What Are Parasites and Intestinal Worms?
Stomach Worms (Scientific Name) is also known as Intestinal Parasite Infection (Common English), Pet ke Kide (Hindi/Urdu), Potatil Jant / Krumi (Marathi), Vayirrup pulukkal (Tamil), Kadupu Purugulu (Telugu), Wei ruchong (Chinese), Gusanos Estomacales (Spanish), vermes estomacais (Portuguese), Petera krmi (Bengali), zheludochnyye chervi (Russian), cacing perut (Indonesian). An infestation of worms in the digestive system is quite common, particularly in young children, who usually contract them at school. Worms can sometimes be seen around the anus, or in the feces, and they inflame the area of the bowel or rectum where they attach themselves. Worms and other intestinal parasites which infest human beings are found in all countries of the world. However, they are more common in tropical and subtropical areas and are widely prevalent during the rainy seasons. Children are more infested with these worms than adults. There are several types of intestinal worms. The most common of these are roundworms, pinworms, threadworms, whipworms, hookworms, tapeworms, flukeworms and giardia. Microorganisms naturally inhabit and move through the body. Some are harmless, while others cause sickness. Infections can occur when parasites make their homes in your skin, gastrointestinal tract, lungs, liver, and other organs. Parasites require a host (e.g., human cells) to live and thrive. Many microorganisms see the human being as a lovely place to live. Such organisms can block the function of organs. They cause depletion of nutrients as they consume what is valuable to us. They eliminate their own waste products, leaving us overloaded with toxins to break down. Here’s how to make your body and home an inhospitable place for such creatures to settle down.
Types of Worms
Several types of worms can exist as parasites in humans, ranging in size from microscopic to many meters in length. Most infestations are uncommon in the U.K. and the U.S., apart from threadworms. There are at least 134 varieties of parasites, with two main types. Ectoparasites live on the outside of the body (fleas, ticks, and lice) and endoparasites (giardia and amoebas) live on the inside, primarily in the digestive system. Parasites considered dangerous are known as pathogens. The World Health Organization considers parasitic invasion among the six most harmful diseases. Here is the list of common intestinal worms.
- Ascaris lumbroides: This parasite causes the most common human worm infection in the world. Infection is common in the southeastern United States. In children, it can cause abdominal cramps and malnutrition. Fecal-oral transmission often occurs via uncooked or unwashed vegetables.
- Hookworm: Hookworm is not as common in the United States as in other parts of the world, yet cases do occur. It usually causes no symptoms, although a skin itch may be present. Acute symptoms can include abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, and many others. These worms can live up to ten years. They are transmitted via direct contact with soil containing the eggs of hookworms. Approximately 25 percent of the world’s population is infected with hookworms.
- Strongyloides: The eggs of these worms can penetrate the skin and migrate to the lungs and the intestines. Most infections occur via the fecal-oral route. Infected people may be asymptomatic or may have various digestive problems. Liver and nervous system infection can also be serious problems.
- Threadworms: These are tiny, white threadlike worms which infest the rectum, are not dangerous, although they do tend to disturb sleep. They cause itching around the anus, and sometimes mild, colicky abdominal pain.
What are Common Symptoms of Intestinal Worms?
The usual symptoms of intestinal worms are diarrhea, foul breath, dark circles under the eyes, constant desire for food, restlessness at night with bad dreams, anemia and headache. Roundworms may give rise to inflammation of the intestine and lungs, nausea, vomiting, loss of weight, fever, nervousness and irritability. Pin worms and thread worms may bring on intense itching in the area around the rectum. Thread worms may cause periodic bouts of diarrhea alternating with constipation, loss of weight, cough and fever. Hookworms may give rise to anemia and nutritional disorders. The presence of giardia may result in pain in the calves and weakness in the legs. Diarrhea and abdominal pain are the most common symptoms of a parasitic infection. However, in many cases of a parasite infection, these symptoms may not be present. A whole list of symptoms and conditions could be related to a parasitic infection. Examples include loss of appetite, fatigue, constipation, depressed immunity, food allergy, fever, chills, heartburn, stomach pain, inflammatory bowel disease, lower back pain, itchy anus, rash and skin itching, hives, weight loss, arthritis, bloody stools, mucus in the stool, colitis, Crohn’s disease, flatulence, foul-smelling stools, malabsorption, rectal bleeding, mood changes (depression, irritability), and vomiting.
What Causes Stomach Worms?
Worms may be acquired by eating infected meat, by contact with soil or water contaminated by worm larvae, or by accidental ingestion of worm eggs from soil contaminated by infected feces. Parasitic infections were once thought of as a problem that existed mainly in underdeveloped countries. After all, diarrheal disease (from parasites and bacteria) is the greatest worldwide cause of death. Global travel has been a major contributor to the spread of parasitic infections in North America. Contaminated water and food are also major contributors. In addition, better diagnostic techniques have provided a more accurate identification of parasites and have led researchers to conclude that parasitic infections are much more common than previously thought. The eggs of these parasites are introduced into the human system through the medium of food or water, especially under cooked meat. Roundworms may result from dirty fingers and food. Hookworms enter the human body through the skin from infected water. The tapeworms are transmitted into the body through under cooked flesh foods or foods contaminated by dogs. The real cause of intestinal worms, however, is wrong feeding. The eggs of these worms, taken into the human body through food and water can breed in the intestines only if they find there a suitable medium for their propagation. This medium is an intestinal tract clogged with morbid matter and systemic refuse due to wrong feeding habits.
Expel Intestinal Worms with Correct Treatment
The first step in treating a parasitic infection is to get a proper diagnosis. This is mainly dependent on a stool analysis. We highly recommend using a laboratory that specializes in comprehensive parasitology testing. Many of the stool tests done by clinics are not sensitive enough to pick up all of the different forms of parasites. Certain blood tests by your doctor can also help to pinpoint a diagnosis. In some cases, we treat patients for a parasite infection when they have the symptoms and the history that match a parasite infection, even though lab testing does not show a positive result. Some parasitic infections are hard to detect, but when diagnosis is uncertain, they should be treated. Natural therapies work well and should be used for a minimum of two months. Please note that natural treatment of parasitic infections should be done under the guidance of a knowledgeable health care practitioner or doctor.
Natural Home Remedies for Worms
- Coconut : Coconut can be complete cure. Among the numerous home remedies found beneficial in the treatment of intestinal worms, the use of coconut is most effective. It is an ancient remedy for expelling all kinds of intestinal worms. A tablespoon of the freshly ground coconut should be taken at breakfast followed by a dose of castor oil after three hours. The process may be repeated till the cure is complete.
- Garlic : It is an easy home remedy. Garlic has been used for expelling intestinal worms from ancient times by the Chinese, Greeks, Romans, Hindus and Babylonians. It is also used by modern biological practitioners for this purpose. Garlic is a well known vermifuge and has a long history of being used to prevent and treat worms and parasites in animals as well as people. Both fresh garlic and its oil are effective. Add garlic to your meals. It can be eaten raw by blending it into pesto and dips. Contrary to popular opinion, cooking garlic destroys little of its medicinal properties. According to the latest studies, the active ingredients may diminish a bit with cooking, but are still present. An ancient method of its medication was to place a couple of cloves of fresh garlic in its shoe. As the person walks, it is crushed and the worm killing garlic oil is absorbed by the skin and carried by blood into the intestines as possesses the powerful penetrative force. This method is worth a trial by those who do not like the taste of garlic and cannot eat it.
- Lemon : It is an alternative cure. Give 5 lemon pips, ground and mixed with honey, daily for 5 days.
- Carrot : Carrot eliminate worms naturally. The carrot is valuable in the elimination of threadworms from children as it is offensive to all parasites. A small cup of grated carrot taken every morning, with no other food added to the meal, can clear these worms quickly.
- Pumpkin Seeds : Raw pumpkin seeds are effective natural treatment tp kill worms and parasites. Pumpkin seeds and extracts have been shown to immobilize and aid in the expulsion of intestinal worms and other parasites. They can be ground up if desired. Consume 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup daily with 8 oz of water. OR Try seeds of the ripe pumpkin. They are useful in intestinal worms, especially tapeworms. An infusion, prepared from the seeds after they are peeled and crushed, will kill parasites and help in expelling the tapeworm. It will be necessary to fast for a day and empty the intestines by taking the juice of boiled dry prunes. The next day, three or four tumblers of this pumpkin seed infusion should be taken. Alternative practitioners often suggest that people with intestinal parasites eat one ounce of pumpkin seeds a day while the problem lasts. You could munch on pumpkin seeds and ginger for a double whammy.
- Papaya Juice : Papaya juice has antiworm effects. The digestive enzyme papain in the milk juice of the unripe papaya is a powerful anthelmintic for destroying roundworms. A tablespoon of fresh juice and equal quantity of honey should be mixed with three to four tablespoons of hot water and taken as a dose by an adult. This should be followed two hours later by a dose of 30 to 60 ml. of castor oil mixed in 250 – 375 ml. of lukewarm milk. This treatment should be repeated for two days, if necessary. For children of 7 to 10 years, half the above doses should be given. For children under three years, a tablespoon is sufficient. OR Papaya seeds are also useful for this purpose. They are rich in a substance called caricin which is a very effective medicine for expelling roundworms. The alkaloid Carpaine found in the leaves has also the power to destroy or expel intestinal worms. They are given with honey. OR According to Venezuela and Colombia folk healers, coarsely cut, ripe, unpeeled pineapple fruit is steeped in 1 quart of boiling water for up to 3 hours. This can be accomplished by first putting the cut chunks of unpeeled fruit in a 2 – qt. fruit jar and then pouring the hot water over them. Seal with a ring type of lid while steeping this way. Strain the infusion and drink up to 4 cups a day in between meals and on an empty stomach in order to expel greater numbers of intestinal parasites.
- Cayenne Pepper : Yes, cayenne pepper helps to expel intestinal worms. Cayenne pepper and senna can be combined; the former stuns the worms and the latter encourages them to be expelled. Mix in a little live yogurt, to avoid irritating the digestive tract.
- Pomegranate : Pomegranate is an old Indian folk medicine. The bark, both of the root and the stems of pomegranate tree, is well known for its anthelmintic properties of destroying parasitic worms. The root bark is, however, preferred as it contains greater quantity of the alkaloid punicine than the stem-bark. This alkaloid is highly toxic to tapeworms. Ninety to 180 ml. of the cold decoction of bark, preferably fresh bark, should be given three times at intervals of one hour to an adult. A purgative should be given after the last dose. The dose for children is 30 to 60 ml. The decoction is used for expelling tapeworms.
- Triphala : Nausea and vomiting may also be a sign of worms. If a person has a history of passing worms in the stool and gets repeated attacks of nausea and vomiting, use this strategy. Take the herb vidanga, about 1/2 teaspoon twice a day with a little warm water. Keep the colon clean by taking 1/2 teaspoon triphala at night for several weeks. Mix the triphala into 1/2 cup of warm water, let it steep for 10 minutes, then strain and drink.
- Turmeric : It is the herb that really works. Indian folk healers recommend this tasty spice for getting rid of worms, particularly nematodes. Turmeric contains four compounds with antiparasitic action. Individually, each of these compounds is ineffective, but when they’re mixed together, they have strong worm killing properties. The best way to take turmeric is to enjoy curry dishes, in which it is a key ingredient. It is responsible for yellow color for curries.
- Traditional Ayurveda Formula : Worms and parasites such as roundworms and pinworms can cause rectal itching. If worms are the problem, you may be able to eliminate them entirely with this herbal formula. Mix together vidanga 5 parts, shardunika 2 parts, and trikatu 1/8 part. Use 1/4 teaspoon of this mixture twice a day washed down with warm water after meals.
Tips To Prevent Intestinal Worms and Parasites
- Eliminate Parasites From Water: Boiling water for at least 10 minutes at sea level and 15 minutes at higher altitudes is the only sure way to destroy critters. This kills protozoa—microscopic organisms that can take over one’s intestinal tract and invade other organs as well. Giardia, a protozoan endoparasite that thrives in the duodenum and small intestines, is the most common. Giardia and amoebas have two main stages of life: the mobile, active form (trophozoite) and the inactive stage (cyst). Consider getting a water filtration system as parasitic outbreaks sometimes come through tap water. A water filter with a size no less than 3 microns helps remove the 5-micron size giardia cyst.
- Use Clean Vegetables: Washing food, dishes, or brushing teeth in contaminated water can cause infestation. One half teaspoon of Clorox (not the generic) added to a gallon (3.8 L) of water can be used to soak vegetables and fruits for 15 to 30 minutes. After, soak produce in clean water for 10 minutes. One-fourth cup (60 ml) of apple cider vinegar can also be used per sinkful as a parasite deterring cleanse for produce.
- Prevent Anal Itching: Applying petroleum jelly scented with a few drops of eucalyptus, lavender, or tea tree oil to the rectal area of people affected by pinworms every night for six weeks will keep the female worms from being able to lay eggs and help relieve itching.
- Avoid shaking bed sheets out in the morning, which will cause the eggs to spread. Just fold them carefully before washing.
- Sugar products should be reduced or avoided to optimize the health of your immune system.
- Follow meticulous hygiene. Wash hands in hot soapy water before meals and after going to the bathroom. Keep fingernails short and clean to deter scratching.
- To avoid infestation, wash laundry, including sheets and towels, in hot soapy water and dry in a hot dryer to kill eggs.
- For children with worms, have them wear underwear tight enough to keep parasites from spreading to other family members. Wash hands after diaper changes. Toys and water faucets should be sponged down with a mild bleach solution daily.
- Wash toilet seats and vacuum everything including the couch.