Intestinal worms also known as parasitic worms is a common problem observed in the developing countries. This may be due to unhygienic and poor sanitary conditions. The common categories include tapeworms and hookworms. The other worms include roundworms, flukes, and pinworms.
These worms are responsible for causing intestinal infection which results in symptoms similar to gut disorders. Medical intervention is very important in these cases to avoid complications. The latest estimates according to WHO give an indication that more than 880 million children require treatment for these parasites.
What are the causes of Intestinal Worms?
- Intestinal parasites are majorly caused by protozoa (single-celled organisms that multiply within the body) or helminths (worms and larvae).
- Consumption of contaminated water
- Consumption of contaminated soil
- Contact with contaminated feces
- Poor sanitation
- Poor hygiene
- Consumption of undercooked meat from an infected animal such as pig, fish, cow, etc.
Once the intake of contaminated substance happens, it travels inside the intestine, reproduce and grow there. Once they are larger in number, they cause trouble and the symptoms may appear.
Types of intestinal worms and how they enter the human body?
The tapeworm belongs to the category of flatworms. These get attached to the intestine by themselves. Through a structure called as proglottids (chain of segments which includes the head and neck), it grows and reproduces the eggs. Adult tapeworms may live up to 30 years in a host. Many a time people affected with tapeworms don’t exhibit any symptoms or the symptoms occur in a mild form.
On appearance these worms are flat and long, 3 to 10 meters. Different types of tapeworm exist. Some live in water, others are found in meats such as beef or pork. Ingestion of unclean or raw meats can also be a leading cause to them.
People can become infected by hookworms if they walk barefoot because the larvae of the worm live in the soil and have an ability to penetrate the skin.
In an initial stage, the individual may have itchy rashes, then symptoms like fever, cough, wheezing. Abdominal cramps, loss of appetite and diarrhea occur. If in the case of chronic infections, it can also lead to blood loss and anemia. Severe cases may also lead to heart failure and swelling all over the body.
The hookworms take up a place in the small intestine and these flushes out of the body through the feces. When the eggs hatch, the larvae enter through the skin of another individual. It causes risk when people come in contact with the fecal matter or with soil which has contaminated feces.
People affected by hookworm does not exhibit any symptoms. In a few cases, they show up with GIT symptoms. The worms can be identified in the eggs, in stool samples by the physicians.
Once the flukes are inside the body, they easily adhere to the bile duct and liver. Most of the individuals affected do not show any symptoms immediately, but they occur after months or year after the ingestion of the parasite. The bile ducts get inflamed or completely blocked. They also may have an abnormally large liver.
Pinworm is a type of roundworm which is thin and small just like a staple. These worms are relatively harmless. They are found in the colon and rectum of humans. These are transmitted directly or sharing the contaminate objects together.
The pinworms commonly exhibit symptoms like itching around the anal region, which is severe enough to disturb the sleep. Majorly the symptoms appear during the night because the pinworms crawl out of the anal opening and lay the eggs around the skin.
These are very similar to a hookworm, although it is longer than them. They are present in contaminated soils. The worms enter the body through the ingestion of eggs. These directly get into the intestine.
People with ascariasis infection often show few to no symptoms. But, if severe infections persist then, it can lead to intestinal blockage or impairs the child growth.
Trichinella worms falls under a group of roundworms that pass to humans through undercooked or raw meats which possess the live larvae. People who tends to take wild meats such as, pork, bear, etc. are more prone to this infection. Once they enter the body, they grow in the intestine.
On attaining maturity and reaching to full size, these worms leave the site and live in other tissues such as muscles. Symptoms include gastrointestinal irritation, Chills, Muscle aches, Joint pain and Swelling of the face or eyes.
Severe infections may lead to breathing difficulty, heart diseases or difficulty in moving. Very severe cases may even lead to death also.
What are the Symptoms of Intestinal Worms?
Depending upon the species, the symptoms may vary. Also, the variation may happen from person to person.
However, some of the signs and symptoms remain common in all intestinal infections. They include,
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal cramps
- Stomach upset
- If these symptoms prolong for a long time, they can lead to weight loss
- Presence of worms in the stools
In rare scenarios, the intestinal worms lead to severe blockage and obstruct the bowel movement.
Natural Home Remedies for Intestinal Worms
1. Neem Leaves
Neem is widely available all over and is used to cure a countless number of diseases. This is very effective against parasitic worms as well. Chew the neem leaves in the empty stomach.
The antibacterial property of neem helps it to dispatch the worms and set back the stomach to normalcy. Neem has rich antioxidants that help to detoxify the body.
This an age-old remedy followed since many centuries. Consuming papaya regularly is very effective in the case of destroying intestinal worms. Unripe papaya can be cooked and taken with regular meals. Ripe papaya can be taken in the mornings in an empty stomach, which helps to clear the toxins in the stomach.
Papaya is proved for its anthelmintic properties, which helps to eliminate intestinal worms.
3. Pumpkin seeds
Consume a handful of pumpkin seeds daily in the morning. This is a very helpful remedy for eliminating parasitic worms.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in phytoconstituent, cucurbitacin which effectively destroys the worms by expelling them out.
Eating Pomegranate on a regular basis is considered to be the most helpful remedy in maintaining overall health. These help to clear the intestinal worms effortlessly.
Pomegranate is claimed to be an effective anthelmintic through various scientific studies conducted. Also, this one among the oldest and most trusted home remedies for intestinal parasites.
5. Garlic Cloves
Garlic cloves can be chewed and taken. Alternatively adding garlic to every meal is also an ideal option.
Garlic contains sulfuric compounds that are unpleasant for the worms leading to their death. Regular usage can lower the impact of intestinal infection.