A common problem found in developing countries is intestinal worms also known as parasitic worms. This could be due to poor sanitary conditions and unhygienic conditions. Tapeworms and Hookworms are common categories. Other worms include roundworms, pinworms, and flukes.
These worms are responsible for causing bowel infection that leads to symptoms that are similar to gut disorders. In such cases medical attention is very necessary for preventing complications. WHO’s new figures indicate that over 880 million children need care for these intestinal parasites.
• Intestinal parasites are majorly caused by protozoa (single-celled organisms that multiply within the body) or helminths (worms and larvae).
• Consuming contaminated water
• Ingestion of contaminated soil
• Contact with contaminated faeces
• Not sanitizing properly
• Poor hygienic practices.
• Consumption of undercooked meat from an infected animal such as pig, fish, cow, etc.
Once contaminated substance travels inside the intestine reproduce and grow there. Once they are larger in number, they cause trouble and the symptoms shows up.
Types of intestinal worms
The tapeworm is part of flatworm group. These are attached by themselves to the intestine. It develops and reproduces the eggs through a structure called as proglottids (chain of segments that includes the head and neck). The adult tapeworms will live in a host for up to 30 years. Most times people with tapeworms have no symptoms or the symptoms arise in a mild manner.
These worms are flat and long in length, 3 to 10 meters. There are different forms of tapeworm. Others live in mud and few are found in meats like beef or pork. They may also be a leading cause for consumption of unclean or raw meats.
Individuals may get infected with hookworms if they walk barefoot, since the worm larvae live in the soil and are able to penetrate the skin.
The individual may get itchy rashes at an initial stage, then symptoms such as fever, cough, wheezing. Abdominal cramps occur, with loss of appetite and diarrhoea. If it may also lead to blood loss and anaemia in the case of chronic infections.
Severe cases can also cause cardiac failure and swelling throughout the body The hookworms occupy a place in the small intestine and these flushes through the faeces out of the body. When the eggs hatch the larvae enter another person’s skin. It creates risk when people come into contact with the faecal material or soil that has polluted faeces.
When the flukes are inside the body, they bind easily to the bile duct and the liver. Most of the affected individuals will not exhibit any symptoms immediately, but they do occur after months or years of parasite ingestion. The bile ducts are inflamed or blocked completely. They may also have an unusually large liver.
Pinworm is a kind of roundworm that’s just like a staple, thin and tiny. Those worms are fairly harmless. These are to be found in the human colon and rectum. They are directly distributed or the infected objects are mixed together.
The pinworms usually exhibit signs such as scratching around the anal area, which is extreme enough to interrupt the sleep. The signs occur more during the night, when the pinworms crawl out of the anal opening and lay the eggs around the head.
They are very similar to a hookworm, but lengthier than they are. They occur in contaminated soils. The worms come in from egg ingestion into the body. Those get into the intestine directly.
People who are diagnosed with ascariasis frequently have little or no symptoms. But if severe infections persist then this may lead to intestinal blockage or impair the growth of the child.
Trichinella worms fall within a category of roundworms that move through undercooked or raw meats that contain the live larvae to humans. People who prefer to take wild meats like, hog, bear, etc. are more likely to get this infection. They expand in the intestine, once they enter the body.
These worms leave the site in order to reach maturity and reach full size, and live in other tissues such as muscles. Symptoms include facial or eye swelling, stomach irritation, chills, muscle aches, joint pain. Severe infections can lead to difficulty breathing, heart disease or trouble moving. Very serious cases can also lead to death.
Depending upon the worms, the symptoms may vary. Also, the variation of symptoms may happen from person to person.
Few common signs and symptoms include –
• Loss of appetite
• Abdominal cramps
• Stomach upset
Worm infestation in children is very common. If these symptoms prolong for a long time, they can lead to weight loss. In rare scenarios, the intestinal worms lead to severe blockage and obstruct the bowel movement.
• Vegetables: Aloe vera leafs, Green leafy vegetables- Spinach, Radish leaves, Pumpkin, Carrot, Beans, Cucumber, green beans, white pumpkins, asparagus, bitter gourd, Beetroot, Curry leaves, small onions, Cabbage, Legumes, mushrooms, Soya bean
• Fruits: Apples, Bananas, Blueberries, Grapefruit, Lemon, Pomegranate, Strawberries, water melon, oranges
• Grains: old rice, barley, green gram, horse gram, Most beans, lentils, chickpeas, and peas
• Spices: Asafoetida, Turmeric, Coriander, Cinnamon, Ginger, Garlic, Pepper, Methi seeds
• Nuts: Almonds, cashews, raisins, walnuts, and Flax seeds
• Honey + Lemon is good to check intestinal worms.
• Regular intake of butter milk
• Avoid eating Non-vegetarian foods
• Drink good amount of liquids including juices – sugarcane juice, pine apple juice, tender coconut water