We recently received this message from one of our readers, “I have been hearing about ‘anal worms’ in the news lately. What are anal worms, and how does one catch them?” We are happy to provide some information to our reader about this topic!
“Anal worms” are simply another name for pinworms (or pin worms). Pinworm infections are caused by worm-like parasites that infect the intestines and rectal/anal region. They are white worms that are about half an inch long, and are sometimes visible to the naked eye. Pinworms only infect humans, which means that dogs, cats, and other household pets cannot become infected with them.
Pinworm is the most common parasitic infection that occurs in the United States. Children are most typically infected, but adults that share a household with children also sometimes become infected. Female pinworms leave the intestinal tract and lay eggs on the skin around the anus. The combination of the sticky substance that the eggs are laid in and the wiggling of the female worm causes severe itching. When an infected person responds to the itch and scratches, they often risk spreading the infection to another person. Eggs might be under their fingernails and on their bedding and clothing. When another person comes into contact with contaminated areas, they can become infected with pinworms. This often occurs because of inadequate hand washing and the accidental ingestion of pinworm eggs. Pinworm eggs can survive up to two weeks on bedding, clothing, and other objects. Since children are the most common hosts, they usually spread the infection to other children or to the adults in their homes.
The main symptom of pinworms is extreme itchiness of the anal region. Some infected people also experience insomnia, rash, skin irritation, and abdominal pain. As with all infections, the symptoms that occur and the severity of the symptoms vary from person to person. Treatment for a pinworm infection often includes antibiotics.
To conclude, we have provided some information about “anal worms”, also known as pinworms. We believe our reader asked us out of curiosity and not concern, but if she is worried about her health or believes she might be infected with pinworms, we encourage her to see a doctor as soon as possible.