Worms during Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Thread worms have been highly known for spreading worm infections. They are also commonly known as the pin worm.
What are these thread worms and their life cycle?
They are usually small, thin and white in color. They often have a length of between 2mm to 13 mm long. They are common I children but they can as well affect any person of any age. They usually infect the human intestines or just call them the gut. Thread worms live for close to 5 to 6 weeks in the intestines before they die.
How are worm infections transmitted?
Humans have often been the hosts. The female worms lay and deposit their eggs around the anus before they die. During the night in your bed, your are always warm, hence the process tends to happen then. To see the eggs, you need to use a microscope as they are rather too tiny. They are accompanied by irritating mucus which causes itching around the anus.You will often scratch around the anus to relieve the itching. Since you actually do the scratching during your sleep, you may not actually realize the act. You may find the eggs on your fingers and under the nails as you scratch which you may swallow if you put your fingers in your mouth. Up to two weeks, the thread worms are able to survive outside your body. They tend to fall off the skin around the anus onto the bedding and clothes; they can easily be spread through the air as you change bedding and clothes. They often become part of the dust in the home.
Food and toothbrushes may allow the eggs to settle on them and children may swallow them as they play with other children who have them on the fingers or even from the food, drinks and toothbrushes as well as the contaminated dust. The cycle of the thread worm infection goes on and on as the eggs that you swallow hatch to form into adult worms when you swallow them.
Unlike what is usually said and believed, thread worms are not spread by pets in any way although the pets carry different types of worms.
How do you manage worms among women who are pregnant and /or breastfeeding mothers?
Pregnant women with women have been found to have high chances of giving birth to a baby that has an increased immunity against allergies. It will be hard for you to realize that you have thread worms since the symptoms do not show I most people. However, the following may help you to tell the presence of the thread worms.
- Lack of sleep or restlessness
- Vaginal pain
- Itching around the anus or vagina.This usually happens at night
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite and low absorption of nutrients. This commonly happens as a result of large and long term infestation.
- Irritability and changes in behavior
- Feeling unwell.
Worms have always been known to generally cause infections like bilharzia, liver damage and anemia. Maternal worms on the other side have been found to instead offer protection against allergies like asthma eczema
Pregnant women are advised not to take any treatment. This is because; it may actually end up exposing their unborn babies to allergies which could actually have been prevented if the mothers did not carry on with the medication to get rid of the worms. Studies have also shown that eczema which is a common skin disease did not exist among children whose mothers did not take any medication for de worming during their pregnancy.
How do I check and diagnose for thread worm?
In the diagnosis for thread worm, the tape test is often used. Take a piece of an invisible tape and stick its adhesive side directly into your anus.This should be in different spots and it should be the first thing when you wake in the morning. Do it before you use the toilet and when you wash. Place the tape onto a glass slide. Try and do this for 3 days before you take the tape to your doctor who will use a microscope to look for the eggs. At times, you may see the thin white threads on the tape which will show that there is a thread worm infection. You may also take close monitoring of your toilet bowl where you will see thin white cotton threadlike rods moving.
Washing clothes and bedding, disinfecting your toilet seat, cutting and keeping finger nails short and clean, vacuuming carpets and resisting from scratching your bottom are the alternate ways of treating thread worms.
What is the treatment for thread worms during pregnancy and breastfeeding?
Treatment for worms during pregnancy
You should not take medicines that kill worms during pregnancy more so during the first trimester. (This is the period of the first 3 months of pregnancy).Hygiene measures alone will work. No new worms will grow if you do not swallow any eggs. The dying of these worms takes place after 6 weeks. Practice of proper and good hygiene even after the 6 weeks should help you to break the cycle of re infection and hence keep your intestines free from thread worms.
The other common medication other than mabendazole that can be used to treat worms is the pyrantel.Mabendazole is often opted for as it does not show increase in adverse effects to the mother or unborn baby in cases of humans. Not much talks about the pyrantel in humans, although the signs of increased risk of birth defects do not show in animals. Most of the medicine is eliminated through fecal stool for both medications because they are poorly absorbed. An oral one dose treatment may be taken followed by a two dose one two weeks later if the symptoms persist. Thread worm is taken to be highly contagious; therefore the whole family should be treated even in the absence of symptoms. To help relieve the itching around the anus, you may use a zinc cream or mild antiseptic cream around the bottom at night and in the morning.
Treatment for worms while breast feeding
You will not be able o detect the mabendazole drug in breast milk. Evaluation for pyrantel has not been evaluated during breastfeeding. The drugs can be taken during breastfeeding as they have few side effects and poor oral absorption, thus unlikely to cause harm to the baby. Only give medication to the baby under the direction of a doctor.