Intestinal worms are parasites which live in the human body by absorbing vital nutrients from the body. Children are most easily affected by these worms. However it is equally common amongst adults. Roundworms, tapeworms and hookworms affects children whereas thread worms, pin worms and whip worms are the most common in adults.
Intestinal worms are prevalent in all parts of the world but are more common in tropical and sub-tropical regions. Intestinal worms grow more rapidly during rainy season.
Normally intestinal worms don't pose a threat. However an unabated growth of intestinal worms can cause serious complications.
Several types of intestinal worms that may cause infection in human are tapeworms, roundworms, pinworms, threadworms, liver fluke and hookworms.
Causes of Intestinal Worms
The main cause of intestinal worms infections are wrong food habits and faulty lifestyle.
The adult parasites live in the intestine. The female parasites migrate to the anus where they lay their eggs. Later eggs pass out through the stool and remain in the external environment for several weeks. Human body become infected through unhygienic contact where these eggs get ingested. The eggs enter into human body through water and food and they breed in the intestines. Roundworms enter human body through eating contaminated food. Thread worms may enter the human body through dirty hands. Hookworms enter the human body due to bare footed walking on the infected soil.
Symptoms of Intestinal Worms
- Anal itching, especially at night when the female lays her eggs.
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Bad breath
- Loss of appetite,
- Nausea and vomiting
Hookworms cling themselves to the lining of the small intestine. It is the most common cause of iron deficiency or anemia which may also result in diarrhea and abdominal pain. It may cause severe protein loss from the intestines. There are various types of tapeworms that can be found in meat, pork, beef and fish. Eating poorly cooked meats may cause infection. Tapeworms are transmitted through human feces. Tapeworm causes intestinal obstruction. It is the prime cause of vitamin B12 deficiency. Pin worms are very commonly seen in young children. Most individuals with pin worm infections are asymptomatic though itching in anal area is quite a common symptom.
Strongyloides stercoralis worms enters the human body by penetrating through skin and migrating via venous system to the lungs and reaches the small intestine. The symptoms of strongyloides stercoralis worms involves cough, shortness of breath and wheezing. Chronic infection can cause intermittent abdominal pain, vomiting, malabsorption and weight loss. Those with organ transplant or underlying conditions such as leukemia, lymphoma may develop a life threatening infection manifested by serious gastrointestinal and pulmonary symptoms.
Echinococcosis worms are found in intestine of humans, dogs, and sheep. Humans become infected due to unhygienic conditions or when they ingest food such as vegetables, fruits and water that are contaminated with the eggs. Once the eggs enter the human body and intestine, the larvae invade the bowel wall and circulate to different organs including liver and lungs. It also forms cysts.
In Ayurveda intestinal worm infection is known as krimi rog.
Worm infestations are present in people of all ages but they are much more of a problem in children. They are cause of common bowel complaints including diarrhea, dullness, anemia, weakness, abdominal pain and cramps.
However, with some elementary information and knowledge, a person can quite effectively face the problems of worm infestations.
Ayurveda treats intestinal worms as a vitiation of the kapha dosha which maintains the balance between the external and internal composition of the human body as every intestinal worm has a life cycle that moves in and out of the human body. The infection is internal but the mode of transmission is always external.
Hygienic Habits and Nutritional Diet
- Drink filtered and boiled water
- Wash vegetables and fruits thoroughly before eating
- Cook the food properly especially red meat, beef and pork
- Wash hands and legs properly after the outdoor activities
- Avoid eating mutton, beef, pork, ghee, milk and milk products
- Consume buttermilk, bitter gourd, brinjal, pointed gourd and bottle gourd
- Includes various spices and herbs such as garlic, coriander, carom seed, asafetida in the diet
Natural Supplements for Healthy Intestines
Planet Ayurveda offers few nutritional supplements for healthy intestines like Sanjeevani Vati, Chitrakadi Vati, Neem Capsules, Aller-G Care capsules. These can be taken on regular basis for few days or months as advised.