Common health issue

Threadworm: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment.


Threadworms are also known as pinworms. It is a tiny parasitic worm that infects the large intestine of humans. It is a common worm infection that affects children, particularly those under 10. It is a small, thin, white, thread-like worm whose size is about 2 mm and 13 mm long. You may notice them around your child’s bottom. They don’t always cause symptoms, but people often experience itchiness around their bottom or even in the vagina. It can be worse at night, and it may also disturb sleep patterns.

Causes Of Threadworm

Threadworm infection is passed from one person to another by swallowing the threadworm’s eggs. The female threadworm causes itchy at the bottom as it releases mucus. A female threadworm will likely lay thousands of tiny eggs around the anus. Scratching the anus or vagina or wiping them after going to the toilet can cause the eggs to stick under your fingernails or to your fingertips. If you do not wash your hand correctly, the eggs can be transferred into your mouth or onto food or objects such as toys and kitchen utensils. If someone else touches a contaminated object or even eats a portion of contaminated food and then touches their mouth, they will become infected.

After the person has swallowed the egg, they pass into a person’s intestine, where they hatch. After two weeks, the threadworms have grown into adults at which they will reproduce, and the cycle of infection that occurs by the threadworm will start again.

Symptoms Of Threadworm

Threadworms often go unnoticed by those who are affected by them threadworm. Most people experience sleep disturbance. Including this, most people experience itching, which is a common symptom. However, they can cause intense itching around the anus, particularly in the girls’ vagina, usually at night when the female worms are laying eggs.  Sometimes, you may spot threadworms on your clothes or bed sheets at night or even notice them in your stool. The worms look like a thread of white cotton about 1 centimeter long.

Threadworm treatments

All household members, including adults and those without symptoms, should be treated as threadworm infections do not have any symptoms. However, they will still pass out eggs; therefore, there is a high chance of infecting other people. If one member of the house is infected, then the possibility of getting infected by another member is also common. So, everyone needs treatments to get rid of threadworm.

The standard treatments are:

  • Take a threadworm medicine to kill the worms in your gut.
  • Hygiene measures to clear all the eggs around your anus or home.

First, as a one-off, aim to clear all the eggs from where they may be in your home or anus. This means

  • Wash sleepwear, bed linen, towels, and other toys. This can be done at average temperatures as long as the washing is well rinsed.
  • Vacuum and damp-dust your home regularly. Throw out the cloth after use and pay particular attention to the bedrooms, including vacuuming mattresses and where children mostly play.
  • Thoroughly clean the bathroom by damping surfaces and wash the cloth frequently in hot water.
  • Avoid shaking any materials that may be contaminated with eggs, such as bedsheets which prevent the egg from transferring to other surfaces.
  • Do not eat food in the bedroom, as you may end up swallowing the eggs that have been shaken off the bedclothes.
  • Keep your fingernail short and also encourage another member to do so.
  • Do not bite your nails and suck your fingers.
  • Wash your hand frequently and scrub under your fingernails, as it is essential to do this before eating and after going to the toilet.
  • Wear close-fitting underwear at night and also change your underwear every morning.
  • Keep toothbrushes in a closed cupboard and rinse them thoroughly before you use them.


Mebendazole/ Albendazole is the primary medication used to treat threadworm infections. It can be bought over the counter from your local pharmacy or prescribed by your GP. These drugs are available in tablet form or a liquid.

It works by preventing the threadworms from absorbing sugar, which means they should die within a few days. This drug is 90 to 100% effective at killing threadworm. However, it does not kill the eggs. Because of this, it is essential to maintain your hygiene.