What Do Pinworms Look Like
The pinworms are white, can be seen with the naked eye and are about the length of a staple . The eggs that are laid by the female worms are not visible as they are about 55 micrometers in diameter and are translucent .
The male and female worms live for the most part within the rectum of humans but have a life cycle in humans that involves rectal/oral transmission .
While an infected person is asleep, female pinworms leave the intestines through the anus and deposit eggs on the skin around the anus. This causes itching and irritation of the surrounding area children especially will scratch the rectal/anal area, get eggs on their fingers or underneath their fingernails and transport the infective eggs to bedding, toys, other humans, or back to themselves. The eggs hatch into larval forms in the small intestines and then progress to the large intestine where they mature, mate, and progress to the rectal/anal area where females deposit about 10 to 15 thousand eggs.
What Is Anal Itching
Itchy anus, also known as, pruritus ani, is a fairly common symptom that can be associated with a variety of conditions. In many cases, itching around the perianal area is not dangerous, and you can often treat your condition at home.
Many different things can lead to itching around the anus. These causes can be as diverse as nothing more than the toilet paper you buy or as serious as rectal bleeding from a tumor in your gastrointestinal tract.
Only rarely is anal itching a sign of a serious medical condition. Most cases of itchy anus can clear up on their own or with simple home remedies. If you begin seeing large amounts of blood in your stool or in the toilet after you have had a bowel movement, however, something serious could be going on and you should consider getting medical treatment immediately.
Life Cycle Of A Pinworm
Infections begin when pinworm eggs are eaten, usually directly through contaminated hands or indirectly through contaminated food, bedding, clothing or other articles. The eggs then travel to the gut where they hatch and mature. A grown pinworm is yellowish white, slender and about one centimetre long.
Around 4 weeks after ingestion, the adult female moves down the gut and exits the body via the anus to lay a batch of eggs on the surrounding skin, often at night. The worm then dies, her reproductive mission complete.
The eggs may cause intense itching, especially at night, so children can easily reinfect themselves by scratching the anus and scraping eggs under their fingernails. These eggs can then be transferred to the mouth and the whole life cycle of the pinworm starts again.
The eggs can survive on surfaces or objects for up to 2 weeks in the right conditions and can infect other people if transferred to the mouth or food.
Household pets cannot be infected with pinworms or pass them on to humans.
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How Big Does A Tapeworm Get In The Intestine
The adult tapeworm is made up of many small segments, called proglottids, each about the size of a grain of rice. Adult tapeworms may measure 4-28 inches in length. As the tapeworm matures inside the intestine, these segments break off and pass into the stool.
Pinworms are also called threadworms. Theyre the most common type of intestinal worm infection in the U.S., and one of the most common in the world. Theyre thin and white, and about one-quarter to one-half inch long about as long as a staple. Tapeworms are flat worms that look a bit like ribbons.
What Can Parents Do
If you think your child has pinworms, contact your doctor. A simple test will check for pinworms. They can be treated with an oral medication that can take up to 2 weeks to work. Itching can continue for at least a week after taking the medication. Your doctor may give your child a second dose after 2 weeks.
Try to keep your child from scratching. Bathing your child in the morning will help get rid of many of the eggs.
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Why Do Hemorrhoids Itch
Hemorrhoids are either external or internal. External hemorrhoids are found beneath the skin surrounding the anus while internal hemorrhoids are found inside the rectum.
Sometimes straining while using the bathroom pushes an internal hemorrhoid until it protrudes through the anus. When this happens its called a prolapsed internal hemorrhoid.
When an internal hemorrhoid prolapses it brings along mucus that can irritate the sensitive area around the anus causing itching. If the hemorrhoid stays prolapsed, mucus production continues and so does the itching.
If stool mixes with the mucus, that combination can make the irritation, and thus the itching, greater.
Anal itching is also referred to as pruritus ani which could be triggered by a number of conditions aside from hemorrhoids.
These other causes include:
What Medications And Other Products Treat Hemorrhoids
Medications are used to control symptoms by softening the stool, decreasing the inflammation of the hemorrhoids, and treating the pain. Stool softeners work by increasing the water and fat content within the stool allowing it to be passed more easily. Docusate sodium is the most often recommended drug in this class .
Inflammation can be controlled with over-the-counter creams or suppositories. Some brand ingredients include low dose topical anesthetics to help with symptoms. Others contain astringents that help shrink the swollen tissues. Both may contain low dose steroids to decrease inflammation. People with diabetes should check with their pharmacist or health care professional before using OTC hemorrhoid treatments. If the medication contains a vasoconstrictor it may elevate blood sugar levels if absorbed in large amounts. Prescription-strength lidocaine or hydrocortisone may be offered by the health care professional.
Grade 2 and 3 hemorrhoids are initially treated the same way, using techniques to destroy hemorrhoids. These include injecting the hemorrhoid vein to make it sclerose or harden, using rubber bands to choke off the blood supply and make the hemorrhoidal tissue shrivel, or other procedures that cause the mucosa to shrivel and die.
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How Are Pinworms Typically Treated
Pyrantel pamoate is in most over-the-counter treatments for pinworms. This includes Reeses Pinworm Medicine and Pin-X. Prescription-strength medications are also available. Your doctor may prescribe a two-dose treatment of mebendazole or albendazole to help you clear the infection. The second dose of medication is typically given two weeks after the first dose.
Youll also need to make adjustments to your personal hygiene and home care. Follow these tips:
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Keep your fingernails short, and refrain from biting your nails.
- Wear tight underwear.
- Wash your underwear in hot water each day.
- Change your sleepwear regularly.
- Mop or vacuum the floors in all living spaces.
- Wash all linens and bedding in hot water.
What Are The Complications Associated With A Pinworm Infection
Most people dont experience serious complications as a result of pinworm infections. In rare cases, if the infestation is left untreated, pinworm infections can lead to a in women.
Pinworms can also travel from the anus into the vagina, affecting the , , and other . This may result in other infections, including and endometritis. Endometritis is an inflammation of the uterine lining.
The presence of a significant number of pinworms can cause .
Substantial pinworm populations can rob your body of essential nutrients, which can cause .
The best way to prevent pinworm infections and reinfections is to follow recommended hygiene routines and encourage other household members, especially children, to do the same.
You can work to prevent pinworm infections with several practices:
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap after using the toilet. Be especially careful after bowel movements and changing diapers. Do the same before preparing food and eating. This is the best mode of prevention.
- Keep your fingernails short and clean.
- Discourage habits that could spread pinworm eggs, such as nail biting or scratching.
- Shower daily in the morning to remove pinworm eggs that may have been deposited overnight.
- Change your underwear and clothing daily.
- Use hot water in the washing machine and hot air in the dryer when laundering bedding, clothing, and towels that may contain pinworm eggs.
- Keep rooms well-lit during the day because the eggs are sensitive to sunlight.
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What Causes An Itchy Anus
The list of causes of anal itching is quite long. Thankfully, many of the common causes of itching around the anus are not dangerous, and can be prevented simply by avoiding certain irritants like spicy food or the wrong kind of toilet paper. It is also possible that improper wiping following a bowel movement can lead to itching.
Friction from wiping with rough toilet paper is enough to cause irritation to the skin in the anal area. Dyes and perfumes present in some toilet paper, soaps, or detergents are also potential sources of irritation if your body develops an allergic reaction to certain chemicals. Allergic dermatitis is the name given to this condition when the skin has become irritated by chemicals your body is reacting to. This can sometimes create additional discomfort if you are using cleansing wipes that contain alcohol, dyes, or perfumes that could be irritating the skin you are trying to care for.
Various infections and medical conditions can also be at fault. These can vary from common yeast infections to sexually transmitted infections, bacterial infections, and even infections from various parasites such as pinworms.
Skin conditions can cause itching all over the body, and the anus is no exception. A form of eczema known as atopic dermatitis can lead to itching in the anal area, as can psoriasis. Skin tags, which can occur in various places on the body, can trap small quantities of stool or moisture that may produce anal itching.
How Do I Check Myself For Pinworms
How Is Pruritus Ani Diagnosed
The doctor will obtain a full medical history and perform a physical examination to identify possible underlying causes, such as dermatological conditions and other illnesses. He or she will visually inspect the area to look for changes in skin color or texture, rashes, or lesions. The doctor will ask about any medications that you take and the type and frequency of bowel movements.
The doctor may obtain skin specimens and perform tests to screen for bacterial or other infections.
Parents of children who may have pinworms can place a small piece of surgical tape, or scotch tape, near the childs anus before bedtime. The worms are more likely to emerge at night. In the morning, when the child awakens, the tape can be removed to see if the worms or their eggs are present. This is called the scotch tape test.
Hygiene And Symptom Relief
Proper hygiene is important. After bowel movements, the anal area should be cleaned with absorbent cotton or plain soft tissue moistened with warm water or a commercial cleanser made specifically for hemorrhoids. People should avoid using soaps and premoistened wipes.
Frequent dusting with nonmedicated cornstarch or talcum powder helps combat excess moisture.
Corticosteroid ointments often help relieve symptoms.
Clothing should be loose, and bed clothing should be lightweight.
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How Can You Tell If You Have A Tapeworm Infection
A tapeworm infection is usually diagnosed by finding eggs or tapeworm segments in the stool. Your doctor may ask you to bring in a sample so a lab can look for eggs, larvae, or tapeworm segments. A blood test can spot antigens, harmful substances that let your doctor know your body is trying to fight the infection.
How Are Pinworm Infections Diagnosed
Your doctor may ask you to help make the diagnosis of pinworm by placing a sticky piece of clear cellophane tape against the skin around your child’s anus. Pinworm eggs will stick to the tape and can be seen under a microscope. The best time to do this is at night or in the morning before a bath . The doctor also might take some samples from under a child’s fingernails to look for eggs.
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How Do Pinworm Infections Spread
Pinworm infections are contagious.
Pinworms get into the body when people ingest or breathe in the microscopic pinworm eggs. These eggs can be found on contaminated hands and surfaces, such as:
- bed linens
- desks or lunch tables at school
The eggs pass into the digestive system and hatch in the small intestine. From the small intestine, pinworm larvae go to the large intestine, where they live as parasites .
About 1 to 2 months later, adult female pinworms leave the large intestine through the anus . They lay eggs on the skin right around the anus, which triggers itching in that area. Often, this happens at night.
When someone scratches the itchy area, microscopic pinworm eggs transfer to their fingers. Contaminated fingers can then carry pinworm eggs to the mouth, where they go back into the body, or stay on various surfaces, where they can live for 2 to 3 weeks.
If you’re wondering if your family pet could give your child a pinworm infection, it can’t. Pinworms don’t come from animals.
Evaluation And Management Of Common Anorectal Conditions
MATTHEW V. FARGO, MD, MPH, Eisenhower Army Medical Center, Fort Gordon, Georgia
KELLY M. LATIMER, MD, MPH, Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
Am Fam Physician. 2012 Mar 15 85:624-630.
Anorectal conditions are a common presentation in the primary care setting. A history and physical examination usually will determine the etiology. Physical examination includes visual inspection, digital rectal examination, and anoscopy. Proper use of an anoscope has been described previously in American Family Physician.1 For any anorectal condition, malignancy must be considered and excluded as indicated from the history and physical examination. Anal cancer can coexist with benign anal conditions. Red flags warrant evaluation with colonoscopy. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations on screening for colorectal cancer are available at .2 This article reviews the presentation and physical examination findings of benign anorectal disorders and available treatments. A summary of conditions, history and physical examination findings, and treatment options is provided in Table 1.337
SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE
Topical steroids, antibacterial soap, and topical capsaicin 0.006% cream are effective for the treatment of idiopathic pruritus ani.
SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE
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How Can You Tell If You Have A Pinworm Infection
Any pinworm eggs will stick to the tape, which your doctor can see under a microscope in a lab. A tapeworm infection is usually diagnosed by finding eggs or tapeworm segments in the stool.
You have probably heard of both pinworms and hemorrhoids being common gastrointestinal disorders that can cause itching, burning, and discomfort in the anorectal area. Pinworms are small parasites that can set up camp in your colon or rectum.
Signs Of Anal Skin Tags
Skin tags are not hemorrhoids, but they can be left behind after an external hemorrhoid has healed. Skin tags appear after the skin is stretched, such as by an external hemorrhoid. Once the hemorrhoid has resolved itself, the skin may remain stretched, resulting in a skin tag.
Skin tags are benign, but it is advisable to get any lump checked by a doctor to get confirmation of that.
Skin tags have the following characteristics:
- Small bumps or raised areas
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How Are Pinworm Infections Treated
If your child has a pinworm infection, the doctor will recommend an over-the-counter or prescription antiworm medicine. This is given in one dose and repeated in 2 weeks. The doctor may decide to treat the entire family, especially if your child has had a pinworm infection before.
Although medicine takes care of the worm infection, the itching may continue for about a week. So the doctor also might give your child a cream or other medicine to help stop the itching.
Regular hand washing and routine household cleaning also will help prevent the spread of a pinworm infection within the family.
Bleeding From The Anus
A common sign of hemorrhoids is bleeding from the anus. Blood from hemorrhoids is likely to be a brighter red because it comes directly from arteries or veins. The blood can be found:
- On toilet paper after wiping
- In the toilet bowl
Anal bleeding is a symptom of several other conditions, including:
Anal fissure, anal abscess and anal fistula
Bright red blood can also be a sign of an anal fissure, anal abscess and/or anal fistula.
- An anal fissure is a small tear or sore in the skin of the anal canal
- An anal abscess is a pocket near the anus filled with pus
- An anal fistula is a tunnel that runs from the end of the bowel to the skin around the anus
Symptoms of these conditions that are not shared with hemorrhoids include:
- Anal fissure can cause sharp pain during and after passing a stool, while hemorrhoid pain is normally less severe
- An anal abscess can cause a firm, warm, tender, non-thrombosed lump around the anus. Abscesses may sometimes cause fever
- Anal fistula commonly forms after a previous abscess
Polyps are another type of growth that can be found in similar parts of the body to hemorrhoids. A polyp in the colon or rectum can also cause bleeding. In the case of colorectal polyps, blood can sometimes be seen in the feces. If a person has polyps they may also experience:
- Abdominal pain
- Mucus from the anus
- A change in bowel habits
Colon cancer and rectal cancer
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