Helminths are parasitic worms. They are the most common infectious agents of humans in developing countries and produce a global burden of disease that exceeds better-known conditions, including malaria and tuberculosis. Helminth is the word is derived from the Greek meaning “worms”. They have beleaguered humans since before the era of our earliest recorded history. The eggs of helminths of intestine can be found in the mummified feaces of humans dating back to thousands of years.
Helminths (worms) are of two major groups/phyla:
Nematode/Nemathelminths: they have long thin unfragmented tube-like bodies with mouths in the anterior and longitudinal digestive tract. They have a fluid-filled internal body cavity that acts as a hydrostatic skeleton providing rigidity. Adult worms form separate sexes with the well-developed reproductive system. Ex: Ascaris lumbricoides and filarial worms causing Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) and Onchocerciasis
Platyhelminths: These are divided into two groups:
• Tapeworms: also called cestodes, they have long flat ribbon-like bodies with a single anterior holdfast organ and numerous segments causing cysticercosis.
• Flukes have small flat leaf-like bodies with oral and ventral suckers and a blind sac-like gut.
Causes of parasitic worm infections /helminthiasis:
The egg or the larvae of the worms enter the body through many routes. These enter through the mouth (infected water /food), penetration through the skin or may enter through the bite of the insects carrying the egg or the larvae.
The places of poor hygiene or where the people usually defecate in open are more prone to get this disease as the soil and water along with the food may get infected by the larvae or eggs which may finally reach out body and can start its life cycle.
Vectors: Cockroach, Flies, Fleas, Mosquito and Pig pork, etc. Are usually the carriers of the egg or larvae of the worms.
Localization of worms in body:
• The worms are localized in the internal organs like liver, brain, lungs and intestine • They are also found in blood vessels and lymphatic
Signs and Symptoms:
There are various symptoms of the infection, but the common one are:
• Asthma • Cough • Nausea, vomiting • Distension, flatulence • Weight loss • Dysentery • Urticaria • Diarrhea • In asymptomatic cases, the worms live harmlessly in caecum/appendix
Adverse effects of the problem:
In light infections, there are no symptoms of the damage, however, in case of severe helminthiasis Abdominal distension is seen along with tissue damage. Due to the uncontrolled growth of the worm inside gut the bowel may become packed with worms. Helminthiasis is also associated with problems of nutritional deficiency, immune reactions, memory and fluency to do work.
Helminths infection can be prevented if we include following measures:
• Use of clean water for domestic and personal use • Good hygiene and sanitization practise • Avoid use of untreated human excreta as fertilizers • Wear shoes and slipper • Cleaning vegetables before cooking • Deworming the pets and proper disposal of their faecal matter
Common antihelminthic drugs that are available online are:
• Zentel • Banocide forte • Member • Nizonide • Yomesan • Distocide etc.
You can buy these antihelminthic medicines online at very cheap rates from trusted online pharmacies.
Myths and facts:
Myth: only dirty people get worms
Fact: Although being dirty is an easy way to get infected, but the practice of simply coming in contact with an infected surface can make you infected, no matter how clean you are.
Myth: only children get worms
Facts: although children are more susceptible to damage caused by worm infection, the truth is that adults are also at a very high risk of getting infected with worms.
Diagnosis of parasitic worm infections:
The diagnosis is done using various methods of evaluating the worms and the sites of infection along with taking the help of symptoms. Some commonly used factors to describe the infection are:
• Characteristic eggs in stool • Honeycomb appearance of the small intestine • Proctoscopy (if dysentery): numerous worms attached to the mucosa (reddened, ulcerated) • ELISA Serum igg and raised igg levels • Fecal examination methods or culture on charcoal at 26°C
Treatment for parasitic worm infections:
These drugs act by either killing or damaging the worms.
1. Albendazole and Mebendazole: This drug inhibits microtubule synthesis in nematodes thus irreversibly weakening glucose uptake. Affected parasites are expelled along with feces. It is consumed orally either by chewing or by consuming a high-fat diet. It cures the infections caused by:
a. Whipworm b. Pinworm c. Hookworm d. Roundworm e. Tapeworm
But the patients may often complain of abdominal pain & diarrhea while taking the doses of the medicine.
2. Pyrantel pamoate: It is poorly absorbed orally & exerts its effects on the intestinal tract. It acts by paralyzing the worm; it is then expelled from the host’s intestinal tract. Pyrantel pamoate is a very good drug used in the treatment of infection caused by:
a. Roundworms, b. Pinworms c. Hookworms
Adverse effects are mild & include nausea, vomiting & diarrhea.
3. Piperazine: It cause flaccid paralysis of the worm, and they fail to retain their original position, so finally they come out with stool by peristalsis. It is readily absorbed from the gut. It is actively used against:
a. Roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides) b. Tapeworm (Taenia Solium)
4. Diethylcarbamazine: used for the treatment of Filariasis. It acts by altering their surface structure and displaces from the tissues. It has various adverse effects like fever, rashes, and gastrointestinal disturbance.
5. Ivermectin: It is the drug used in the treatment of:
a. Strongyloidiasis b. Cutaneous Larva migraines c. Onchocerciasis
Ivermectin targets the parasite’s Chlorine channel receptors. Chloride Influx is enhanced & hyperpolarization occurs, resulting in paralysis. It is contraindicated in pregnancy.
6. Praziquantel:This drug is rapidly absorbed after taken orally & distributes into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The drug is extensively metabolized & excreted through the urine & bile. Praziquantel increases the permeability of trematode & cestodes cell membrane to calcium, resulting in paralysis, dislodgement & death.
7. Niclosamide: It is a drug of used in beef tapeworm and pork tapeworm infestations. It acts by impairing the energy production process of parasite worms. Nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea are few side-effects associated with this drug.
You can buy these antihelminthic drugs online at very cheap rates from various reputed pharmacies.
Steps to improve the health:
• Intestinal cleaning is the most effective treatment to get all the worms out of the body. Generally these kinds of cleaning requires using high fiber or roughage diet and supplements like Psyllium husks (Isaphgul), garlic, pumpkin (preferably its seeds), ripe papaya’s extract, activated charcoal and beetroot juices etc. • Garlic and ginger have long been known to be very effective in Roundworm infections. Any formulation containing garlic or eating raw garlic pods proves to be a very useful therapy. • Another good colon cleansing herb is goldenseal or orangeroot. This herb has been used for worm infestations and also to cure infections of the mucous membranes present in various human pathways such as respiratory, gastrointestinal, etc. • Black walnut is another safe and effective remedy. • Pumpkin seeds are said to be very good in treating tapeworms and roundworms.
Important thing to know:
In the folk medicinal science like Ayurveda, it is said that the Neem is the best herb for treating worms in any herbal science. As Neem contains some substances, that are good for human intestines but poisonous to the worms.