Pinworms in adults are also known as threadworms or seatworms. This is because they resemble threads. They live mainly in the human intestinal tract, and they spread through contact with an infected person. They cause a condition known as enterobiasis. Pinworms in adults are not as common as pinworms in kids, but this does not mean they do not affect them. Adults mainly get infected with pinworms from their infected children or other family members. A pinworm infection is mild, and it can be easily treated by taking the right medication, and through observing proper hygiene. In the US, pinworm infection is rampant, and there are measures taken to control its spread in adults as well as children.
Transmission/Spread of the Pinworm in Adults
So you might be wondering what causes pinworms in adults? You should first know that the spread of pinworms can occur quite easily from one person to another. The transmission process begins when the female threadworm lays its eggs in the anal area of a pinworm infested adult. This causes discomfort in the area causing the adult to scratch to reduce the discomfort. As a result, the eggs get picked up in the fingernails of the adult, which they transfer to various items within the house through touch. When the eggs get ingested, the pinworm infection occurs. This is the primary way that pinworms are spread to adults.
There are other ways that pinworms are spread to adults, so let’s take a minute and talk about them.
- You can get pinworms by ingesting food infested with pinworm eggs. This mainly occurs when an infected person handles food. Failure to wash one’s hands and the food items properly will lead to its spread.
- Another way of contracting pinworms is by wearing clothes infested with pinworm eggs. Be sure that the laundry is done properly and that you don’t share dirty clothes with other household members. I know I shouldn’t have to say this, but not everyone recognizes proper hygiene.
- Placing infected items such as a pen cap in your mouth can result in pinworm infection if there are eggs on it.
Knowing how pinworms in adults get transmitted and spread is important. It lets you take the necessary measure to avoid it from spreading to others.
Symptoms of Pinworm Infections
The presence of pinworm symptoms helps in knowing that an infection has occurred. These symptoms let you take the necessary steps to know what you are suffering from. When it comes to pinworm infection, knowing its symptoms is beneficial because it allows the infected individual to seek medical advice, and take precaution in preventing its spread to others. So, what are some of the main symptoms of pinworm infection in adult?
- It causes intense itching in areas around the anal region. When the female pinworm lays its eggs, it results in the inflammation of the perineal tissue, which causes the itchy feeling.
- An adult with pinworms will also be restlessness during sleep. This is mainly due to the intense itching.
- There is also intense scratching in areas around the anal region. Continuous scratching can lead to bacterial infections because the skin around the region may break.
- In women, pinworm infections can cause discomfort and itching in the vaginal area as well. This mainly happens when the female threadworm enters and lays its eggs in the vagina. This is not as common, but still happens.
- In extreme instances, pinworm infection can result in the loss of appetite. Although not common, it may indicate a more serious infection aside from pinworm infestation.
Another indication of pinworms in adults is the presence of pinworms in stool. Adults who exhibit the above symptoms should visit the doctor for treatment. In order for the doctor to ascertain the presence of pinworms, there are some tests that need to be done. The most common is known as the pinworm test. (Fitting, isn’t it?) This test involves taking a piece of cello tape and pressing it on the skin around the anal region. Conduct the procedure first thing in the morning in order to collect pinworm eggs. Afterwards, take the tape to the doctor who then inspects it under a microscope for presence pinworm eggs. If any eggs are present, then the doctor will offer treatment.
Treatment and Prevention of Pinworms in Adults
The infestation of pinworms in adults gets treated in various ways
- The doctor may prescribe a pinworm treatment such as Mebendazole or Albendazole.
- A tap water enema may also be recommended. This procedure flushes out pinworms, and should be done under the supervision of a doctor.
Other preventive measures that can be implemented in order to help treat and prevent the spread of pinworms include the following.
- Be sure to shower more frequent and always clean the anal area thoroughly. Doing so helps to keep the female worms away from laying eggs.
- Scratching is the main way through which pinworm eggs is spread. Therefore, avoid scratching the anal area. Instead, apply anti-itching medication.
- Before consuming any food, ensure that you have cleaned your hands thoroughly. This acts to remove any eggs that may have been collected in your fingernails.
- Adults should also clean their bedding and pajamas on a regular basis in order to prevent the re-infestation of threadworms.
As you can see, the spread of pinworms in adults can be minimized if we pay attention to what we do. If there is an infestation of pinworms in adults or kids, be sure to seek medical treatment for everyone in the family.