Pinworm Symptoms, Treatments & More

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By christine
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Reviewed: dr. vanta
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. 'CDC - Enterobiasis - General Information - Frequently Asked Questions.' _Centers for Disease Control and Prevention_, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 Sept. 2020, cdc.gov/parasites/pinworm/gen info/faqs.html
  • 2. 'Pinworm Infection.' _Mayo Clinic_, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 16 June mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pinworm/symptoms-causes/syc-20376382.
  • 3. 'Pinworms: Treatment and Prevention.' _Pinworms: Treatment, Prevention and When to See a Doctor_, nationwidechildrens.org/conditions/pinworms-treatment-and-prevention.
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The pinworm is a threadworm. These tiny, thin, white worms spread when a person unknowingly ingests fecal matter infected with pinworm eggs. Pinworm infections are common among young school children, institutionalized individuals and people caring for persons with pinworm.1‘CDC - Enterobiasis - General Information - Frequently Asked Questions.’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 Sept. 2020, cdc.gov/parasites/pinworm/gen info/faqs.html

Although unpleasant, pinworm infections aren’t serious and rarely lead to severe complications. The most significant discomfort is anal and vaginal itching. Over-the-counter and prescription medications can clear up an infection in as little as two weeks. It’s important to prevent reinfection and the spread of pinworms to other children, caregivers and animals through proper hygiene and cleaning measures.

1. Symptoms of a Pinworm Infection

The signs of a pinworm infection are fairly straightforward. The most common include itching around the anal and vaginal area. In very young children, symptoms may involve irritability, teeth grinding and trouble sleeping. Some people with a pinworm infection experience stomach pain and nausea.2‘Pinworm Infection.’ Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 16 June mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pinworm/symptoms-causes/syc-20376382.

Symptoms are often mild, and some people with the infection may show none at all. The itching is caused by the movement of the female pinworm as she lays eggs in the anal area. Like children, adults with pinworm infection may have problems falling and staying asleep due to discomfort and itching during the night.

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