Symptoms of Worms in Humans

Symptoms of Worms in Humans

By Juniper Russo, eHow Contributor

Recent research suggests that 1 in 3 has worms and intestinal parasites and virtually all pet owners has them.

Symptoms of Worms in Humans

Intestinal parasites, including tape worms, round worms and pin worms, are much more common than most people would like to acknowledge. While the idea of critters in a colon can give anyone the creeps, it is important to know how to recognize the symptoms of worms in humans and seek prompt treatment.
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1.     Weight Loss

  • Most Americans can stand to lose a little weight, so some people ignore unintentional weight loss instead of promptly addressing the cause. Unexplained weight loss is often the first sign that a person is sharing his food with a colony of worms.
  • Itching of the anus or vagina can be a sign that intestinal parasites are squirming about and causing local skin irritation. Eczema-like skin rashes elsewhere on the body may appear.


Stomach Pain

  • Gassy stomach pain can be a sign of worm infestation, although there are many other causes, including irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers and food intolerance. Pain from worms can appear anywhere in the abdomen.
  • Intestinal parasites are likely to cause intermittent episodes of constipation or severe diarrhea, and bowel movements may be foul smelling. These symptoms may resemble another condition and be misdiagnosed.
  • It should go without saying, but many people still fail to recognize symptoms of intestinal parasites even when they pass worms or worm eggs in their feces.

Diarrhea or Constipation

Worms or Eggs in Stool

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What type of worms can my cat get?
The most common worms in this country are those which live in the intestines – the roundworm and the tapeworm. Roundworms are usually more of a problem in younger animals, but their significance shouldn’t be ignored in older cats. Although rarely diagnosed, cats can also contract a worm which lives in the airways of the lungs. Suspicions may be raised when a cat has a long-standing cough which is poorly responsive to the usual treatments.

How can I tell if my cat has worms?
If your cat has a heavy worm burden there are likely to be obvious clinical signs. The cat is usually bright and has a good or voracious appetite but it may be thin and its coat can be in poor condition. The worms may cause gut upsets, so bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea are not uncommon. Worms may be present in faeces or vomit. Roundworms look like small lengths of spaghetti, while entire tapeworms have a more flattened appearance and look like tagliatelle.

Tapeworms usually shed little segments which pass down through the intestines and out of the anus. The segments, which resemble rice grains, may be visible round the cat’s anus. Cats are usually symptomless if they are carrying a low level of worms so even if your cat looks perfectly healthy, you can’t assume it is free of worms.

How does my cat pick up worms?
Roundworm eggs are passed in the faeces and are very common in the environment. A cat may be infected if it encounters an area which has been soiled. Other species can become infected with roundworms if they come in contact with the eggs. In this situation, the worms don’t develop in the intestines but lie as cysts in the body tissues. If a cat then eats the infected host, the worms are released from the tissues and develop into mature worms in the cat’s intestines. Breeding female cats can also transmit the worms through their milk to kittens. Tapeworms have to go through a similar stage of development in another species. The most common of these intermediate hosts are fleas, birds and mice.

Can I be at risk from cat worms?
Most of us are well aware of the dangers of the dog roundworm, but fewer people realise that cat roundworms can cause similar problems. From the worm’s point of view, people are no different to any other animal, so we can become infected if we are exposed to the eggs. In most cases, this causes no ill-health, but if the worm migrates to a delicate or sensitive area such as the eye, it can cause serious problems.


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