Intestinal parasites are a type of human intestinal parasite. They are mostly found in subtropical and tropical regions, but some species are found in the United States.
Most intestinal worm infections cause only mild illness and can be treated with medication. Read on to learn more about the signs, symptoms, and treatment of intestinal worms.
Symptoms of intestinal worms
Common symptoms of intestinal worms include:
diarrhea, nausea, vomiting
gas and bloating
unexplained weight loss
abdominal pain or tenderness
A person with intestinal worms can have dysentery. Diarrhea with blood and mucus in the stool due to an intestinal infection is called dysentery. Intestinal worms can cause rashes and itching around the anus or vagina. In some cases, worms pass through the stool during bowel movements.
Some people can have intestinal worms for years without any symptoms.
How do you know if you have worms in your stool?
Intestinal worms pass through the digestive system and are excreted in the feces. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, your stool may show signs of worms.
Worms in human feces can take several forms. For roundworms, you may find parts of worms or large, live worms in your stool. For worms, you can see thin white worms that look like threads. At night, the female lays eggs on the skin, while pinworms can be seen around the anus.
Your doctor may test a stool sample in the lab for signs of worms and eggs to confirm the diagnosis.
Common types of intestinal worms
Common types of intestinal worms that infect humans include:
flatworms, including tapeworms and flak
roundworms that cause ascariasis, pinworm, and hookworm infections
People get tapeworms by eating raw or undercooked pork and beef. Species that infect humans include:
Taenia saginata (cattle tapeworm)
Taenia solium (pork tapeworm)
Taenia asiatica (Asian tapeworm)
It is estimated that fewer than 1,000 people in the United States contract tapeworms each year, but the exact number is unknown. Tapeworms up to 25 meters (82 feet) long have been found on humans.
More than 70 species of fans live in the human intestinal tract. They range in length from an inch to several inches. People can become infected by consuming contaminated water or food. Flux is most common in East and Southeast Asia.
It is estimated that more than 1 billion people worldwide are infected with pinworms, and they are the most common worms that infect humans in North America. Children are often infected. They are easily transmitted among close people.
It is estimated that 576-740 million people are infected with hookworm. They used to be common in the United States, especially in the Southeast, but have declined as living standards have improved. Most people infected with hookworm have no symptoms.
Ascariasis is an infection with Ascaris lumbricoides and affects more than 800,000 million people worldwide. It is rare in the United States, but can occur in the Southeast. Infection is spread through contaminated food or water. Adult worms grow longer than a foot. Usually they do not cause symptoms.