Intestinal worms (helminths) are parasites that can affect both adults and children, though they are more prevalent in children. There are several types of stomach or intestinal worms. The most common types are roundworms, threadworms, pinworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and giardia. Intestinal worms enter the body through the skin, nose, and also through the ingestion of contaminated food or water. They then breed in the digestive tract and cause a number of unpleasant Symptoms:
Depending on the type of intestinal worm, the symptoms may include:
- Bad breath;
- Bad dreams or restless sleep at night;
- Cough, fever, constipation;
- Gas or bloating;
- Dark circles under the eyes;
- Itching around the rectum or vulva (caused by pin worms and thread worms);
- Loss of weight;
- Nutritional disorders;
- Nausea, vomiting and inflammation of the intestines or lungs;
- Passing a worm in your stool;
- Stomach pain;
- Weakness or pain in the legs.
Causes of Helminths
Intestinal worms are found all over the world but are more prevalent in tropical and sub-tropical areas. The monsoons increase the chances of a worm infestation as well. Other possible causes of intestinal worms are:
- Dirty or unhygienically prepared food;
- Exposure to livestock that have been affected with worms;
- Contaminated water;
- Unhealthy eating habits and diet;
- Dirty fingernails may also spread the infestation;
- A sluggish digestive system that provides a perfect place for the worms to breed;
- Weak immune system;
- Some worms may enter the body through bare feet if the person walks on earth that is infected;
- Traveling to places known to have parasites;
- Poor hygiene or unsanitary living conditions;
- HIV or AIDS.
Your health care provider will choose the most effective form of medication / treatment depending on the type of intestinal parasite. Ensure that you take the medication exactly as prescribed or the treatment may not work. The course of medication may be for a few days or for several weeks depending on the extent of the infestation.
Natural cures also can help get rid of intestinal worms. While the efficacy of these remedies has not been scientifically tested, many of them have been used since ancient times to cure worm infestations. Consult with your doctor before trying any of these home remedies:
Garlic – One of the best home remedies to deal with intense itching around the rectum caused by intestinal worms is garlic. Simply make a paste with raw ground garlic and a pinch of Vaseline. Apply this around the anal region to kill the eggs and lessen the itchiness. Raw garlic has strong anti-fungal and antiseptic properties and eating three cloves of raw garlic a day is also helps get rid of all types of intestinal worms.
Coconut to treat intestinal worms is a practice with ancient origins, but is again unproven. Consume a tablespoon of grated fresh coconut in the morning with breakfast. Follow this up with 30ml or 60ml of castor oil. After three hours, drink approximately 375ml of warm milk. You can repeat this process every day until the infestation disappears.to expel intestinal worms.
Pomegranate – The bark of the pomegranate tree contains punicine, which is highly toxic to intestinal worms. A decoction of fresh bark and water should be given thrice a day to adults and children suffering from worms.
Papaya contains an enzyme called papain that helps destroy roundworms. Drink a tablespoon of unripe papaya juice mixed with an equal quantity of honey and hot water. Two hours later, drink 30 to 60ml of castor oil mixed with 250ml warm milk. Repeat this treatment for two days. For children, halve the above doses and for infants a tablespoon is enough.
Wormwood is a powerful herb that has been used since ancient times to treat intestinal worms. Drink a concoction of wormwood oil and olive oil to get rid of worms or you could use wormwood oil and water as an enema and get rid of worms in the rectum.
Pumpkin Seeds – An infusion of ground pumpkin seeds and water can help to expel tapeworms.
The effects of intestinal worms may to have a severe affect on your body if the immune system is already weak. So, it is essential that you change your eating habits and have a healthy balanced diet rich in fiber and healthy bacteria. Some suggestions to improve the diet:
Add anti-parasitic foods to your daily diet: blackberries, papaya, beetroot, pineapple, pomegranate, onions, garlic, flaxseeds and raw cabbage. Foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes and squash are high in beta carotene and can help improve a weak immune system.
Avoid coffee, alcohol, refined sugar and processed foods to help cleanse your digestive system. Stay away from fatty foods such as butter, cream, and oil until all the worms are removed. Meats such as beef, pork, and chicken also should be avoided until the treatment for intestinal worms is complete.
Preventive for Helminths
- Maintain high levels of personal hygiene. Wash your hands before eating, after using the toilet and when cooking, after touching with your pets.
- Trim your nails to prevent dirt from collecting under the nails and reduces the risk of contamination.
- Wash all fruits and vegetables carefully before eating.
- Drink only filtered or boiled water especially during the rainy season.
- Cook your food well, before eating as this kills of any parasites and worms.
- If one person in your family is diagnosed with intestinal worms, it is recommended that de-worming medications be prescribed for the rest of your family as well.