Symptoms of worms in humans cannot always be noticed in time. A worm infestation usually causes symptoms similar to those of other diseases, such as allergies or digestive disorders. Helminths parasitize various parts of the human body. An infected person may treat liver failure, chronic colds or dermatoses without knowing the true cause of their poor health.
What are helminths?
Worms in humans are parasitic worms that can vary in size. They can enter the human body through the mouth, nasal passages, eyes, urethra, or anus. Parasites most often live in the intestines and attach themselves to the intestinal walls with suction cups, tentacles or special teeth. Parasites can live in the tissues of the lungs and brain, on the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract, in the muscles, in the liver and in the gallbladder.
Worms feed on substances that enter the blood from the intestines, red blood cells and tissue juices.
Classification of helminthiases: types of worms in humans
Various types of helminths can parasitize the human body. Medical helminthology divides them into groups, taking into account the peculiarities of the body shape:
- Round (nematodes)- have a holistic shape in the form of a lemon, thread, barrel or spindle. The head and tail of the nematodes are slightly pointed. The oral apparatus is characterized as having three layers. Parasites move freely in the soil as well as in fresh and sea water. The human body contains pinworms (causing enterobiasis), roundworms, hookworms and trichinella, which are considered intestinal parasites. Guinea worms – these roundworms spread in the subcutaneous tissue.
- Ribbon (cestodes). These include the following types of parasites: cattle and pig parasites, dwarf tapeworm and broadband worm. Their body resembles a finely segmented ribbon, the length of which can reach 10 meters or more. The front part of parasitic worms is equipped with suction cups and hooks that attach them to the intestinal walls. Echinococci have a complex fixation system - 4 suction cups surrounded by two rows of hooks.
- Trematodes (leeches)— This type of worm is characterized by certain habitats in the body: gallbladder, bile ducts. Representatives of the class of flukes are the Siberian fluke (4–13 mm) and the fasciola (length 3–7 cm).
The vital activity of helminths disrupts the normal functioning of the human body. Parasites poison the blood with toxins, causing dizziness, itchy skin, coughing and difficulty sleeping at night.
How do you become infected with helminths?
Everyone should know why worms appear in humans and where they live in the body:
- Nematodes and the flatworm dwarf tapeworm enter the body through dirty hands, eating unwashed vegetables and drinking dirty water. Habitat: intestines.
- Trichinella, beef and pork tapeworm - an infection occurs when eating poorly thermally processed meat (beef, pork). Location: intestines.
- Opisthorchis, broad tapeworm (class of trematodes or tapeworms). A person can become infected by eating raw, poorly salted, or undercooked fish. In fish, parasite larvae live in the fat layer and muscles. In humans, they settle in the liver and gallbladder.
- Echinococci, Siberian fluke, and fasciola are transmitted through contact with an infected dog; Cats are rarely the source of infection. Helminths can parasitize the liver, lungs, kidneys and heart of humans. They develop in echinococcal cysts.
What do worms look like in human stool?
A person may see dead roundworms in the feces 3-4 days after taking anthelmintic tablets. The length of these parasites living in the human body can be up to 40 cm. Their edges are sharp and their body is white.
Pinworms usually leave the body alive a few hours after consuming milk with garlic, salty or spicy foods. Small white worms (up to 12 mm long) with sharp edges are clearly visible in the stool and around the anus.
Large flatworms or tapeworms are almost not completely visible (length 3 to 10 m). After baiting, the worms leave the body in rotted fragments.
Signs of the presence of worms in humans
With helminthic infestation, symptoms in adults and children are usually similar to manifestations of other diseases. This is due to the location (respiratory tract, liver, bile) and life process of the worms.
During the acute phase
The acute stage is believed to be asymptomatic. But in most cases, the first signs of worms are mild and the person ignores the parasitic disease. Less commonly, an infected person may experience signs of helminthiasis in the body with fever, nausea, and vomiting. The person feels weak and loses appetite.
In the chronic phase
Symptoms of chronic helminthiasis depend on the type of worms, their number and their habitat.
Symptoms of worms in an adult's intestines:
- worsening of digestion;
- pressing pain in the navel area;
- intestinal dysfunction;
- loss of appetite;
- weight loss;
- pale skin;
- bruises under the eyes;
- anal itching.
Against the background of gastrointestinal diseases, intestinal obstruction can occur. The pathological condition is manifested by paroxysmal abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting with the smell of stool.
The main signs of liver, gallstone and lungworm infection:
- constant fatigue;
- Mental breakdown;
- paroxysmal pain in the epigastric region;
- reduced performance;
- foul-smelling, greasy stools (steatorrhea);
- urticaria, itchy skin;
- chest pain;
- chronic dry cough;
- Change in skin color.
Extraintestinal parasites (Giardia, Opisthorchis, Fasciola) can cause not only headaches or skin diseases, but also depression. Typically, a pathological condition occurs when the symptoms of skin allergy do not disappear for a long time (itching, dry skin, rash) or reappear after treatment.
How to recognize worms: Diagnosis of helminth infestation
To diagnose helminths, stool is collected on the worm's eggs. However, the analysis does not always show a positive result in the presence of parasites. First, not all types of worms are identified in this way. Second, the time of stool analysis may not coincide with the time of parasite reproduction. A new test for worm eggs takes place after 2-3 days. If the result is negative when symptoms are present, the following examination methods can be prescribed:
- Blood analysis- An increased level of eosinophil leukocytes and a low hemoglobin indicate infection with worms.
- Duodenal sound- helps to identify opisthorchiasis, giardiasis and other extraintestinal worms in humans by examining secretions from the duodenum.
- Ultrasound of the abdominal cavity and other parts of the human body— The gastrointestinal tract, liver, gallbladder, its ducts, pancreas, muscles, brain and lungs are examined for pathological changes characteristic of the life of worms (seals, cysts, nodules, obstructions).
- Chest x-ray- carried out if lung parasites are suspected (detection of roundworms, echinococci, tapeworm larvae).
- CT scan- to detect worms in the human brain, eyes and lungs.
- Capsule endoscopy- to identify band parasites.
- ELISA– detects antibodies in the blood against most known parasites.
To assess the severity of damage to the body by worms, an immunological examination is prescribed. It helps detect weaknesses in the human immune system. After that, complex therapy of the pathological condition is prescribed.
This is how you get rid of worms quickly and effectively
It is better to learn how to remove helminths from the human body at an appointment with a parasitologist. Treating worms without medical advice can lead to poisoning and liver dysfunction.
Nutritional and hygiene features
Treatment of helminthiasis in adults and children should be accompanied by a diet that will help quickly remove worms and cleanse the body of toxins. It is necessary to exclude from the menu products that contribute to the vital activity of parasites or poisoning the body:
- meat, lard;
- all kinds of sweets;
- fresh milk;
- Bakery products;
- wheat porridge, noodles;
- Coffee, alcohol.
The daily diet should include a salad of fresh carrots, fermented milk products with probiotics, eggs, freshly prepared vegetable juices, dishes made from potatoes, vegetables and mushrooms. The duration of the diet during the treatment of worms is determined by the doctor.
Hygiene measures for helminth infestations include frequent and thorough hand washing with soap. The procedure must be carried out before eating, after using the toilet and after returning from the street. Bed linen is changed 2-3 times a week. Be sure to iron after washing. Take a clean towel every time after bathing.
Treatment of worms in adults and children is carried out with the following drugs:
- A broad-spectrum anthelmintic of the benzimidazole type – effective against roundworms and trematodes. Contraindicated in children under 2 years of age, prescribed with caution to pregnant and lactating women. The dosage and frequency of taking the drug depends on the type of worms. For roundworms and mixed infestations, 1 tablet is prescribed. 2 times a day for three days. Enterobiasis is treated for three days in a row, taking 1 tablet per day. The course is repeated after 21 days. Echinococci in an adult are eliminated by increasing the dosage of the drug: the first 3 days – 500 mg in the morning and evening, the next three days – 500 mg three times a day until complete recovery from parasites. The duration of treatment for echinococcosis is determined by the doctor (from 4 to 6 weeks).
- A broad-spectrum antihelmintic drug from the pyrazinisoquinoline group. Contraindicated for children under 4 years and pregnant women (1st trimester). Effective on muscle/tissue worms. Urogenital schistosomiasis (worms live in blood vessels near the bladder), intestines and abdomen are treated with a single dose of the drug (40 mg/10 kg). For severe forms of parasitic vascular disease, tablets are taken three times a day (every 6 hours) at 20-25 mg/10 kg.
- A broad-spectrum drug from the benzimidazole group. Not prescribed for children under 2 years, pregnant or breastfeeding women. For intestinal helminthiasis, adults are prescribed 400 mg/day once, children 60 mg/10 kg. For parasites in the brain, adults are prescribed 800 mg/day, children 15 mg/kg, the duration of treatment is 8-30 days.
Antihelminthics are toxic. They are not prescribed for people with liver failure, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn's disease.
How to cure worms with home remedies:
- Grind flax seeds (1 tbsp). Pour the powder into 0. 5 liters of cold water. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook covered over low heat for 20 minutes. Drink 100 ml on an empty stomach in the morning and evening for 10 days in a row. The recipe helps against almost all parasites that can live in the human body - pinworms, tapeworms, giardia.
- Grind 300g dried but not fried pumpkin seeds. Add enough warm, boiled water to the powder to form a paste. Add a large spoonful of honey. Eat the entire mixture on an empty stomach. After 4 hours, take a laxative. The recipe is effective against intestinal worms in humans.
Pumpkin seeds are an allergenic product, so skin itching may occur during the treatment of worms. An anti-allergic tablet helps with this.
Which parasites can only be removed surgically?
Surgical treatment of helminthiasis requires the following conditions:
- Constipation of the intestinal tract – a pathological condition caused by roundworms, tapeworms, leeches and other worms.
- Perforation of the intestinal wall - the bovine tapeworm drills a hole and enters the human abdominal cavity.
- Parasitic cholecystitis with subsequent necrosis of the pancreas is a blockage of the bile duct by a band parasite.
The most common procedure for echinococcosis is surgery. Parasitic cysts of an infected person in the lungs, kidneys, liver and spleen are removed by laparotomy or laparoscopy.
How dangerous is a helminth infestation for the body?
If left untreated, the pathology takes a chronic course. The most dangerous thing that can happen in the body with a severe form of the disease is the destruction of tissues of internal organs, suffocation and the onset of blindness.
How to protect yourself from infection
To prevent helminthic infestation in the body, a person must:
- Carefully observe the rules of personal hygiene.
- Treat parasites in pets promptly.
- Heat fish for 60 minutes, meat for 2-3 hours.
In people with strong immunity, worm eggs are neutralized, so the immune system needs to be constantly strengthened. To do this, it is enough to lead a healthy lifestyle and regularly take vitamin and mineral complexes.