Intestinal Worms: Types, Causes, Symptoms

Intestinal worms are parasites which live at the expense of others by sucking vital nutrients from our body. Roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, thread worms, pin worms and whip worms are the most common worms that live in humans.

Intestinal worms are prevalent in all parts of the world but are more common in tropical and sub tropical regions. More over intestinal worms grow more rapidly during rainy season.

Children are most easily affected by these worms. However it is equally common amongst adults.

Normally intestinal worms don’t pose a threat. However an unabated growth of intestinal worms can cause serious complications.

Intestinal worms can be treated with medications and natural remedies.

Types of Intestinal parasites

Parasites are classified into two categories: Helminths and Protozoa

Helminths are multi cellular parasites. Helminths, once they are adults, cannot multiply inside the human body. Roundworms , tapeworms and pin worms are some examples of helminths parasites.

Protozoa are single cell parasites that inhabit human bodies. Protozoa can multiply rapidly causing serious problems.

General Symptoms of Intestinal Worms

The following are usual symptoms of intestinal worms

  • Anal itching, especially at night when the female lays her eggs.
  • Headaches
  • Constant desire to eat food
  • Anaemia
  • Diarrhoea
  • Restlessness in the night with bad dreams
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Bad breath

Transmission of Intestinal worms

The parasites generally enter our bodies through water, food, transmitting agent like mosquito and through sexual contacts. They enter through mouth, nose, skin or anal route.

Identifying type of Intestinal Worms

Identification or diagnosis of the type of intestinal worms is important before treatment is ensued.While tape worms are large enough to be identified by naked eyes, other varieties of intestinal worms like pin worms can only be diagnosed using pathological microscopes.

This can be done by applying a scotch tape on the anus, in the morning before the toilet.The particles accumulated on the tape can be deposited on a glass slide which should be send to the laboratory for analysis.

The type of Intestinal worms can also be estimated based on the typical symptoms displayed by each type of worm.

Tapeworms enter the body due to foods contaminated by dogs and through undercooked food or meat.

There are two species of Tapeworm (taenia): Taenia Solium (beef tapeworm) and Taenia Saginata (pork tapeworm). Tapeworm resemble noodles, are white in color and mover in a wriggling motion.

Abdominal pain is the most common symptom of Tapeworm. This may or may not be accompanied by weight loss.

Roundworms: Roundworms (Toxascaris leonina and Toxocara Canis) are more harmful than tapeworms. Symptoms of roundworms include coughing, abdominal pain, fever, vomiting, inflammation of the intestine and lungs, diarrhea, irritability, nervousness, fatigue,weight loss and other allergic reactions.

Pinworms: Pinworms cause itching of the anus or vagina and may additionally result in lesions in the anus.Itching normally occurs at night which may cause fatigue, irritability, abdominal pain and diarrhea

Threadworms:  Threadworms are characterized by Regular bouts of diarrhoea, alternating with constipation, Intense itching in the area of rectum, cough, fever and loss of weight

Liver fluke: Liver fluke causes jaundice, fever, enlarged liver, pain under the ribs on the right side. If left untreated, liver fluke can cause other complications, especially biliary tract disease.

Hookworms:  symptoms of hookworms affecting the intestine include nutritional disorders and anaemia


The   main causes of intestinal worms are wrong food habits and faulty lifestyle.

The adult parasites live in the intestine. At night, female parasites migrate to the anus where they lay their eggs. Egss later pass out through the stool and remain in the external environment for several weeks. Humans become infected through unhygenic contact where these eggs get ingested. The eggs enter into human body through water and food and they breed in the intestines.

  • Roundworms enter humans through eating contaminated food.
  • Thread worms may enter the body through dirty hands.
  • Hookworms enter the human body due to bare footed walking on the infected earth or soil.