savlon Cream and Savlon Liquid---still no cure-- Any ideas please?
Are they harmful?
I too, would like to know the best product to buy as my children suffer from time to time and indeed would need to be 'dosed' before school restarts in September.
plese give a cure for itch
Vermox medicine or tablets available in chemists no prescription needed suitable for adults and children single dose but recommend repeat ing in 14 days to prevent reinfection
Is teeth grinding in children a sign of worms.
I found your article on worms very useful as I think I may have them. I have an itchy anus but I also suffer from piles at present. I had them removed surgically a few years ago but they appear to have recurred. Could you suggest any medication for either piles or worms. Many thanks.
I have a 15month old girl who hasnt slept a full night for me,i will try anything do you think she is too young for a worm dose.Her nappies would usually be very loose i have never seen any worms but she would have a fair amount of sugar in her diet.
I need some advice, I have twins two years young, boy & girl, my son is very hyper and does not sleep well, my daughter for the past few nights almost does summersaults in her sleep, can this be worms. I did try vermox suspension before is there any thing else I could use.
My grandson, who is 4 and three quarters (his words)twitches a lot in his sleep. It can go on for a long time. It is not restlesness, but little jerking movements. I had thought of worms, but reading your comments I do not think that it could be explained this way. What other explanation is there.
I have a four year old girl who constantly suffers with wet farts. A small amount of beige to clear frothy liquid comes out at the same time. She doesn't complain of an itchy bum. Any ideas ?
I have a thirteen year old daugher who at least 3/4 times a year gets worms. She has been having this problem since she was born, I now know what to do but can you tell me why she continously gets worms when no else in the family has the problem
My 8 yr old daughter is constantly getting worms. She complains of an itchy bum and then I remove the worm with a Q-tip. She takes vermox but somehow they constantly re-occur. Is she at any risk from constantly having them
My daughter I know gets worms a number of times in a year. She is 10 years old, very clean and eats quite healthy. The problem is they are in the vaginal area. Has anyone out there dealt with this. I am fed up trying to get answers from doctors. They insist they are in the back passage. When she does get them she is in extreme pain. It is terrible to see her like this.
I don't know anything about worms but for the person who asked about itching, regular Oilatum baths help to stop itching.
I think my two year old son might have worms he has a itchy bum at night i dont know anything about worms what shall i do?
While most of the comments are expessing a fear of worms, I have recently heard about a Dr. Joel weinstock in Iowa who is conducting tests on the beneficial use of whipworms for the treatment of Crohn's disease. As your article rightly pointed out infection by worms is decreasing in the western world with increased Hygiene standards however Crohn's disease is on the increase in the same areas that standards are highest while it is unknown in the Third world. Dr. weinstock has treated over 200 patients in clinical trials with the eggs of whipworms which mature in the colon and are passed out of the body safely with no side effects. He has had a 99% success rate first time around & 100% success rate second time. His theory on this is that Humans have lived with these parasites since the beginning and in some instances beneficial effects accrue to Humans as equally in some instances does the downside. It is an interesting Hypothesis & seems to be true. For sufferer's of Crohns disease it may provide welcome relief if they can get over the squeamish factor.
I think that if all kids were taught to keep their hands away from their faces generally, they would save themselves and their parents a lot of hassle. So many germs and parasites are transferred via the mouth. And also the hands can cause impetigo, herpes and wart infestations to be spread. As a sufferer of coldsores I have always taught my kids to keep their hands away from their faces and mouths and have never kissed them on the lips to reduce the incidence of herpes.This has proved sucessful in that none of them have contracted cold sores from me. I only wish the person who infected me had more sense!. Saying all this, I do believe that a certain amount of germs are necessary to maintain a strong immune system. All bugs are not nasty but some we could do without.
Are there de-worming drugs that one can purchase across the counter, without necessarily seeing a G.P.?
Hi, I actually did not make a comment about worms. I asked a question as to what drugs I could purchase across the counter for the purposes of de-worming the whole Family. Can you still answer this question?
The best natural treatment for round worms, thread & whip worms is to use bioforce papayaforce (extracted from papaya leaves) and always used by the indians historically for the treatment of the above. Importantly, a child who constantly has worms where the family does not is in all likelyhood re infecting him/herself at night time by scratching the anal area and then from there to the mouth. Wear good fitting underclothes by night to avoid this - you can see the above in Vogels "The Nature Doctor. Vogel also thinks anthelmintic medicines can be quite toxic so prefers the natural route of bioforce "Papayforce"
Can a tapeworm in a human cause anemia?
My daughter is three and grinds her teeth particularly at night. Does this mean she has worms.
i have worms for years i tryed ovex in england nothing happened. what can i get over the counter to get rid if the worms?? from an adult
My son is 3 years old, and he is suffering from something, but not sure what it could be. His stomach is always very enlarged compared to his small body, which has not grown much in the last 1 and 1/2 years. He is constantly hungry and when he eats, his stomach becomes very big. Someone mentioned this may be caused from worms, but he is suffering some psychological problems as well as if something has control of him. He tries to fight it off, but is not strong enough. I know this sounds weird, the doctors I took him to think he has asbergers autism, but I disagree as the symptoms they provided do not match his attitude. If worms are not found for a long period of time could they do this to a person?
I definetly have worms. Small little white treads about 1/2 cm long. What should I use to cure them and should I treat the whole family
I am amazed that people who claim they or theirs have worms,waste time going on line asking for advice. The advice you will get online is often of little value. Why not go to your own pharmacist and ask him or her for treatment. Bt the way, worms are not very common. A lot of people equate, teeth grinding, itchy anus and old wives tales with an infection of worms. It more than likely is not.
I have suffered from thread worms since i was nine. Im now 24 and still suffer. The treatment works at the time but then thet just come back a few months later. i have just got used to it now but what else can i do?
I am 17 years old, i have had a very itchy anus for the past 2 weeks, i could not stand the itch no more so i looked using a mirror at my anus, what i found out was abit horryfying, i saw at least 5 worms swarming in the anus hole, they were about 5mm in length and thin, i washed my bum out properly, until i could not see none no more, (every time i washed my bum and thought they were gone, new ones came back , i kept washing and washing until none came), I find this very hard to talk about, it is rather shameful, can you tell waht kind of worms they are, and is it serious, i tried to go to my pharmacy but they do not have the medicine you said would work, what can i do? I am worried cos i must have had them for at least to weeks now. Than ks
To dragon wizard, worms can usually be sorted out quickly, but you should go to your doctor or pharmacist. Don't be embarrassed - they deal with this kind of problem all the time.
Adults are bad enough but children are worse when it comes to washing their hands. Its a vicious circle. Worm treatments work. The child goes back into school. Goes through his/her day touching objects other infected children have touched. Eats lunch without washing hands. Infection back. Simple as that. Vermox is excellent as a treatment. If treating one member of the family though, remember the rest of the family must also be treated even if they are not infected at the time.
Where is it possible to do test for child has he worm or not?
Are worms different than parasites?
To Concerned Parent. Have you had your little boy checked for Coeliac Disease - an intolerance to gluten (found in wheat)? The enlarged stomach after eating is a symptom as the gluten affects the villii in the intestine. However Coeliac Disease would have no connection to psychological problems.
I have suffered from a worm infection and have tried everything, embarrasingly, confronted everyone in my family to try to find the source of the infection. In our case poor hygiene is not the cause but too much sugar in the diet and the only thing that seems to be effective for any length of time is papaya enzyme (5euros for a 100 chewable tablets, holland and barrett). Worm infections are dangerous as they travel especially in women and leave one exhausted and run down. Vermox, etc., are effective only for a short while and are too harsh on the intestines for consistent use. I would strongly recommend the papaya enzyme which actually feeds off the protein in the worm therby destroying it.
My son keeps getting worms, I dont know why
My son is 18 months old, and his stomach is very enlarged. He is constantly hungry, and always cried for food. he eats anytimes, but does not gain weight much. He eats 3 times more than his sister who is 5 years old; and when he eats, his stomach becomes very big. Also, he complains about stomachache. Could he have worms? What should I do? Is there anything I can do for him? He's only 18 moths. Please help. Thanks alot
Hi folks.. heres some information which might help you all. Threadworms are small, white, thread-like worms between 2 and 13 mm long. They infect human guts (intestines). They are common in children, but anyone of any age can be affected. Threadworms live about 5-6 weeks in the gut, and then die. However, before they die the female worms lay tiny eggs around the anus (back passage). This tends to occur at night when you are warm and still in bed. The eggs are too small to see without a microscope, but cause itch around the anus. You then scratch around the anus to relieve the itch. You often do this without realising when you are asleep. When you scratch, eggs get onto fingers and under nails. You may then swallow some eggs if you put a finger into your mouth. Also, threadworm eggs can survive for up to two weeks outside the body. They fall off the skin around the anus and can fall onto bedding, clothes, etc. They can then get 'wafted' in the air as you change clothes, bedding etc, and become part of the dust in a home. Some eggs may settle on food or toothbrushes. So, children may swallow some eggs at first by playing with other children who have eggs on their fingers, or from food, drink, toothbrushes, or dust that has been contaminated with threadworm eggs. Any eggs that you swallow then hatch and grow into adult worms in the gut. So a 'cycle' of threadworm infection can go on and on. Are threadworms harmful? Not usually. Often, the worst thing about them is the itch and discomfort around the anus. This sometimes wakes children from sleep. Scratching may make the anus sore. Large numbers of threadworms may possibly cause mild abdominal (tummy) pains and make a child irritable. In girls, threadworms can wander forwards and lay their eggs in the vagina or urethra (the tube that passes urine). A doctor may check for threadworms in young girls with a vaginal discharge, bedwetting, or problems with passing urine. Rarely, threadworms can cause other problems. Threadworms look like thin, white, cotton threads. Sometimes you can see them in faeces (stools or motions) in the toilet. If you cannot see threadworms in the faeces, but suspect your child has threadworms (if they have an itchy bottom), try looking at the child's anus. You can do this with a torch in the late evening after the child has gone to sleep. Part the child's buttocks and look at the opening of the anus. If the child has threadworms you can often see one or two coming out of the anus. Do not be alarmed! Ask a pharmacist for advice on treatment in the next day or so. Your children may come into contact with eggs in schools or nurseries, particularly in the toilets if they are not cleaned properly. If your child has recurring threadworms, it may be worth checking that toilet facilities at schools, nurseries, etc, are regularly cleaned in a way that will remove any threadworm eggs which may be present.
i know for a fact that i have thread worms, are there de-worming drugs that i can purchase over the counter.
can you buy over counter medicine for worms
Are there de-worming drugs that one can purchase across the counter, without necessarily seeing a G.P.?
I am 14 and i have had worms for 2 years. I have tried a few different treatments, but i don't think they have worked. I took a liquid Vermox 2 days ago, and i don't know how long it will take to work, because i still have them. Also, after i took it, i went to the toilet and my stool have black things in it that looked like dead black threadworms. Is it that?
Anon of 10/06/07. If you have worms for 2 years you should see your doctor about it. Thread worm are white. You took vermox 2 days ago. Vermox should be taken twice daily for 3 days. See your doctor.
Worms are very common in children so they will need treating for them every so often. Adults are a different thing. An adult who is being regularly infected with worms would need to look at the bigger picture ie. why is this happening? Worms in children will cause itching and eating voraciously without putting on weight. As John says in an earlier post, don't just ask on line about treating. Go to your G.P. or pharmacy, get the medication and give it.
You can buy ovex over the counter to treat pin worms or thread worms. You should be able to buy it from any pharmacy or chemist, but i'm not sure if there's an age limit, does anyone know if there is one?
I have small still white seeds (like seasame seeds) in my stools. I know I have worms of some kind as I have a very itchy behind and I have seen one of my children itching a lot. I bought ovex over the counter, but nothing I read anywhere mentions white seeds in the stools. I have read about moving white thread like worms, but that is not what I have. My vagina is also very itchy and I have read this can be an added sign of worms in the female. The only similar thing is tapeworm, where segments can be found in the bowel. The segments I have are tear shaped. I want to know I am taking the correct medication, and also giving my children the correct treatment. Can anyone give me any clearer picture what type of worm would produce tear shaped white seeds?
Please help me! i'm only 14 and i think i have had worms for a few years now. I get a very itchy bottom at night. When i go to the toilet, there are little white things and i'm pretty sure it's them. I haven't talked to my parents about this. Is there any way i can cure it without going to the doctor?! please reply ASAP!!!!!!!
I have found out last night i have the worms. I am not sure if I ever got rid of them. I keep seeing them but I think they are dead. I picked up 1 last night and it began to move. Should I talk to my doctor about it? I am only 9 and it is really scary. While i wrote this I was crying. Please help. Also I took two spoon fulls of Vermox last night. I would also like to inform you that my aunt had these when she was small. And my cousin she gets them under neath her arm when she is hot.
Please help me! i'm only 14 years old, and i found a small white worm in my poo today and i haven't told my parents or my gp and i don't know what to do. please help me.
what could i do to get rid of them??
what would happen if i didn't do any thing??
please replay ASAP i'm really really worried !!
please help me !!
My young daughters appetite has recently increased markedly, her sleeping has dis-improved and she is restless, her stomach is somewhat swollen, she grinds her teeth alot and is very aggressive/sensitive to us changing her nappy.
We've not yet noticed anything in her faeces and the suggested methods for checking would not be tolerated by her - she wouldn't stay still long enough for us to check her.
So does anyone know if the symptoms listed above are clear indicators of worms?
this message is to all parents..
If you suspect your child has worms talk to them. let them know you will need to take a look at their bum... doesnt matter how young..
hello please help?!
i am coming up to 15 this year,and i was worrying when i went to the toilet yesterday, i have just finished my period, i looked in the toilet to see if i have finished because i was slighty itchy, and there was white tiny threads moving in my poo? which i looked on google and it said the symptoms which match mine. i have told my mum, but i got really upset and thought there was something wrong with me, she said dont get worried and we will go to the pharmacy tomorrow... but i still want to know if 'threadworms' is dangerous and could be really serious? it is very embarassing if i do go to the pharamacy and ask.
im 12 and down in my undie area im itchi and i looked at my poo that day and there was some worms there and im too imbarressed to tell my mum what should i do its realy annoying i wont to tell her now but what should i say so im not imbarressed ? plz help me pllllllllllllllllllzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Vermox can be bought over the counter without going to a doctor. I'm not sure what the "dead worms" are meant to look like though.
For those of you who have worms and don't want to tell anyone, it's the most common thing in the world! It's nothing to be emabarrased about and you did nothing wrong to cause you to get them. While you might be embarrassed to speak to your parents and / or doctor - the relief you get when the worms are gone will FAR outweigh the torture you're going through at the moment.
I fail to see what's the big fuss about worms is. When I was a kid I had them plenty of times and if i recall correctly I was dosed every six months by my mother for them along with my siblings who also were visited by them on numerous occasions.There's absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about. My kids have also got them a few times and, only last month my 20 month old had them, I found four small white worms on his anus as I was changing his nappy, I dosed him with vermox and put him off all sweet stuff for about a week. I also dose my youngest two every six months, but I notice they always seem to get them after Christmas and Birthdays after they consume more sugary foods than usual.
There is no need to worry about worms. I'm 10 and i have had worms twice in my life. All you need to do is tell one of your parents/guardians (I told my Mum) and they will take you do the pharmacy and you can get some medicine (I got vermox) that you will need to take once or twice. THEN YOU ARE CURED!!!
I am 11 and i get really embarresed by worms and i dont what to tell anyone tat i saw some wierd thread like things in my poo yesterday help me please
Worms are very rare nowadays (the posts from young teenagers looking at their 'poo' seem remarkably similar!). In fact the manufacturers of worm treatments must be laughing the whole way to the bank at the sales of their products used routinely because of old wives tales.
Not so John. Maybe rarely spoken about but not rare - as any pharmacist will tell you.
Soo - everybody is lying except John??? Yeah - right.
I didn't accuse anybody of lying. A common scenario is: child is scratching its bottom or picking its nose or grinding its teeth at night etc. Granny tells young mum 'that child has worms'. Young mum in panic heads to her pharmacy and asks for worm treatment. Pharmacist or assistant gives what is asked for and hey presto everybody is happy; granny, mum and pharmacist.
Niether nose picking or certianly not teeth grinding has anything to do with thread worm infestation. In fact the latter should almost certainly be investigated by an appropriately qualified medical professional - which I think someone already poiinted out. If a child is scratching its bottom at night then yes, that can indicate threadworm infestation, which it is no harm at all to treat and will certianlky make the chuld happier in that they will be far more comfortable, which is the main thing, regardless of what granny does or doesn't say or how young or old Mum is.
Right. I have suffered from ill health for more than a year and a half. I have had numerous blood tests, x-rays and MRI's. They found, Osteo-arthritis and Advanced degenerative disk disease but nothing to explain the full extent of my ill health. I have frequent flu like illnesses, intermittent pain all over and a constant headache. I have had reactions to several painkillers and have become hypersensitive to many other things. I am not pregnant. I have had problems with frequent mouth ulcers and my teeth and jaw are in constant pain.A week ago I pooped up a tapeworm. The whole household was dosed for worms. (6 adults and 2 children - hit by the recession). Anyway I won't go into the details but many pains in my body were relived by the dose including muscle pain, headache, the restriction in my neck, the pink eye I have been suffering from at night etc... And my two sons have had some unusual improvements too.I am not completely back to normal. I still feel unwell but I don't need the Tylex anymore.Prior to this, I went to numerous healthcare professional about my problems including my dentist and a neurologist.I can trace my symptoms back to a trip abroad.Many Irish people have become significantly poorer in the last two years and many Irish people visit the developing world on holiday. It many be wise for medical professions to assume that large parasitic infestations in individuals many not be as rare as they used to be.