Posted October 23, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 3 min read
Roundworms are parasites that need to live in the body. These parasitic infections can cause diarrhea and fever. Types of roundworms in humans include pinworms and ascariasis. Often, roundworm infections come from traveling to countries with poor sanitation and hygiene.
What are Roundworms?
Roundworms are small organisms that can live in your intestine, which is part of your digestive system.
Roundworms can live in the human intestine for a long time.
They can be harmful and cause many problems, including abdominal (belly) pain, fever and diarrhea.
Roundworms have long, round bodies and can be of different sizes, depending on the type.
The eggs or larvae (newly hatched roundworms) often live in infected soil or stool (poop).
How does a person get infected with Roundworms?
The route into the body depends on the type of roundworm.
Many of these parasites enter the body through the mouth.
Infection often happens from touching poop or soil that’s infected with eggs and not washing hands (fecal-oral route).
Pinworm infections result from touching eggs laid near the opening of the buttocks (anus).
You can accidentally ingest roundworm eggs by preparing food or touching soil that’s contaminated.
The eggs then hatch inside your body.
For other roundworms, eggs may hide in the food people eat.
And in some cases, larvae can enter the body directly through your skin.
Regardless of how they enter, most roundworms end up in your intestines, causing infection or disease.
What are the causes and symptoms of Roundworm infection of your intestines (ascariasis)?
This type of roundworm spreads through poor hygiene. It often lives in human feceS.
People catch it through hand-to-mouth contact.
If you have a roundworm infection of your intestines (ascariasis), you may not have symptoms.
You may see live worms in your poop though.
If you do have symptoms, they may include:
Severe abdominal (stomach) pain.
How are Roundworms diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will ask you about your medical history and symptoms.
Then you’ll probably need a blood test.
Your provider may also ask for a stool sample to test it for eggs.
To get a stool sample, your provider gives you a sterile (germ-free) container.
You place a poop sample in the container and bring it to your provider or a lab.
How are Roundworms treated?
While there are various kinds of roundworms, they usually all have the same treatment.
Your provider will prescribe a medicine called albendazole.
This medicine prevents the larvae from getting bigger or multiplying.
The worms in your body then pass through your poop. You may not even notice it happening.
Depending on the type of roundworm, you may need to repeat the treatment after a few weeks.
Doing so makes sure the parasites are completely gone.
You may also need a prescription for an iron supplement to help with anemia.
And a prescription cream can help stop any itching.