I have had pinworms twice as an adult, once about 30 years ago, and again about 10 years later. Also one of my kids had them once.
It is important to understand the life cycle of pinworms. They CANNOT reproduce in our gastro-intestinal track. What they do inside is to grow, mature and to produce eggs. Then the indivisual worms, each laden with many hundreds or thousands of eggs migrate down the G-I tract to the anus. They crawl out into the area around the anus causing considerable itching, and die. This could be the end of the story.
Each worm is about half an inch long and looks very much like an alflafa sprout only short.
On reaching the outside of the body, they die immediately, leaving the viable eggs on the surface of the skin around the anus. Each worm crawling out causes considerable itching.
Now there is only one way that the infestation can continue. Those eggs have to get from the area around the anus to the mouth.
The way that happens is the intense itching causes the the person to scratch, which results in the eggs getting on his/her hands and fingers. From there they can get into the food and/or directly into ones mouth through nail biting or thumb sucking.
Once in the mouth the eggs migrate down to the small intestine where they grow into worms full of eggs and, then, eventually, continue on down to the anus, crawl out causing itching, die, cause intense itching, scratching, and the cycle begins all over again.
So all that is necessary is to break this cycle. It can be hard especially with small kids but with adults as well. Medicines taken internally don't work very well. As long as some eggs get out, and some eggs get on the hands and to the mouth, the infestation continues to be renewed.
Things to consider or to ask your doctor about:
-medicine to kill the eggs externally, ie, around the anus,
-a barrier to prevent the hands from getting to the anal area,
-thorough washing of hands before eating,
-hypnosis to help prevent the urge to scratch which is often beyond our conscious control, and to prevent finger chewing or nailbiting, also often beyond conscious control.
Pinworms seldom persist where there is no nailbiting or thumbsucking.
Thorough washing of sheets and clothes is also important.
Also, I would get a second opinion as to whether the pinworms are really causing the mulltitude of symptoms that your doctor is attributing to them. Look for the pinworms especially during anal itching. You should see them.
New Haven, CT
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