Reasons for Getting Pinworms and How to Treat Them

Almost everyone is familiar with the term ‘pinworms’ or just ‘worms’, which are responsible for one of the most common infections worldwide. A pinworm infection is an intestinal illness. Other names that it’s most known for are ‘threadworm’ and ‘Enterobius vermicularis’. These worms are small, thin and narrow, white and about 1.5cm long. Children between the age of 5-10 are most commonly affected by them as they tend to put their fingers in their mouths.

But once the child is infected, almost any adult who lives in the same household can get the infection. Female worms do their work while the person is asleep. They pass through the anus and lay eggs on the surrounding skin. That’s why personal hygiene is essential in preventing this relatively harmless infection that can be treated with medication.

What Are the Symptoms?


Many people who are infected may not notice or experience the symptoms. But overall, they are easily detectable and recognizable and will include:

  • Frequent itching in the anal area, especially at night;
  • Sleepless night because of discomfort;
  • Skin irritations around the anal area like, rash and pain;
  • Presence of pinworms in stools;
  • Presence of pinworms in the area of your child’s anus;
  • Possible abdominal pain that will come and go;
  • Reduced appetite;
  • Possible behavioural changes;
  • Feeling mildly unwell;
  • If worms move to the vagina, they may cause itching and inflammation.

If you notice any or all of these symptoms, contact and consult with your doctor as soon as possible.

What Are the Causes?

This type of infection is highly contagious for everyone. You can get infected by inhaling or ingesting pinworm eggs. These eggs are deposited on a surface by a person that’s already been infected, and the infection starts with their ingestion. They’re microscopic, so you don’t see them enter your body in any way. Once they do, they’ll stop at the intestine, where they’ll hatch and mature. When female worms reach adulthood, they exit the body at night, lay eggs in the anal area and return to the colon. The eggs will hatch and grow into adult pinworms approximately a month later.

These eggs cause itching and discomfort, and the person starts scratching the area, thus easily transferring pinworm eggs on their fingers and fingernails. Eggs can survive there for several hours. By eating or drinking, or touching some contaminated objects like bedsheets, toys, toilet seats or clothes, you’ll transfer them to your body and spread them even more in your surroundings where they can live up to 3 weeks. Children get these infections more often because they put infected objects in their mouths. Luckily, this infection will go away with the help of worm medications.

How to Treat Pinworms?


The first thing you and your doctor should do is diagnose and make sure you have pinworms before receiving treatment. Usually, it’s diagnosed by performing a simple test. Tape is used to collect samples of the anal area early in the morning. If the test comes out positive, there are two ways in treating pinworms. The first is with worm medications. The most common and most effective ones are:

  • Pyrantel pamoate
  • Mebendazole
  • Albendazole

All of these can be prescribed by your doctor, and they’re the most effective way in treating pinworms. Since this infection is highly contangoes, everyone who lives in the house and even the more frequent visitors like caregivers and babysitters should be taking the therapy. This is crucial to prevent further contamination and reinfection. Usually, it takes more than one dose to fix the problem, and 2 or 3 are recommended for a full recovery, with pauses between the doses, of course. Also, using ointments and creams will help with irritation and itching.

The other way of clearing pinworms is by having household cleaning strategies. These include:

  • Thorough handwashing with soap and warm water, especially before meals;
  • Cutting and cleaning everyone’s fingernails (especially children’s fingernails);
  • Frequent showering;
  • Changing underwear every morning (and twice a day if needed);
  • No more nail-biting;
  • Avoid scratching the anal area;
  • Washing and drying the clothes, bedsheets and towels with hot water and high heat;
  • Not shaking the bedsheets inside;
  • Children shouldn’t bathe together;
  • Give the house a thorough clean;
  • Vacuum all carpeted areas.

What Are the Possible Complications?

Complications caused by pinworm infection are very rare, and most people go by with just worm tablets. But sometimes, things can escalate, and complications may occur. If a female has many pinworms left untreated, they might travel to the vagina and the uterus, fallopian tubes, and pelvic organs. This will lead to urinary tract infections and inflammation known as vulvovaginitis.

The presence of many worms may also lead to abdominal pain, bacterial infections, appendicitis, and abdominal infections. Because they will rob the body of its nutrients, the patient may experience weight loss. Other than this, pinworms can’t cause anything more serious.

What to Do to Prevent Getting Pinworms?


Follow and reinforce these tips in your household, and you’ll see the benefits of their implementation:

  • Regular hand washing;
  • Be careful after a bowel movement and diaper change;
  • No nail-biting;
  • Daily showers on your own;
  • Frequent underwear change;
  • Use hot water and high heat for washing and drying;
  • Bring sunlight into the room;
  • Don’t share towels;
  • Clean potties and toilet seats frequently;
  • Take medication.

Because pinworms are very stubborn and can keep on living on bedding for 2-3 weeks, it’s essential to follow these steps to heal faster and go back to your everyday life.

To Summarize

Pinworms are not something that can cause significant health problems if treated the right way. Give up all the unhealthy habits to lower the chances of getting infected and your kids. Getting rid of pinworms with worm treatment is the best option out there, and although it’s pain-free, this treatment can last for a longer period of time. Instead, take good care of the hygiene, and you’ll lower the chance of infection.