10 Parasite Symptoms (w/ Online Symptoms Quiz) & Treatment

The most common parasite symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, unexplained weight loss and changes in appetite. These symptoms may vary depending on the worm causing the infection.

Parasite symptoms arise due to the ingestion of parasite eggs and cysts, which can be present in soil, raw meat or on dirty surfaces. They can develop in the intestine and spread, leading to an intestinal infection.

Also recommended: Intestinal infection: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment tuasaude.com/en/intestinal-infection

If you notice any parasite symptoms, it is important for the parasite causing the infection is identified, as this will help to guide the most appropriate treatment. 

Main symptoms

Some signs and symptoms that can indicate an intestinal worm infection include:

  1. Abdominal pain, with some cases of discomfort around the belly button
  2. Excess gas
  3. Frequent diarrhea
  4. Nausea and vomiting
  5. Anal itching
  6. Bloating
  7. Excessive fatigue
  8. Weight loss for no obvious reason
  9. White dots in the stool
  10. Appetite changes

Although intestinal symptoms are more common, worms can grow in areas outside of the intestines, such as in the stomach, lungs or even the brain. Therefore other symptoms can also be present, like heartburn, coughing, fever, difficulty breathing and neurological changes.

Online symptoms checker

To assess whether you are at risk for having an intestinal worm infection, report your symptoms below:

  1. 1. Constant abdominal pain
  2. 2. Swollen belly or excess gas
  3. 3. Frequent tiredness for no apparent reason
  4. 4. Itchy anus
  5. 5. Periods of diarrhea alternating with constipation
  6. 6. Presence of small white dots in the stool
  7. 7. Weight loss for no apparent reason
  8. 8. Appetite changes with little or no hunger
  9. 9. Very dark stools

Note that this symptoms quiz should only be used a tool, and is not for diagnostic purposes. It does not replace a consult with your doctor.

Symptoms in babies and children

Symptoms of intestinal worms in babies and children can present as the following:

  • Vomiting, diarrhea or gas
  • Decreased interest in playing
  • Bloating that does improve with abdominal massage
  • Anal itching, particularly if it disrupts sleep at night
  • Presence of worms in the diaper, anus or stool
  • Yellow skin
  • Delayed growth

Symptoms of intestinal worms in younger patients emerge most frequently in babies over 6 months of age, as they are in frequent contact with dirty floors and have less developed immune systems. Babies and children should be assessed by a doctor or pediatrician to initiate appropriate treatment.

When to get tested

It is recommended to be tested for worms every year, however, the doctor may order a test on an as-needed basis if the patient presents with parasite symptoms.

The main test that is ordered to diagnose parasites is a parasitological stool test.

Treatment options

Intestinal worms are best treated with medication. However, it is important to prevent reinfection once treatment is complete by employing good hand hygiene, especially after going to the bathroom or before cooking.. This will prevent re-transmission of eggs into the body.

It is also important to adopt specific hygiene measures to prevent transmission to other people as well. Again, washing your hands after using the bathroom or before cooking is essential. You should also avoid consuming water or food that could potentially be contaminated, keep your nails short, and ensure your meat is well-done.

Also recommended: 8 Home Remedies for Intestinal & Stomach Infection tuasaude.com/en/home-remedies-for-intestinal-infections

Medications for parasites

Medications that are most recommended for treatment of intestinal worms are albendazole and mebendazole. These should be used as directed by the doctor (who should be consulted before you use them. Other common antiparasitic medications include secnidazole, tenidazole and metronidazole

Some antiparasitic medications can be purchased over-the-counter at the pharmacy as a single-dose pill or syrup, in both adult and child doses (ie. for children over 2). Their use will depend on the type of worm you are treating, and therefore you should still consult your doctor before taking them.