Ascariasis is a condition brought about by ingestion of the eggs of the Ascaris lumbricoides roundworm. The condition does not generally display any severe symptoms, but the parasites might invade the small intestine and pass their eggs in the stool.
The parasite is transmitted via the soil; thus, one can be infected if exposed to contaminated dirt or from fresh produce that was not thoroughly washed.
Ascariasis can affect the digestive tract and trigger abdominal pain and even malnutrition. In some cases, the individual might even ingest or cough up the parasite.
What are the signs?
The indications of ascariasis tend to vary from one individual to another. An infected person does not typically have any severe symptoms. Nevertheless, some might end up with minor symptoms such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Continuous cough as the parasites move through the body
- The individual might swallow the larvae if coughing occurs or cough them up. If the worms migrate to the lungs, it can cause asthma-like symptoms such as wheezing or shortness of breath.
If there is a severe case of infestation in the intestine, it can result to the following:
- Significant abdominal discomfort
- Passing worms with the stool
- Partly or fully blocked intestine
- Weight loss
- Disrupted growth among children
Management of ascariasis
The treatment for ascariasis is necessary for those who are suffering from serious symptoms. In some cases, the condition might even settle spontaneously.
The commonly-used treatment options generally include:
- Anti-parasitic medication that are typically effective after 1-3 days of treatment. The side effects are usually few and might include diarrhea or mild stomach pain.
- Surgery might be an option to eliminate the worms or fix any obstructions or perforations in severe cases.