Symptoms of worms in an adult

Worms are parasitic worms that live in the intestines or tissues of humans. The vast majority of parasites have two hosts - intermediate and final. However, some helminths parasitize the body without leaving the body and without entering the environment. Worms are ubiquitous. Its largest number is present in countries with hot and humid climate.

abdominal pain as a symptom of the presence of parasites

Symptoms of worms in the intestine depend not only on the type of invasion, but also on the characteristics of its course.

The most common types of parasites

There are seven main varieties of parasitic worms:


Pinworms are small, thread-like worms belonging to the category of nematodes. The size of an adult does not exceed 1 mm. In the human body, they mainly live in the large intestine, causing irritation, damage to the mucous membrane, and enteritis. Enterobiasis caused by worms has an incubation period of about 15 days. In addition, a characteristic clinical picture develops. The duration of the disease is 2 months, which is equal to the life span of the worm. In reality, a disease-independent resolution does not occur, as with enterobiasis there is a mechanism of autoinfection.

Note: symptoms of enterobiasis are rarely pronounced. The disease usually occurs in a cloudy form, with no clear diagnostic signs. The suspicion of enterobiasis in children occurs if the child complains of itching in the perianal region.

Pinworm infestation occurs when personal hygiene rules are not followed. The route of transmission is fecal-oral. A person who touches a contaminated surface and then does not wash their hands swallows helminth eggs. Similarly, reinfection with enterobiasis occurs. The patient, feeling itchy in the perianal region, scratches the disturbing area and then begins to eat. Worm eggs that fall into the hands are swallowed. The parasite development cycle begins again.


Roundworms are dioecious roundworms that live in the small intestines of humans and animals. The length of the female helminth is 40 centimeters. The male's size is much smaller. Its length usually does not exceed 25 centimeters. The male's identifying feature is the pointed end of the body.

The life cycle of roundworms is a little more complex than that of pinworms. The route of infection is fecal-oral. Helminth eggs fall into a person's hands when working with dirt and dirty objects. In the stomach, a young larva emerges from the egg, penetrating the bloodstream with the help of hooks. This is where it grows and migrates. By the time the larva enters the lungs, it reaches a state that allows it to develop into a sexually mature individual. The patient coughs up the larva, after which it is again swallowed, enters the intestines, turns into an adult roundworm.


Vlasoglav is a roundworm belonging to the group of nematodes. It is a parasite that lives in the large intestine of humans and domestic animals. Externally, the helminth looks like a thin gray thread of various thicknesses. The front part of the whip is thin and long. The back is thickened and shortened. Here are the internal organs. The body length of the whipworm does not differ depending on sex and is 3-5 centimeters.

Whipworm eggs, already parasitic on the host organism, enter the environment with feces. Here they mature and become invasive. A person is infected via the fecal-oral route if personal hygiene rules are not observed. Whipworm larvae enter the intestines, grow, feed on microflora and develop. Subsequently, young individuals of the helminth migrate to the large intestine. trichuriasis develops.


Tapeworms are tapeworms, sometimes reaching 25 meters in length. The most famous representatives of this genus of parasites are:

  • bull tapeworm;
  • pork tapeworm;
  • wide ribbon.

The body structure of all tapeworms is similar. They have a head, a neck and a body made up of many segments. The segments located closer to the end of the body have a uterus filled with eggs. They are separated from the tapeworm and come out with the feces.

As a rule, the life cycle of tapeworms implies the presence of two hosts - intermediate and final. The intermediate host may vary depending on the type of worm. A person becomes infected by swallowing the larvae contained in undercooked meat or fish.


Echinococcus is the smallest tapeworm there is. Its length is 2-8 mm. A mature individual has a scolex, a neck and 3-4 segments. It lives in the intestines of carnivorous animals of the canine family. Intermediate hosts can be herbivores or humans. Helminth eggs fall into hands when they come into contact with the definitive host or when collecting wild berries sown with echinococci eggs.

When eggs are ingested, a person becomes an intermediate host. In its body, the larvae penetrate the blood vessels, with the blood flow they are carried to the organs and tissues, where they settle and transform into a Finn - a bubble filled with fluid and containing the scolex of the parasite. In this case, Finnish can reach large sizes, which leads to compression of organs and tissues. Especially dangerous is the location of echinococcal cysts in the brain, liver and lungs.


Schistosomes are dioecious-type helminths belonging to the category of flatworms. They have oral and ventral suckers. The female is slightly longer than the male. The definitive host of the schistosome are humans and mammals. Helminths settle in small vessels in the large intestine, pelvis, and bladder. The parasite eggs are released into the bloodstream, filtered by the kidneys and excreted in the urine.

Parasite larvae that have fallen into a freshwater reservoir penetrate the bodies of the molluscs, where they continue their developmental cycle. After 6-8 weeks, the embryos reenter open water, where they develop into cercariae - tailed larvae that can penetrate the human body through intact skin. As a rule, infestations in humans develop when swimming in open water, washing clothes in it, or other contact with open water.


Filariae are thread-like round worms. There are about 8 varieties of filaria that parasitize the human body. The intermediate host and carrier of the disease are blood-sucking insects. Human infection occurs when insect bites and helminth larvae enter the upper layers of the skin.

The distribution of larvae in the body of the final host occurs through the hematogenous route. Worms spread throughout the body, settle in organs and tissues, cause allergic reactions, swelling of the affected area, lymphostasis, proliferation of endothelial cells.

How to identify worms at home

It is possible to assume the presence of worms in the body by one or another characteristic. In addition, for the rapid diagnosis of helminthiasis, a special test was developed, consisting of several questions.

Signs of the presence of parasites in the body

Signs of worms in an adult's body directly depend on the type of invasion.

  • Enterobiosis - itching in the anus, insomnia, irritability, indigestion, diarrhea, loss of appetite, pain in the right side of the abdomen, flatulence, false urge to defecate.
  • Ascariasis - vomiting, belly button pain, dry cough, nausea, shortness of breath, roundworm or roundworm eggs in stool, wheezing, fever.
  • Trichuriasis - flatulence, vomiting, stools mixed with blood and mucus, mental retardation of the child, abdominal pain, weight loss, anemia.
  • Invasion by tapeworm - for a long time it is asymptomatic. Later, episodic abdominal pain, decreased blood hemoglobin, indigestion, diarrhea, and unexplained weight loss occur.
  • Echinococcus - symptoms of infection with parasites that form Finns depend on which organ was affected. With the development of an echinococcal cyst in the brain, neurological symptoms occur. With liver damage, patients complain of pain on the right side, yellowing of the skin, general deterioration of well-being and violation of digestive processes.
  • Schistosomiasis - weight loss, abdominal pain, dizziness, enlarged liver, spleen, blood in urine, fever, anemia, skin edema, urolithiasis, dry cough, impaired defecation.
  • Filariasis - enlarged lymph nodes, hyperthermia, weakness, headaches, blood in the urine, stiffness of movement, enlargement of certain parts of the body, swelling of the skin, watery eyes.

Note: Most of the symptoms described are non-specific and can occur with many other conditions.

parasite test

This test makes it possible to assess the probability of helminth infection. When passing, you must use answer options like "yes", "no", "sometimes". For each "yes" answer 2 points are assigned, for the "no" answer - 0 points. The answer "sometimes" requires a period.

  1. Is there morning sickness?
  2. Is there pale skin, gums?
  3. Is there persistent anemia that does not respond to drug therapy?
  4. Pain or discomfort in the abdomen?
  5. Are indigestions common?
  6. Stool disorders?
  7. Is there weight on the right side?
  8. Frequent headaches?
  9. Periodic cough?
  10. Intermittent tingling in large joints?
  11. Sudden loss of vision?
  12. Grinding your teeth in your sleep?
  13. Eating large amounts of food while still feeling hungry?
  14. Frequent allergies?
  15. Does swelling occur?
  16. Decreased performance?
  17. Chronic diseases?
  18. Intermittent abdominal pain?
  19. Signs of inflammation in the blood?
  20. Itchy anus?
  21. Do family members have similar symptoms?

A negative test can be considered a test in which no more than 6 points were scored. The probability of invasion exists in those who scored from 6 to 17 points. People who scored 17 to 24 on the test are almost certainly infected with one or another helminth. With an indicator of 24 to 42 points, one can speak of multiple invasion by helminths of different types, which happens very rarely.

laboratory diagnosis

For an accurate diagnosis of helminthiases, several types of laboratory tests are used:

fecal analysis

Sampling of biological material for analysis is performed in the morning. A small amount of feces taken from the middle of the total portion is sent to the laboratory. Here, the material obtained is visually examined, trying to determine the presence of eggs in it. The eggs of some parasites are so large that they can be seen with the naked eye. If this does not happen, the biomaterial is stained with special techniques, seeded in nutrient medium, after which it is examined under a microscope. It is possible to talk about the absence of invasion only after three or four studies, during which no signs of the presence of worms were detected. The technique is suitable for the determination of all helminths whose eggs and segments are excreted with the faeces.

Scraping, cotton swab

Signs of the presence of worms and ascaris can be detected by scraping or swabbing the patient's perianal folds. This method is relevant due to the peculiarities of helminth reproduction. The egg-laying pinworm leaves the intestine and exits, where the laying process takes place. A smear should be done in the morning, without preliminary hygiene procedures. Otherwise, the parasite eggs will be washed away and the analysis will be false negative.

blood analysis

In diagnosing helminthiases, a general blood test is of indirect importance. Indisputable signs of the presence of parasites in the blood with this research method are not detected. As a rule, the prolonged presence of parasitic worms in the body leads to some decrease in hemoglobin levels, the appearance of nonspecific signs of the inflammatory process (increased ESR, leukocytosis).

ELISA blood test

The enzyme immunoassay (ELISA) method is based on the detection of antibodies against parasite toxins and on the enzymatic response of the organism to the presence of helminths. This method of research makes it possible to diagnose the disease even if the helminth, for one reason or another, has not laid eggs. ELISA is most productive in the early stages of invasion, when the worm is just beginning to develop in the human body.

What to do if you get infected?

If there are signs of parasitic infection, independent attempts at therapy should not be made. Regardless of the symptoms of worms in adults, the best course of action is to visit a parasitologist or gastroenterologist. He will prescribe the necessary tests, be able to correctly assess the danger of the disease, select drugs that will quickly and completely remove parasites from the body.

Despite the apparent simplicity of the disease, helminthiases can have very serious consequences. There are cases where the presence of parasites has led to perforation of the intestine, its obstruction, peritonitis and sepsis. Modern medicines allow you to get rid of worms quickly and reliably. However, almost each of them has a number of contraindications and recommendations for use, which only a specialist knows about. That is why any anthelmintic medication or traditional medicine should only be used after consulting a doctor.