Worms in humans: symptoms, treatment and prevention

Helminthiasis- This is an infection with worms. It is registered in children and adults mainly in warm and humid countries. The risk group is boys and girls aged 5-15 years, which is due to knowledge of the outside world, low immune reactivity, and insufficiently low stomach pH. Target organs – liver, kidneys, lungs. The main habitat is the gastrointestinal tract.

Parasites penetrate through damaged mucous membranes and skin or through contaminated water and food. In the digestive system, young individuals enter the bloodstream through the destroyed wall.

Initially, the helminth descends into the intestines, grows for 40-80 days, gradually turning into an adult, which at a late stage of development lays eggs that leave the body with feces.

Causes of the disease

A person becomes infected after consuming contaminated food and water or contact with dirty soil. Individuals are transmitted to another person through ordinary objects - dishes, toothbrush, towel, forks, spoons, toys.

Provoking factors are non-compliance with hygiene rules, improper food preparation (cooking meat and fish at low temperatures), adherence to a raw food diet.

Eggs are brought by pets that regularly walk outside.

Types of worms

Parasites are divided into classes that differ in the way they exist in the environment:

  • Contact. Transmitted between people.
  • Geohelminthiases. For development, an intermediate host is not needed; the habitat is soil.
  • Biohelminthiasis. At least two organisms are required for life.

Science knows more than 350 species of parasites. The following are dangerous:

  • Nematodes (roundworms) are responsible for the development of ascariasis and necatoriasis.
  • Spinyheads (acanthocephalans) – disease: acanthocephalosis.
  • Trematodes (flukes) – provoke opisthorchiasis and fascioliasis.
  • Cestodes (tapeworms) – tapeworm, echinococcus.

Helminths settle in the intestines, lungs, and gall bladder.

Clinical picture

Symptoms are determined by the type of worm, the affected organ, the anatomical and physiological characteristics of the patient, and immunity.

Flow options:

  1. Acute.Duration – 2-8 weeks.Intoxication syndrome and allergies prevail: weakness, loss of strength, nausea, vomiting, fever, rashes, lymphadenopathy, feeling of lack of air, bloating and abdominal pain. The pathognomic symptom is bruxism (teeth grinding). It appears mainly at night. Local changes are possible - redness and irritation of the perianal area.
  2. Chronic.Duration – several years.The patient is worried about stool upset, pain in the lower abdomen, belching sour or bitter, dyspepsia, intolerance to certain foods. Damage to the liver and gallbladder leads to jaundice (change in skin color) and hepatitis. Nematodes cause bronchitis, pneumonia, respiratory failure, and inflammation of the heart muscle. Penetration into the central nervous system is accompanied by emotional lability, irritability, difficulty remembering new information, and insomnia.

Helminthiasis reduces immune reactivity, promoting the accumulation of secondary bacterial flora, caries, severe allergic reactions (anaphylactic shock), and exacerbation of concomitant pathologies.

abdominal pain due to worms


The waste products of parasites cause local symptoms (itching, urticarial rash), pneumonia, cardiac and bronchial asthma. Worms feed on human macronutrients, which leads to psychomotor and mental retardation in the child's development. Whipworms use red blood cells and hemoglobin, forming anemia. With massive infection, patients develop appendicitis, dysbiosis, frequent obstruction of the bile ducts, and intestinal obstruction.


At the first symptoms, you should consult a specialized specialist or therapist.

An enlarged spleen, liver, and regional lymph nodes are determined by palpation. In the CBC, the number of eosinophils increases and the ESR increases.

To verify the diagnosis and control treatment, the following is carried out:

  • scraping from the perianal area;
  • examination of biological material (vomit, urine, sputum, feces);
  • coprogram;
  • allergy tests.

The severity and extent of pathological changes are detected by chest x-ray, ultrasound, computed tomography with contrast, MRI, gastro- and colonoscopy.

Diagnosis of helminthiasis is difficult, due to the irregular release of eggs, the disappearance of antibodies 2-3 months after infection, and the diversity of the clinical picture.

Ultrasound diagnosis of worms


The patient’s management tactics are determined by the doctor after consultation.

Drug therapy involves selecting an anthelmintic drug based on symptoms and the type of worm.

Bronchopulmonary manifestations are treated with steroids, expectorants, antihistamines and antispasmodics. Normal intestinal microflora is restored with probiotics, and digestion is improved with enzymes. Surgery is performed to remove the cyst.

After 3-4 weeks, a control stool test is taken three times.


The following recommendations help prevent helminthic infestation:

  • Wash your hands after visiting the toilet and returning from a walk, and before eating.
  • Rejection of bad habits.
  • Rinsing greens, vegetables, apples, oranges under the tap.
  • Proper processing of products.
  • Drinking boiled water.
  • Active lifestyle.

Drug prophylaxis (for adults, children, pets) with nonspecific anthelmintic drugs is indicated twice a year.