If This Happens To Your Poop, You Might Have A Worm Problem

Your poop health is a sign of your overall health. For example, if you're having constipation, you may be in need of more fiber in order to be able to poop. If you're experiencing diarrhea, it might be a sign that you ate something that didn't agree with you. 

Sometimes, diarrhea can be a symptom of intestinal parasites. Intestinal parasites, most commonly found in tropical and subtropical developing countries (but also present in the U.S.), can find their way into your digestive system in a few different ways. Eating undercooked meat of an animal that has worms, drinking contaminated water, coming into contact with contaminated feces, having poor sanitation, practicing poor hygiene, and visiting places that may contain intestinal worms are some of the causes. Children who play in contaminated soil might be more at risk too. Are you thinking about recent foods you ate that might give you food poisoning? We are too. 

Some of the known worms that feed on the nutrients inside the human body include tapeworms, hookworms, liver flukes, threadworms, Ascaris, Trichinella, and pinworms. There are, however, other varieties. Intestinal worms are known to lay eggs and hatch inside your digestive system. They don't always cause symptoms; it may depend on the type of infection. However, your poop can give you more clues as well. If your poop is stringy, it could mean that you have a pinworm problem. Pinworms appear as thin white strings. With roundworms, you might see pieces of the parasite or the entire parasite in your stool.

What are the other symptoms of intestinal worms?

When symptoms do show up, you'd experience stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, bloating, gas, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, mucus and blood in your poop, and itching and redness around the rectum or vulva area. In fact, female pinworms can sometimes be seen laying their eggs around the anal area at night; they might also be spotted on your nightclothes like pajamas. Scratching the anal area at night is one easy way in which pinworm infections spread. The eggs can get under your nails and then transfer onto other places.

If you're thinking, how can a worm live inside me and this not be a serious thing? Well, intestinal worms can be a serious concern depending on the type of infection or who is infected with the parasites. Elderly people, pregnant mothers, and people with infections that suppress their immune system like HIV/AIDS might be more at risk of serious complications. Anemia, intestinal blockages, and malnutrition are possible dangers with worms in your system. Since they feed on the nutrients in your digestive tract, you could experience the effects of a lack of adequate nutrients.

When a worm problem warrants a doctor's visit

When should you see a doctor if you notice symptoms that indicate worms in your poop? While most parasite infections only cause mild symptoms, if you notice blood or mucus in your stool, you're vomiting often, your body temperature is high, you feel very tired and dehydrated, you're losing weight and aren't sure why, you have diarrhea and stomach pain for over two weeks, or you have itchy skin rashes (especially if it's shaped like a worm), it's time to see a doctor. Intestinal worms can also infect other areas of your body, like your brain and lungs. 

Your doctor might first ask you if you've traveled anywhere outside the country. A stool test, a "Scotch tape" test (where tape is administered to your rectum area, removed, and observed under a light), and X-rays could follow. Sometimes, there might also be a blood test, especially if worms aren't detected in a fecal sample or a Scotch tape test. 

A strong immune system and a generally healthy lifestyle could be good enough to get rid of some intestinal worms like tapeworms, for example. But sometimes, your doctor will recommend antiparasitic medication. The type of medication will depend on the type of intestinal parasite infection. 

It goes without saying that improving your hygiene habits helps prevent pinworms and other types of parasitic infections. Wash your hands before and after eating, be mindful of the places you travel to and the foods and drinks you consume, and avoid raw meats.

Now that you know that stringy poop may be a sign of worms, want to find out what white spots in your poop mean?