Helminths, or intestinal worms, are among one of the types of intestinal parasites.1 Helminths are multicellular organisms that include intestinal worms like flukes, roundworms, pinworms, and tapeworms.1,2 In their adult stage, helminths are usually visible to the naked eye, and they can’t multiply within the human body.3
What Causes Intestinal Worms (Helminths)?
Intestinal parasites are usually contracted by coming into contact with infected feces. This can occur through food, water, or the soil. The parasite itself or its eggs can enter your body and feed off your body’s nutrients.4 Your risk of contracting intestinal parasites increases if you live in or visit an area known to have parasites or if you experience poor hygiene or sanitation for your food and water.1
Symptoms and complications are usually worse in individuals who have a weakened immune system, HIV, or AIDS. Your age can also affect your risk as children and the elderly are more likely to contract intestinal parasites.1
Intestinal Worms (Helminths) Symptoms
It’s possible to have parasites in your body for years without ever knowing it. For example, tapeworms can live in your intestines for up to 30 years.5 You may not experience intestinal worms symptoms at all, but when you do, helminths symptoms include:1
You may also pass worms in your stool. Keep in mind that symptoms can vary depending on the type of helminths you’ve contracted and where they are in your system. For example, tapeworm larvae can migrate out of your digestive tract and lead to cysts that cause organ damage and neurological symptoms like seizures.6
Intestinal worm symptoms may be worse for pregnant women, and certain drugs or helminths herbs may be dangerous to take.1 Talk to your doctor before attempting to self-medicate if you are pregnant or may become pregnant.
Diagnosis of intestinal worms is made through a variety of tests, including fecal testing.1 Your doctor may prescribe drug therapies to help kill and pass the worms from your digestive tract. Alternatively, helminths herbal remedies such as garlic can help kill the parasites while others like vitamin C can support the immune system. Taking probiotics can help improve digestive tract health as you work to rid your body of intestinal parasites.1
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Garlic has natural anti-parasitic health benefits that can help kill intestinal worms. Eat 3 cloves of raw garlic daily on an empty stomach for one week. Or boil two crushed garlic cloves in a 1/2 cup of milk and drink on an empty stomach.
Coconut oil has natural anti-parasitic health benefits that can help kill intestinal worms. Eat 4-6 tablespoons of extra virgin coconut oil daily until intestinal worms have been expelled.