Often, we associate any kind of itching around the vaginal area with a yeast infection or worse a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD). Even though this normally turns out to be the right diagnosis, you may also be having an itch around your anal and vaginal area that has nothing to do with an infection. A relentless itch could be a sign of pinworms.
The vaginal area is the most intimate part of the body for a woman and just the idea that you could get worms down there is freaking. Having them is embarrassing and telling your gynecologist about it sounds humiliating. Yet statistics show that pinworms are the most common kind in the United States. Therefore, there is a substantial number of people suffering from this condition but are ashamed of coming out.
Here are some characteristics of Pinworms that you need to know
- It looks like a little piece of white or cream thread that is less than half an inch long.
- It usually matures in the stomach and moves to the anal area through the digestive system at night when the victim is sick.
- Threadworms can live up to 6 weeks.
Here are some signs and symptoms that show you could be having a serious case of pinworm infestation.
- Their presence in the vaginal area
- Severe itching around the anal area. the itching becomes worse at night when the female worms are laying eggs.
- Disturbed sleep due to irritability caused by the itching
- Scratching can cause a yeast infection in the vagina, irritation and vaginal
- Inflammation of the vaginal area
- You may notice it in your child’s bottom, in their inner wear or poo
- If pinworms in adults are left untreated, they can cause loss of appetite and weight loss.
A person is infected by them by ingesting their eggs. The eggs are deposited around the anus by the worms and can be carried to common surfaces such as hands, toys, bedding, and clothing.
People who are infected can transfer the parasites to others. Pinworms can spread very fast and become a disaster. A person who previously suffered from Enterobiasis can get re-infected even after treatment.
The following are some of the people who are at a higher risk of getting a pinworm infestation;
- Children who suck their thumb because they end up swallowing eggs unknowingly.
- People who eat raw meat are also at a greater risk of getting threadworms
- Individuals who live in crowded areas
- A family with school going children especially those in pre-school can get these parasites
- Individuals who stay in shared accommodation like boarding schools, army barracks, restaurants, college
- People who don’t observe proper hygiene.
A doctor can examine your anal area or vagina to see if they will find any worms. This is often enough proof that a person has the parasites. But in case this fails, then a tape test is done. This is where you take a clear piece of tape and press the sticky side to the skin around the anus. The eggs will there. The test should be done as soon as a person wakes up, before using the toilet, taking bath or dressing. The doctor will observe the tape under a microscope and give a further recommendation.
You can also do a self-diagnosis by wiping your anus with a toilet paper and examine if you will see any worms. To do this, you need to know what it look like on a toilet paper. It will look like a tiny piece of white or cream thread.
treatment and prevention
There are two steps on how to get rid of pinworms. The first one is medication which will kill but not the eggs. You, therefore, need to practice a high level of good hygiene to prevent re-infection and spreading.
Kill the worms
Your doctor may prescribe Albendazole as the best pinworm medicine. Mebendazole is also a good threadworm tablet. Both treatments block its ability to absorb glucose, therefore, killing them in a few days. The medication should be administered to the whole household to avoid re-infection. It is recommended that you take at least two doses for effectiveness.
Kill the eggs
Medication is enough to kill them but there is a chance you will get a re-infection if you don’t destroy all the eggs. Follow the following procedure to get rid of pinworm eggs.
- Every infected person should wash their hands thoroughly with hot water before meals.
- Vacuum your home thoroughly and consecutively for at least 6 weeks. Use a disinfectant to wash the walls if possible.
- Everyone in the house should take hot showers and change their inner garments
- Avoid scratching your anal region
- Wash your bedding, towel, and clothing with hot water to kill the eggs. You can throw them away if possible.
- Eating garlic and onions and skipping sugary foods will also help prevent the situation in future.
- Keep your fingernails short and clean.
- Train your kids to refrain from finger sucking and nail-biting.
- Refrain from scratching the anal area. wearing gloves will help you a lot.
A pinworm infestation is not a fatal infection. The condition affects more than one million Americans who don’t even know they are infected. It is therefore not something you should worry about. But you need to know how to treat them because if left untreated, they can cause vaginal infection, appendicitis. The worms can also interfere with your reproductive system if they go up to the fallopian tube.