Worms in poop can be a terrifying experience.
The sight may be horrifying whether the worms are big or small, round or flat.
Unfortunately, the presence of worms in human poop is quite common, even though it isn’t something often talked about.
There are many types parasites like worms that may find their way into your body and call it home. But how do they even get into the body in the first place? Well, worms are usually gotten by ingesting contaminated water or food.
In this article will help you discover the causes of worms in human poop, other associated symptoms, and how to treat and prevent the appearance of worms in your poop.
What Causes Worms in Human Poop?
As we earlier established, the most common route by which worms get into the body is what you put in your mouth. Here’s how:
- Consumption of contaminated water
- Consumption of contaminated soil
- Consumption of contaminated feces
- Ingestion of undercooked meat from an infected animal e.g. cow or pig
- Poor hygiene
- Poor sanitation
Staying away from eating raw meat is one way to avoid worm infestation
These worms have a predilection for the intestines. Once they find a way into the body, the intestines become their home. They often stay silent for a very long time, it may even take months or years even before they can start to cause any symptoms.
Symptoms of Worm Infestation
Now that we have discussed how these worms get into the body, let’s move on to talk about their symptoms.
These symptoms aren’t limited to their direct effects in the intestines, rather they include their effects on the body as a whole.
1. Unexplained weight loss
The worms survive on your food and nutrients. Therefore, despite eating normally, you may not be properly absorbing and utilizing the energy and nutrients. This could lead to loss of weight, even though you’re not eating less food.
Do not hesitate to seek medical advice in case of unintentional weight loss.
2. Unexplained change in pooping frequency
As a matter of fact, the presence of worms may interfere with the normal breakdown and absorption of food and water from your intestines.
In turn, this may lead to alteration of your bowel habits. You may suffer constipation despite proper hydration and a good fiber diet. There may also be loose stools or even dysentery (stools with mucus and blood).
3. Gaseous discomfort
If you have been recently experiencing noticeable gaseous discomfort, beware of a possible worm infestation especially if you have been visiting a country known for parasitic infestations. If you feel bloated with gas, you can check out relief tips in our post on how to make yourself fart.
4. Unexplained fatigue or exhaustion
As mentioned before, the worms are living and multiplying in your guts. They are consuming much of your energy and nutrients for themselves. This will make you feel tired with exertion, decrease activity, and want to sleep more.
5. Abdominal pain/tenderness
With some types of infestations, the presence of the worms causes an irritation/inflammation of the intestines. This may result in intermittent abdominal cramps or dull aching abdominal pain. The abdominal pain may be also associated with nausea in some instances.
6. No symptoms
In some instances, there may not be any complaints while harvesting such infections in your intestines. You may still want to beware of having one especially if you have recently returned from a country known to have a worm problem.
Who’s At Risk Of Getting Infected By Worms?
It has been found that children are more susceptible to acquiring such infestations due to exposure. Kids like to play in sandboxes, playgrounds, and soil. Elderly people may also be more liable due to a weaker defense system against the parasites.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 10 percent of people in the developing world are infected with intestinal worms.
Are There Complications of Worms in Poop?
Acquiring a parasitic infestation may lead to the development of complications. The complications are more likely to occur in the elderly population and those with low or weak immunity.
Be on the look for the following:
- Anemia: the worms consume your food, alter the absorption, and/or cause bleeding which in time leads to the development of anemia.
- Intestinal obstruction: the growth and multiplication of the worms may lead to blockage of the intestines.
- Pneumonia: some parasites either pass through the lungs directly or may cause an indirect reaction resulting in lung inflammation.
When Should I See A doctor?
Some of these infestations may be self-limiting provided you adopt a healthy diet, lifestyle, and have a good immune system. But many others may cause more problems and require early medical attention. You need to contact your physician if you have any of these signs:
- Persistent vomiting and/or dehydration
- Easy fatigability and/or weakness
- Blood in stool
- Expelling worms or abnormal constituents in stool
What Tests Might I Need To Do?
A number of investigations may be carried out to identify the parasite responsible for your symptoms. Do not hesitate to contact your doctor with suspicion, especially if you had recent travel.
Here are a number of investigations that may be undertaken:
- A stool sample for routine examination and microscopy to look for parasites or their ova.
- A ‘scotch tape’ test that is used to retrieve pinworm or its eggs from around the anal area. The tape is viewed under the microscope for direct examination of the parasite.
- Blood test samples for serology of certain suspected parasites.
- Ordering several imaging studies, from plain X-rays to more detailed imaging, according to the extent of the infection.
How Is It Prevented?
That sounds better than experiencing the hassle of the disease and its treatment. Avoiding the infestation is all about adopting a healthy lifestyle and proper hand washing before and after use of the toilet.
General hygienic measures are sufficient enough to protect you from becoming infected.
Regarding food intake, you should practice food safety to ensure protection.
Avoid eating raw food and properly cook and/or freeze your food. You should also thoroughly wash or peel your fruits and vegetables before eating them. This will help protect you and your loved ones from an unnecessary infection.
How Are Worms in Poop Treated?
The treatment is pretty much directed towards the isolated or suspected parasite. A general message to ensure proper hygiene, food safety, and avoid spreading of such infections is the golden advice.
There are numerous drugs that are used for the treatment of intestinal parasites.
Praziquantel is a drug that is used for the treatment of flatworms, e.g. tapeworms.
Albendazole and mebendazole are used for the treatment of roundworms including pinworm, hookworm and ascariasis infections.
The presence of worms in human poop can be a scary thing to observe, however, it’s not a reason to panic.
Understanding the danger signs and when to visit a doctor can be very vital as the presence of worms in poop is a very treatable condition.
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