Worms in adults. Symptoms, causes of infection, course of the disease, complications

In humans, worms cause diseases that are collectively known as helminthiasis. Worms are parasitic worms that can be found in almost every organ of our body: intestines, muscles, lungs, liver, heart and even eyes.

When a person has worms, symptoms do not always appear, if they do, other problems in the liver, gastrointestinal, gall bladder, etc. they disguise them as diseases. Sometimes these symptoms are so vague that it can be very problematic to determine the cause; a particular problem, especially when it comes to children.

Today, many parasites are known that can infect the human body. In total, there are about 150 types of helminthiasis. Worms can be divided into two large groups according to their shape and body structure: roundworms or nematodes and flatworms.

Children are most often infected with worms, and the most common forms of helminthiasis (diseases caused by parasitic worms) are ascariasis and enterobiasis. The most dangerous worms that can live in the human body are echinococcus and alveococcus. Special means have been developed for each group of parasites, the treatment of which removes worms from the body of an adult or child.

Types of worms in humans

More than two hundred species of worms infect humans. Most of them are not found in the middle zone, so about sixty species are common in our country. Parasites are divided into contact parasites (worms that are transmitted from one person to another), geohelminthiasis (the larva lives in the soil and invasion occurs when soil particles together with food) and biohelminthiasis (parasites enter the human body through the flesh of infected animals). or fish).

Let's look at some of the most common groups of worms found in humans:

  1. Annelids - pinworms, roundworms, whipworms, trichinella;
  2. Tapeworms - various types of tapeworms, echinococci, tapeworms;
  3. Flatworms - all kinds of flukes, flukes.

Let's take a closer look at the types of worms that can live in an adult's body.

  1. Cylindrical worms are large roundworms, reddish-yellow in color and can reach 40 cm in length.
  2. The whipworm is a round worm 30-50 mm long, named after the shape of its body: the front part is long and narrow, like a hair, and the back part is short and wide.
  3. The broad tapeworm is a large tapeworm, reaching up to 20 meters in length.
  4. Hookworm is the combined name of two types of worms: tapeworm and the 10-15 mm long tapeworm necator.
  5. Trichinella are small roundworms, 2-5 mm long, which cause a serious disease - trichinellosis.
  6. Liver fluke (feline fluke) is a flatworm from the class of flukes 7-20 mm long. The disease caused by the parasite is called opisthorchiasis.
  7. Pig and cattle tapeworms are similar in structure, up to 6 meters long.
  8. Echinococcus parasitizes the human body not in an adult form, but in an intermediate form - Finns. Echinococcus itself is a 3-5 mm long tapeworm
  9. Alveococcus is a worm similar to echinococcus, with a similar structure and development mechanism.

The symptoms and signs of a worm infection depend on the type of parasite, its location in the body and its stage of development.

worms in raw fish

Helminths in the human body

Worms are scientifically known as helminths. Helminths are all worms that live in the bodies of humans, animals and plants. Accordingly, helminths are not a specific type of parasite, but a whole group of different worms, of which three are the most common.

In modern society, helminths are still widespread. Especially often, helminthic infection occurs among children, hunters, fishermen and their families, as well as rural residents.

Helminths are a large group of parasitic worms that live on animals and plants, feed and reproduce in the body of the donor. Man is no exception. More than 70 parasite species live in Hungary alone. According to statistics, every third inhabitant of the Earth is infected with parasitic worms. It is assumed that there is not a single adult person who has not had a single worm settle in his body during his life.

Helminths. No matter how carefully parents monitor the cleanliness of their children's hands, it is almost impossible to protect them from pinworms. Children discover the outside world and develop a special interest in it. They want to touch and taste everything. People who eat fish, meat from wild animals and birds, and domestic milk are at risk of contracting trichinosis and diphyllobothriasis.

Modern medical data show that many diseases occur due to helminthic infection. For example, the relationship between oncology and persistent parasitic infection is clinically proven. Doctors and patients often misinterpret signs of the presence of worms in humans. They begin to treat non-existent diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.

How can you get infected?

The causes of human worm infection are very diverse, the route of infection directly depends on the type of worms and their life cycle, it can be:

  • eating dirty vegetables;
  • non-compliance with hygiene rules when preparing food;
  • poor heat treatment of some food products, especially animal meat and fish;
  • communication with domestic animals - cats, dogs, certain types of rodents;
  • non-observance of hygiene rules before meals, after visiting the bathroom, when returning from a walk;
  • swimming in polluted bodies of water.

During their lifetime, worms produce toxic substances that are absorbed into the blood and spread throughout the body, damaging the most important organs and systems.

General symptoms and signs of helminthic infection in children

Common symptoms of helminthiasis are:

  • loss or increase in appetite;
  • nausea, possibly vomiting;
  • excessive salivation;
  • stool disorders;
  • the appearance of pain in the lower abdomen;
  • dizziness, headache;
  • allergic reactions;
  • increased frequency of colds;
  • irritability, bad mood;
  • sleep disorder;
  • deterioration of mental and physical activity;
  • dry cough.

Symptoms of worms in humans

Worms are sometimes able to parasitize the body of an adult for a long time without any noticeable symptoms and cause the development of various chronic diseases, causing dangerous complications and even death.

With the onset of the acute period of helminthiasis, worms feed intensively in the intestines of a sick person, which causes various signs of digestive disorders: dysbacteriosis, abdominal pain, diarrhea.

Let's see what signs of helminths can be observed? Let's list the most common, general symptoms of worms in humans.

  1. Digestive system dysfunction - diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain;
  2. Pain in the joints and muscles - parasites can move throughout the human body to settle in the most suitable places for their life, for example in the synovial fluid and muscles. When this happens, the person experiences painful sensations;
  3. Nervous system disorders and general malaise - manifested in the form of fatigue, irritability, sleep disorders and memory disorders;
  4. Allergic reactions and skin manifestations - the appearance of pimples, blackheads and other rashes - are also signs of the presence of worms in humans;
  5. Decreased immunity and, as a result, the development of infectious diseases;
  6. A sharp decrease in body weight;
  7. Anemia - some worms suck blood from the intestinal walls like leeches;
  8. Teeth grinding during sleep and sleep disturbance;
  9. Itching in the anus, especially at night. At this time, the female actively lays eggs, thereby causing itching in the anus;
  10. Enlarged lymph nodes, low body temperature;
  11. Respiratory inflammations - cough, fever, sputum formation, runny nose - this is how the presence of worms can manifest.

The specific first signs depend directly on the causative agent and the location of the worm in the human body. For example, large worms, fungi and tapeworms like to parasitize the liver, which can lead to degeneration of liver cells, blockage of the bile ducts, blood clots and cirrhosis. Roundworms and roundworms live in the intestines, so they are passed out with the feces. To find out how to remove these worms from a person, consult a doctor who will prescribe an appropriate remedy.

Symptoms of worm infection can appear at different times from the moment of worm infection. So, the first symptoms of ascariasis appear after 2-3 days. In all other helminthic infections, the symptoms of the disease appear after 2-3 weeks.

Most often, the main signs of worm infection in adults are allergic manifestations, itching and rash, swelling, weakness, muscle pain, headache, fever, muscle and joint pain, and an increase in the number of eosinophils in the body. blood etc.

Since worms are parasites, they feed on the body of their host. At the same time, they absorb a significant amount of protein and carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and other nutrients. Helminthiasis can be acute and chronic. The first lasts 2-3 weeks and often manifests itself as an allergy, while the chronic stage can last for months, years, or even decades.

What organs can worms affect?

There are two types of invasion: cavity and tissue. Habitats are also divided depending on the species:

  1. Hollow worms settle in the small and large intestine. The first sections of the small intestine are particularly affected by tapeworms, hookworms and roundworms. The lower part of the small intestine is the habitat of dwarf tapeworms and roundworms. The large intestine most often becomes the habitat of the whipworm.
  2. Tissue helminths affect any type of organ: liver, brain, lymph nodes, bile ducts.

Important! It is impossible to determine the signs of the presence of worms in the patient at the initial stage of development of the infection. As long as the number of worms is small and the toxicity of waste products is within normal limits, the body will cope with the invasion itself. The appearance of characteristic or acute symptoms indicates a significant increase in the number of helminthic infections: the maturation and dynamic development of individuals.

Complications of worms

Many helminths can cause serious disorders in the patient's condition. Here are the most common complications:

  1. B12-deficiency anemia, iron-deficiency anemia - leads to disruption of tissue oxygenation, which requires long-term recovery. Pale skin, dry mouth, weakness, disorders of various body functions are manifested;
  2. Intestinal obstruction occurs when the parasite blocks the lumen with its body. Surgical treatment is required. Symptoms - abdominal pain, lack of stool, vomiting;
  3. Intestinal bleeding – if the worm sticks to the intestinal wall, it can damage its blood vessels. Symptoms: abdominal pain, weakness, bloody stools, vomiting. requires surgical treatment;
  4. Fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver develop during long opisthorchiasis. The changes are irreversible. Symptoms: sleep disturbance and wakefulness, fluid accumulation in body cavities, loss of liver function;
  5. Abscesses of the affected organs are purulent inflammations. Symptoms are pain, high fever, weakness. The condition is rapidly deteriorating. An examination is necessary to find the source of the inflammation and for surgical treatment.

Stool analysis and worm egg scraping

Worms are primarily intestinal parasites. Their eggs are released through the intestines. Therefore, for diagnosis, stool is taken for analysis. You can buy a special container for collecting feces at the pharmacy, but you can also use a matchbox or jar.

So, to carry out the analysis, you will need a container for collecting material and a spatula. If a person sees fragments of worms or whole helminths, he should also be sent to the laboratory.

After collecting the stool, it is not necessary to take it to the laboratory immediately. It must be sent for examination within 24 hours. Until then, the collected organic material must be stored in a refrigerator. An exception is stool collection for giardiasis testing. It must be delivered warm, because the parasitic cysts die when cooled. While the stool is transported to the laboratory, the container should be wrapped in a warm cloth.

To diagnose enterobiasis, a scraping is made from the perianal folds, as female pinworms lay their eggs in this area. Do not wash your face or visit the toilet for about 12 hours before the test. Therefore, the optimal time to perform the analysis is in the morning.

The scraping is done with a cotton ball, which is placed in a clean container and transported to the laboratory. You can also use adhesive tape, which is peeled off the glass, attached to the anal area for a while, then torn off and placed back on the glass with the sticky side.

The biological material delivered to the laboratory is examined under a microscope. If a person is infected, the lab technician will see worm eggs, larvae, or segments. Each parasite lays eggs specific to its species. Therefore, by studying the structure of the egg, you can determine which worm is a parasite in the human body.

If there is a worm in the stool, it most often looks like a white strip of different lengths. Worms can remain motile. The type of worm can be determined in the laboratory.

However, it is not always possible to detect worms with the help of stool analysis. For example, the analysis will not be informative if the human body is only parasitized by male roundworms that cannot secrete eggs.

Blood test for worms

To identify worms in the blood, an immunological test is used to determine antibodies against the main types of worms. The reliability and accuracy of ELISA is 95%. It can be used to detect extraintestinal forms of helminthiasis.

Decoding the ELISA in a simplified form:

  1. Helminths become parasites in the body if class M immunoglobulin (IgM) is elevated in the blood.
  2. Worms were either previously present in the human body, or the helminthic infection became chronic and caused a weakening of the human immune system. This conclusion can be drawn if the level of IgG immunoglobulins has increased, but lgM cannot be detected in the blood.

In both cases, a more thorough diagnosis and specific treatment will be required.

How does the parasite become infected and develop?

All parasites have specific life cycle characteristics. Depending on the mechanism of infection, all helminthiasis can be divided into three main groups:

  • contact helminthiases;
  • geohelminthiases;
  • biohelminthiasis.

Contact helminthiasis

Parasites belonging to the group of contact helminth infections develop entirely in the child's body. The worm eggs enter the digestive system, migrate to the intestines, and after a while turn into adults. Mature helminths form eggs, which are passed into the external environment with faeces. The development cycle repeats itself.

Contact helminthiasis includes fungal infection. These worms are spread through the fecal-oral mechanism. If the child does not wash his hands after using the toilet, microscopic pinworm eggs remain on his fingers. Other children can become infected through contaminated household items and food that the patient has touched. Non-observance of personal hygiene rules is of great importance in the spread of dumplings. Therefore, this helminthiasis occurs more often in childhood.

In addition to infecting others, a sick child can also infect himself. Pinworms that crawl out of the anus lay eggs on the skin in the anal area. This process causes severe itching of the skin, so children often start scratching the painful area. If you don't wash your hands after that, a new part of the eggs will penetrate the intestines. The parasite population increases, which leads to the deterioration of the child's condition.


The group of geohelminthiasis is represented by roundworms. In order for these parasites to develop, it is necessary for the feces of a sick child to enter the soil. The released eggs develop actively and quickly reach the invasive stage, where they can penetrate the human body.

Infection in children usually occurs through the consumption of unwashed vegetables and fruits that have been in contact with the soil. Ascaris larvae remain on them, which penetrate the child's intestines and cause unpleasant symptoms of helminthiasis.


The development of worms belonging to the group of biohelminths requires the presence of an intermediate host - a living organism in which the worm larvae develop. It can be cattle (cow, pig) as well as fish. Therefore, the child can become infected with worms if he eats food from an uncontrolled source. Improper heat treatment of meat or fish contributes to infection. You can become infected with echinococcus, cattle and pig tapeworm, and cat distemper through food.

Treatment of worms in humans

The basis of the treatment of worms in humans is the prescription of specific anthelmintic drugs, the best time-tested tablets.

The choice of medicine for treatment depends on the presence of certain worms in the human body. During the acute period of the disease, the doctor may prescribe anti-allergic drugs to the patient, such as Suprastin or Claritin.

Only on the basis of examinations and diagnosis, the doctor prescribes the treatment of worms in a person, since anthelmintic drugs are quite toxic. If worms are detected again during the analysis, the specialist will determine how to remove the worms and recommend a new regimen based on the use of other anthelmintic pills that are better able to cope with the task.


Anthelmintic therapy

Anthelmintic drugs are the basis of the treatment of parasitic diseases. They must be usedstrictly as prescribed by the doctor, since a number of important factors must be taken into account when choosing a drug:

  • form of helminthiasis;
  • stage of disease development;
  • pathogen;
  • concurrent illnesses of the child;
  • characteristics of its condition.

Only a doctor can correctly evaluate these indicators and choose the optimal drug. Self-medication of helminthiasis in children is unacceptable. Poorly chosen therapy is often not only ineffective, but also has serious side effects.

How to perform a stool test for helminths and their eggs?

When choosing a therapy, the doctor must take into account the causative agent of the disease. You should not rely on a universal remedy, since most drugs only affect a certain range of helminths. In case of inappropriate medication, the clinical picture of the disease in the child does not disappear, the disease continues, which can lead to serious complications.

If there are several children in a family, doctors often recommend deworming therapy for all family members at the same time. This prevents recurrent worm infestations after treatment.

Symptomatic therapy

In addition to anthelmintic therapy, the child is prescribed symptomatic treatment, which aims to eliminate the clinical manifestations of the disease. If a severe allergic reaction occurs, antihistamines are used - Suprastin, Tavegil, Claritin.

If the baby has severe symptoms of poisoning, he is prescribed antipyretics and pain relievers. To relieve acute symptoms, a lot of fluids are prescribed or infusion therapy is performed. If there is a risk of developing vasculitis and myocarditis, glucocorticoids (for example, prednisolone) are prescribed.

How to treat worms with folk remedies

Traditional treatment methods include anthelmintic and laxative herbs. Although the effectiveness of these remedies has not been scientifically tested, many of them have been used since ancient times to treat intestinal worms in humans at home.

  1. The best folk remedy is pumpkin seeds against worms. Take and peel the pumpkin seeds (80-100g), do not damage the green skin. Grind, add 2 tablespoons of honey and 100 grams of water, mix. This medicine must be taken strictly in the morning, on an empty stomach. One dining boat every hour for 3 hours. Afterwards, a laxative should be taken, and after 1-2 hours an enema should be given.
  2. Pomegranate. Pomegranate bark contains punicin, which is highly toxic to worms. Adults and children suffering from parasites should take a decoction of the bark in fresh water three times a day.
  3. Onion soup (pour 1 onion with 200 ml of boiling water, let stand for 2 days, consume 4 days before meals)

As for prevention, in order to prevent helminthic infection, you should wash your hands with soap after returning from the street, heat treat meat and fish, drink raw water and swim in contaminated water bodies.


The main prevention of helminthiasis in children is the observance of personal hygiene rules.

This is why we can take precautions to prevent helminthic infections:

  • the acquisition of personal hygiene skills in children (handwashing after visiting the toilet, contact with animals, walking outdoors, before eating);
  • the fight against bad habits (the child must be prohibited from sucking fingers, biting nails or putting foreign objects in the mouth);
  • protection against mosquitoes, flies and insects;
  • high-quality processing of meat and fish;
  • high quality water disinfection;
  • deworming of domestic dogs and cats;
  • avoid contact with stray animals;
  • thorough washing of greens and vegetables, berries and fruits;
  • frequent change of underwear and bed linen (once a day);
  • ironing underwear and bed linen with a hot iron;
  • performing hygienic procedures in the anal area twice a day to prevent enterobiasis;
  • wearing panties with rubber bands at night;
  • thorough wet cleaning of the premises.

Entering the body, helminths disrupt the normal functioning of various organs and systems in children. And if the strong immune system of adults constantly fights against "uninvited guests", then this does not happen in a child: his body is still weak and vulnerable. Therefore, it is important to teach the child to observe personal hygiene rules as soon as possible in order to prevent helminthic infection, and ifsymptoms appear, contact a specialist immediately for subsequent anthelmintic treatment.