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Pinworm Infection: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Feb 29, 2024

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Causes Of Pinworm Infection

Symptoms Of Pinworm Infection

Risk Factors Of Pinworm Infection

Diagnosis Of Pinworm Infection

Treatment Of Pinworm Infection

Prevention Of Pinworm Infection

Complications Of Pinworm Infection

Pinworm Infection

Pinworms are tiny, white intestinal worms with a length of between 1/4 and 1/2 inch, or 6 and 13 mm. The female pinworms deposit hundreds of eggs in the folds around the anus while the affected person sleeps. While some pinworm patients have anal irritation and sleeplessness, most infections are asymptomatic.

Children of school age are primarily affected by pinworm infections, and the minute pinworm eggs are easily spread from one child to another. Treatment includes oral drugs that kill pinworms and thoroughly washing knickers, linen and pyjamas. The finest results will come from treating the entire family.

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Causes Of Pinworm Infection

When pinworm eggs are accidentally swallowed or inhaled, it might result in a medical condition. You may ingest contaminated food, drinks, or your fingers, which can harbour tiny (microscopic) eggs. after the intestines, the eggs hatch after ingestion and mature into adult worms after a few weeks.

Male pinworms often migrate to the anal region to lay their eggs, which causes itching in the anal area. Scratching the itch causes the eggs to adhere to your fingertips and get under your fingernails. 

Once that's done, the eggs are transferred to various surfaces including beds, toys, and toilet seats. Spreading the eggs to food, beverages, clothes, and other people can also occur from contaminated fingers. Pinworm eggs have a two- to three-week lifespan on surfaces.

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Symptoms Of Pinworm Infection

The signs of a pinworm infection can be:

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Risk Factors Of Pinworm Infection

Risk factors for pinworm infection include the following:

  • Being young: Five to 10 years old is the most prevalent age period in which children get pinworm infections. Family members, carers, or other children at daycare centres or schools might easily come into contact with the microscopic eggs. It is uncommon for children less than two to get pinworm infections.
  • Living in crowded places: People who live in institutions are more likely to get pinworm infections.

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Diagnosis Of Pinworm Infection

Your doctor can identify the presence of pinworms by looking for the worms or eggs.

You can use the tape test to assist your physician in making a medical diagnosis. Press the adhesive side of a piece of clear tape to the skin around the anus as soon as the person you suspect of having pinworms gets up, and before they go to the toilet, wash their hands or put on clothes. The eggs are stuck to the tape.

Then take the pieces of tape to your physician. If your physician is certain there are no pinworm eggs on the tape, they can examine it under a microscope.

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Treatment Of Pinworm Infection

Your physician might recommend over-the-counter pyrantel pamoate to prevent infection and reinfection, or they might prescribe medication to treat pinworm infection in every member of your household.

The anti-parasite medications that are most frequently used for pinworms are as follows:

  • Metabenzole 
  • Albendazole

Mild gastrointestinal side effects are possible after therapy, and it often takes two doses to fully remove the pinworms.

Also Read: Mucormycosis : Types, Causes, Risk Factors, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Prevention Of Pinworm Infection

Pinworm eggs can adhere to surfaces including toilet seats, toys, faucets, and beds for a period of two weeks. Therefore, the following tactics can help prevent the spread of pinworm eggs or reinfection in addition to regular surface cleaning:

  • Clean up in the morning: Because pinworms lay their eggs at night, washing your anal area first thing in the morning can help reduce the number of eggs on you. Taking a shower can help avoid the possibility of bath water becoming contaminated again.
  • Replace your pants and sheets once a week. This helps to get rid of eggs.
  • For laundry, use hot water: Wash towels, bedsheets, pyjamas, trousers and washcloths in hot water to aid in the destruction of pinworm eggs. Over a heated surface, dry.
  • Avoid scratching: Avoid picking at the region surrounding the anus. To lessen the area where eggs can collect, trim your child's fingernails short. Talk to your kids about not biting their nails.
  • Washing hands: Make sure to wash your hands completely after using the restroom or changing a diaper.

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Complications Of Pinworm Infection

The majority of pinworm infections don't cause serious problems. Severe infestations can only rarely lead to female genital illnesses.

The parasite can enter the uterus, travel through the fallopian tubes, enter the pelvic organs, and exit the vagina. This could lead to problems including vaginal inflammation (vaginitis) and endometritis, or inflammation of the uterine lining.

Other possible effects of a pinworm infection, however rare, include:

Also Read: Gonorrhea: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

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