Pinworm Infection

Pinworm infection is among the common intestinal worm infections recorded in the United States. Pinworm belongs to Enterobius genus which is also called as threadworm. It is a parasitic anematode or roundworm which is considered as a common parasite found in intestine especially in humans. The medical condition that occurs due to infestation of pinworm is called as enterobiasis or also as oxyuriasis which derives its name from Oxyuridae. Pinworms are thin and white parasitic anematode measures around 5 to 13 millimeters in length. It is said that when an infected individuals sleeps female pinworms dwelling in the anal folding skin lays thousands of eggs.

Most people who get affected with pinworm do not have any symptoms; however; some individuals may experience restlessness, sleeping issues and/or anal itching. Pinworm infection commonly occurs in children of school going age. Eggs of these parasites are extremely minute and can be visible only through close inspection. The condition may spread easily from child to child. Pinworm infection is often treated using oral medications, maintaining hygiene, etc.

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Pinworm infection causes

Pinworm infection usually occurs when a person swallows pinworm eggs accidentally. These eggs usually reach your mouth through contaminated utensils, foods, drinks and other objects that are brought close to your mouth. The swallowed eggs get hatched in the intestine and within a few weeks they mature and become adult worms.  Female pinworms crawl to the anal region to lay their eggs which often causes itching in the anal region. When you scratch the itching area these eggs may get stuck in between your finger nail and may also cling to your fingers. These eggs may then get transferred to skin surface of yourself or others whom you touch. Eggs may also get transported to objects such as toys, cloths, utensils, bedclothes etc. Pinworm eggs may also get transferred to food, drinks and liquids as well. These eggs may remain alive for 2 weeks to 3 weeks on the surface of any object. One may become infected with this parasite only after ingesting the eggs or the parasites through contaminated drinks or foods. These parasites may also infect you if you touch the carrier skin region or any object and touch your mouth.


There are several manifestations of pinworm infection. Some of these symptoms are as follows:

  • Itchiness of vaginal or the anal region
  • Insomnia or sleeplessness
  • Irritation or restlessness which may serve to be a factor for insomnia
  • Intermittent pain in the abdomen
  • Queasiness or vomiting

Some people suffering from pinworms do not experience any symptoms and the infection remains nondescript. If you experience any of the aforementioned irregularities consult a doctor and get yourself treated.

 Diagnosis of pinworm infection

Your doctor may look for eggs or worms in the affected skin region in order to determine the cause of the condition. He may physically examine the affected area which is the first test that he may conduct.  One can also perform a tape tests at home. If you suspect that you or anyone in your family is suffering from pinworm infestation then this test can be performed by yourself or ask the affected person to do it. All you have to do is take a transparent adhesive tape and press its sticky side on the affected area. This should be done first thing in the morning. This will cause the eggs to stick to the tape which can be tested later. In order to get good results of this method one should perform the test for three days regularly. Take the tapes used for testing to the doctor and which then will be examined under microscope. This will help your doctor to determine the parasite that infests you or any other issue.

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Usually in case of mild pinworm infection treatment is not necessary. If treatment is needed and symptoms are unbearable consulting a doctor is the first thing to do. Your doctor may also ask other family members to get diagnosed with the condition and seek treatment if found affected. This is because pinworm eggs are easily transferable and may affect other members in the family. Doctors commonly prescribe anti-parasite drugs against pinworm. These medicines would include mebendazole and albendazole (Albenza). During the treatment the affected individual may also experience mild gastrointestinal side-effects of the medicine. The doctor may suggest two doses to cure the condition completely.


Prevention methods are essential to be practiced not only to prevent pinworm infection but also to prevent recurring infection. First thing you need to do is ensure washing your anal region in the morning. It is determined that pinworms lay their eggs at night while you are asleep. Washing your anal area thoroughly in the morning will help in significantly reducing the amount of pinworm eggs on your body. Avoid using tubs for bathing try showering which will reduce chances of re-contamination.

Change your inner wear and bed linen every day as it helps removing any eggs that might have reached these materials. While washing your clothes such as bed-linen, underwear, towels, etc, ensure that you use hot water for better hygiene as hot water can kill parasites and other invaders.

You should strictly avoid scratching the anal region. The affected individual should keep his nails trimmed and clean to avoid possibilities of eggs getting trapped in finger nails. Also it is a good practice to clean the toilet seat daily. Try washing your hands as frequently as possible especially when you are affected with pinworm infection.

Though pinworm infection is said to be mild it can bring-on serious consequences. In females the parasites may pass to the vagina from anal opening and may affect the uterus, pelvic organ and fallopian tube. This may also lead to vaginitis and endometritis inflammation. If an affected individual has large amount of pinworms dwelling in the intestine then dramatic weight loss can be a manifestation. This is because pinworms take surplus nutrients from your daily does and may also lead to stomach pain. Hence, it is better to treat the condition appropriately with help of a doctor.

Pinworm pictures


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