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Symptoms and Signs of How to Treat Pinworm Infection

Doctor's Notes on How to Treat Pinworm Infection

A pinworm is a helminth, subgroup nematode (Enterobius vermicularis), that causes enterobiasis (pinworm infection), a parasitic worm infestation also termed a seatworm and threadworm. The term oxyuriasis means infestation with or disease caused by pinworms. This disease usually occurs in a child and may produce the following signs and symptoms although some children may have no symptoms or signs:

  • Intense anal itching (due to movement of adult worms)
  • Prickly pain in anal area (due to adult female worms depositing eggs)
  • Rash in anal area
  • Visualization of pinworms in stools and/or anal area (whitish thin worms ranging from 2-3 mm long)
  • Restless sleep
  • Less frequent symptoms include abdominal discomfort, loss of appetite, irritability, and vaginal itching

The cause of pinworm infection is Enterobius vermicularis. The pinworms pass easily from child to child (or even to some adults) with contaminated fingers, food, and drink and from some contaminated surfaces. Anthelmintics (for example, mebendazole, pyrantel pamoate) treat the whole family because if one person is positive for pinworms, it's likely that other family members have pinworms, too. Routinely, infected people must take two doses 2 weeks apart.

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 5/15/2020


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.