Some health issues can be a real pain in the . . . well, you know. But seriously, folks, there are many terribly scary diagnoses a doctor can make. Discovering you have pinworms in your anus though would make anyone squirm.
Pinworm and eggs
The NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine) recently told the torrid true tale of a woman who went to see her neighborhood physician because she was suffering from anal bleeding and itching for approximately two months. A doctor performed a thorough colonoscopy to determine the cause of the itching and bleeding. The 32-year-old woman was horrified to hear the doctor had found a mother pinworm carrying her eggs.
“All in the Family”
After an unknown amount of questioning and discussion, health officials learned the cause. The unnamed woman has a five-year-old daughter. The daughter had been exposed to some classmates who had been recently diagnosed as having pinworms.
The daughter had also been suffering from anal itching. Somehow the woman caught a case of the pinworms from her daughter vaguely like how some children bring home other health issues.
While the doctor’s diagnosis might sound like a dire diagnosis but it is more common than you might think, especially among children. According to the Mayo Clinic, pinworm infection is the most common kind of intestinal worm infection in the USA. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) notes that up to half of all children get this infection.
Just think, all this trouble is caused by a little white roundworm known to scientists as Enterobius vermicularis. How do people catch these parasites? They accidentally swallow the parasite’s eggs.
The US Library of Medicine reports that when individuals become infected they will scratch or touch their anus. The pinworm eggs then become attached to their fingertips. The infected people can then pass on the pinworm eggs to other people “through their hands, or through contaminated” bedding, clothing, “food, other articles.”
Once the pinworm eggs hatch, the newly born parasites settle into the rectum and colon. A mother pinworm will often lay her eggs on the skin around a person’s anus while the unsuspecting person is asleep. Before long, an infected woman finds herself experiencing an itchy feeling around her anus or other intimate areas.
Fortunately, pinworm infection does not generally lead to anything serious. These parasites can be treated with prescription oral medication or even an over-the-counter drug. Typically, the infected person takes two doses with two weeks in between each does to stave off reinfection.
The above-mentioned mother and daughter were given a prescription drug and two months later at their follow up appointment they deemed pinworm-free. Pinworm infection is quite unsettling. Luckily, they are easily treated.