Threadworms, also known as pinworms, are tiny parasitic worms that infect the intestines of humans. The scientific name for threadworm is Enterobius vermicularis. They are common but are especially prevalent in children. Threadworms look like small, white, thin threads, hence the name. They are usually less than 13 millimeters long.

Symptoms of a threadworm infection include itching around the anus or vagina, restless sleep, and weight loss. If someone in your family gets threadworms, everyone in the household should be treated to prevent re-infection.

Thread worm

Threadworms are spread by the eggs being swallowed, often due to poor personal hygiene such as not washing hands regularly. The eggs then hatch in your intestines and grow into adult worms. At night, the female worms travel to the anus to lay their eggs, which can cause itching.

The treatment for threadworms is usually straightforward and involves medication to kill the worms and strict hygiene measures to stop the spread. Prevention involves regular hand washing, keeping fingernails short, and avoiding scratching the anal area. These measures also help prevent re-infection.

Causes of Threadworms

Threadworms, also known as pinworms, are a type of parasite that typically infects the human intestines. Infections are common especially in children. Here are some of the causes of threadworms:

1. Direct Contact: The threadworm eggs can easily be transferred from the fingers to the mouth, particularly in children who have a habit of thumb-sucking or nail-biting. Touching contaminated objects or surfaces like toys, bedding, clothing, toilet seats and handles can also cause an infection.

2. Ingestion or Inhalation of Eggs: Threadworm eggs can survive up to two weeks outside the human body. They can be present in the air and dust in homes, schools, and other environments, and can be inhaled or ingested.

3. Poor Hygienic Practices: Lack of regular hand washing, especially before meals or after using the toilet, can lead to the ingestion of threadworm eggs.

4. Contaminated Food and Water: Eating food or drinking water contaminated with threadworm eggs can cause threadworm infection.

5. Human-to-Human Transmission: Threadworms can easily spread from one person to another, especially in close quarters such as in a household or a school.

It’s important to note that threadworms are not caused by poor hygiene, but improving hygiene can help prevent their spread.

Risk Factors of Threadworms

Threadworms, also known as pinworms, are a common type of parasitic worm that infects the human digestive tract, specifically the large intestine. They are especially common in children. There are several risk factors associated with threadworms:

1. Age: Threadworms are more prevalent in children aged between 5 and 10 years old. Children are less likely to maintain constant good hygiene, which is essential in preventing threadworms.

2. Personal Hygiene: Poor personal hygiene increases the risk of threadworms. The eggs can survive on hands, under fingernails, on clothing and bedding, and on other surfaces.

3. Household or School Environment: Individuals living with or caring for children or others already infected with threadworms are at a higher risk of getting infected themselves. Similarly, children attending childcare of school facilities with others who are infected are more susceptible.

4. Direct Contact: These parasites can also be spread through direct contact with an infected person’s faeces or eggs.

5. Contaminated Objects: Threadworm eggs can live on surfaces like toys, kitchen utensils, bedding or furniture for up to two weeks. If a person touches these surfaces and then touches their mouth without washing their hands, they can swallow the eggs and get infected.

6. Ingesting Contaminated Food or Drink: Threadworms can also spread if you consume food or drink that’s been contaminated with threadworm eggs.

Once a person is infected, it’s possible to re-infect oneself and others in the same household. Reinfection happens when the person scratches around their anus (where the threadworms lay eggs), getting microscopic eggs on their fingers or under their fingernails, then touches their mouth or eats food.

The best prevention method is to maintain good hygiene habits, including regular hand-washing, cleaning under the fingernails, and washing clothes and bedding regularly.

Signs and Symptoms of Threadworms

Threadworms, also known as pinworms, are a type of intestinal parasite that often affects children but can affect people of any age. The symptoms can vary with each individual, but the most common signs and symptoms include:

1. Itching around the anus or vagina, particularly at night: This is often the first and most noticeable symptom. It’s caused by threadworms laying their eggs in the folds of skin around the anus.

2. Restless sleep or irritability: The intense itching can lead to sleep disruptions.

3. Presence of threadworms in stools or on clothing: The worms are small, white and look like pieces of thread. They are most active at night and can sometimes be seen on the skin around the anus or on underclothing, sheets or bedding.

4. Abdominal pain or discomfort.

5. Unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite.

6. In females, vulvovaginitis (inflammation of the vulva and vagina) can sometimes occur as a result of threadworms.

7. Secondary bacterial infection resulting from scratching the itchy area.

In some cases, an individual with a threadworm infection may not exhibit any symptoms at all. Hence, it’s important to observe good hygiene practices to prevent the spread of the infection. If you suspect a threadworm infection, it’s advised to seek medical attention as treatment involves medication and cleaning measure to get rid of the worms and eggs.

Diagnosis Threadworms

Threadworms, also known as pinworms, are tiny parasitic worms that infect the intestines of humans. This condition is medically referred to as Enterobiasis.

Diagnosing threadworms typically involves the following steps:

1. Medical History: The doctor will first gather information about the patient’s symptoms and their medical history. Symptoms of threadworms usually include itching around the anus or vagina (especially at night), disturbed sleep, and weight loss.

2. Physical Examination: The doctor may conduct a physical examination focusing particularly on the anal area.

3. Tape Test: The most commonly used method for diagnosing threadworms is the “tape test”. This test is done first thing in the morning before the person has washed or gone to the toilet. A piece of clear tape is placed over the anus and removed, then looked at under a microscope. If threadworm eggs are present, they will stick to the tape and can be seen under the microscope.

4. Anal swab: If the tape test is not successful, a doctor may instead take an anal swab. A cotton swab is gently inserted into the rectum and then examined under a microscope for the presence of eggs or worms.

5. Lab tests: Occasionally, laboratory tests may be required and a samples of stool or urine may be taken to look for evidence of the threadworms.

Threadworm infections are highly contagious and are the most common type of worm infection in the developed world. These infections are generally treated with medication to kill the worms and strict hygiene measures to prevent reinfection.

Treatment of Threadworms

Treatment for threadworms, also known as pinworms, involves antiparasitic medication to destroy the worms. The most commonly prescribed medications are:

1. Mebendazole: Taken as a single-dose treatment or a three-day treatment which involves taking the medication twice a day.

2. Albendazole: Usually a single dosage is sufficient, but in some cases, two doses taken two weeks apart may be necessary.

For both medicines, a second dose is often given two weeks after the first to kill any newly hatched worms.

In addition to the medication, it’s also necessary to follow some essential hygiene practices to prevent re-infestation and the spread of the worms to others:

1. Regular handwashing, especially before eating and after going to the toilet.

2. Regularly washing bed linens, bath towels, and underclothing in hot water to kill any eggs.

3. Showering or bathing daily to wash away any eggs.

4. Avoiding scratching the anal area, as this can spread eggs.

5. Regular home cleaning, including vacuuming and wiping surfaces with a damp cloth.

These methods help reduce the risk of a threadworm re-infestation. However, remember to consult a healthcare professional before starting any treatment. It’s critical to seek medical advice to ensure an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Medications commonly used for Threadworms

Threadworms, also known as pinworms, are a type of parasitic infection. They are often treated with antiparasitic medications. Here are some common ones:

1. Mebendazole: It’s probably the most commonly used medication for threadworms. It works by preventing the worms from absorbing sugars, which basically starves them until they die. A single dose is usually sufficient, but sometimes a second dose may be required after two weeks if the infection is not cleared.

2. Albendazole: This is another medication that is used to treat a variety of parasitic worm infestations, including threadworms. It, too, is given in a single dose with a possible second dose two weeks later if needed.

3. Piperazine: This medicine paralyzes the worms, preventing them from moving or eating, which eventually kills them. It’s commonly combined with a medication called senna, which helps to expel the worms from the body. It’s given as a single dose, which should be followed by a second dose after two weeks if the infection is not fully cleared.

4. Pyrantel pamoate: It’s an over-the-counter medication used to treat threadworms and is typically given as a single dose.

The correct medication for you will depend on several factors, such as your overall health, the severity of the infection, and your doctor’s judgment. Always consult with your healthcare provider regarding which treatment is best for you.

It’s also important to note that these medications kill only the adult worms. Eggs can survive for two weeks, therefore hygienic measures should be taken to avoid re-infection or spread to others. Washing hands and under the fingernails carefully, changing and washing underclothes, bed linen and towels daily, and disinfecting bathroom and kitchen surfaces can help to achieve this.

Prevention of Threadworms

Threadworms, also known as pinworms, are a common type of parasitic worm. The tiny, thin, white worms usually infect school-age children but anyone can get them. Here are a few prevention strategies:

1. Regular Hand Washing: This is the most crucial step in preventing threadworm infections. Always wash your hands thoroughly using soap and warm water, especially after using the toilet, before meals, and after changing diapers.

2. Nail Hygiene: Keep fingernails short, discourage nail-biting and thumb-sucking, as the eggs can hide underneath fingernails.

3. Clean Bedding and Clothing: Threadworm eggs can survive on clothing and bedding. Wash these items regularly in hot water.

4. Disinfect Bathroom and Kitchen: As the eggs can survive on surfaces, regularly clean your bathroom and kitchen using hot water and a disinfectant.

5. Avoid scratching the anal area: This can lead to re-infection or spreading the infection to others, as the eggs can then end up under your fingernails.

6. No sharing of Towels and Flannels: This cuts down the chance of eggs being spread on shared items.

7. Showering in the Morning: Showering can help remove eggs from the skin, and it’s important to do this first thing in the morning to get rid of any eggs laid overnight.

Remember, if anyone in the house is infected, everyone should be treated for threadworms because they spread easily.

FAQ’s about Threadworms

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about threadworms:

1. What are threadworms?
Threadworms, also known as pinworms, are tiny parasitic worms that infect the large intestine. The eggs laid by threadworms contaminate the environment and can easily be ingested by humans.

2. How are threadworms transmitted?
Threadworms are typically spread through poor hygiene. They can be picked up by touching contaminated surfaces or clothing and then putting your hands near your mouth, or by breathing in dust from contaminated surfaces.

3. What are the symptoms of threadworms?
Symptoms can range from no symptoms at all to severe discomfort. Common signs are extreme itching around the anus or vagina, especially at night, disturbed sleep, and weight loss.

4. How are threadworms diagnosed?
A doctor generally diagnoses threadworms by examining a sample of feces or taking a swab from around your anus.

5. How are threadworms treated?
Antiparasitic medication, like mebendazole, is the most common form of treatment. Good hygiene practices can also control and prevent future infestations.

6. Can threadworms cause complications?
Yes, although it’s rare. Complications may include secondary infections due to scratching the anal area, insomnia due to discomfort, weight loss, and in severe and untreated cases, a severe blockage of the intestine.

7. Can you prevent threadworms?
Good personal hygiene is the best way to prevent threadworms. This includes washing hands regularly, cleaning household surfaces and bedding frequently, and avoiding sharing personal items such as towels or bed linen.

Please contact a healthcare professional if you suspect you or someone else may have a threadworm infection. It’s important to seek the right treatment as quickly as possible.

Useful links

Threadworms, also known as pinworms, are human parasites that typically infect the intestines. They can cause a variety of symptoms and issues such as itching, difficulty sleeping, and weight loss.

Here are some useful links to various journals and medical resources on threadworms:


Remember, if you suspect that you or a family member may have a threadworm infection, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider. They can give you the correct diagnosis and treatment options.

Complications of Threadworms

Threadworms, also known as pinworms, are small, thin, white worms that can infect the human digestive system. They are the most common type of worm infection in the U.S. Although threadworms can occur at any age, they mostly affect children.

Here are some of the complications associated with threadworms:

1. Sleep disruption: Because the female threadworms typically move to the anal area to lay their eggs during the night, intense itching can occur which can interrupt sleep and lead to general irritability.

2. Secondary bacterial infections: Excessive scratching of the itchy areas can lead to minor breaks in the skin, increasing the risks for a secondary bacterial skin infection.

3. Disruption of daily activities: The itching and discomfort can interfere with concentration at school or work.

4. Spread to other body areas: In rare cases, threadworms can travel from the large intestine to other parts of the body, such as the vagina and the uterus in females, leading to further complications like urinary tract infections or vaginitis.

5. Emotional distress: Being infected with threadworms can cause feelings of anxiety and embarrassment, mainly due to the stigma associated with having a parasitic infection.

6. Malnutrition and weight loss: Though rare, in severe or persistent infestations, threadworms can lead to malnutrition as they steal vital nutrients from the body, potentially resulting in weight loss.

7. Possible peritonitis: This is very rare but if the worms penetrate the intestinal wall, they can cause peritonitis, which is a serious inflammation of the abdominal wall.

While these complications exist, it’s important to note that threadworm infections are generally more of a nuisance than a serious health issue and can be effectively treated with medication. It’s also crucial to maintain good hygiene practices to prevent the spread or reinfection of threadworms.

Home remedies of Threadworms

Threadworms, also known as pinworms, are a common type of parasite that can cause an itchy rectum. These worms are common in children but can affect people of all ages. If you suspect a threadworm infection, consult a healthcare provider right away. Home remedies can provide relief from symptoms but should not replace conventional medical treatment. Here are a few potential home remedies for threadworms:

1. Garlic: Garlic is known for its anti-parasitic properties. You could incorporate more garlic into your diet or try applying a small amount of garlic oil to the infected area.


2. Coconut: Many people believe eating coconut and drinking coconut milk can kill parasites. Additionally, applying a small amount of coconut oil to the affected area might bring some relief.

3. Raw Carrots: Eating raw carrots can help with intestinal parasites, including threadworms. It’s believed that the fiber in the carrot helps move the worms along and out of the body.

4. Regular Hygiene: Most importantly, maintain a high standard of cleanliness. Wash your hands frequently, maintain clean nails, and avoid scratching the area to prevent re-infestation. Showering daily, washing all bedsheets, and vacuuming is also recommended.

5. Probiotics: Consuming probiotics regularly can help establish a strong population of beneficial bacteria in your gut, making it difficult for the threadworms to survive.

6. Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds have been traditionally used as a remedy for worms, including pinworms. They contain a compound called cucurbitacin, which has anti-parasitic properties.

7. Apple Cider Vinegar: The acidity can help create an inhospitable environment for the threadworms.

Remember, these remedies may help with symptoms and reducing reinfection, but they do not replace effective medical treatment. Always consult a healthcare professional when dealing with a parasitic infection.

Categorized in:


Last Update: January 12, 2024