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Ascariasis – causes, side effects and treatments at

Friday, January 05, 2018 by

Ascariasis is an infection that is caused by the parasitic roundworm Ascaris lumbricoides, and is often seen in children living in tropical and developing countries, where they become prevalent due to soil contamination by human feces or the use of untreated human feces as fertilizer. It is common in the southern mountain region of the U.S. and spreads through vegetables grown on contaminated soil.

Ascariasis is known as the most common helminthic infection, and its worldwide prevalence is estimated to be 25 percent or about 0.8-1.22 billion people. It is also considered to be asymptomatic, and Ascaris infection in affected individuals may go unnoticed until a worm gets passed in the stool.

But there are possible colic and other abdominal symptoms, and sometimes the worms can be vomited out during their passage through a person’s esophagus. So-called “wandering worms” may also emerge in children through the skin near the navel, while in adults, it happens near the groin.

Infected children are usually thin due to the worms consuming vital nutrients and inhibiting the digestion of important proteins.

Known side effects

Because it is asymptomatic, ascariasis often shown no symptoms. But if there are symptoms, they may include fever, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort or pain, irregular stools or diarrhea.

While the most common symptoms are usually found in those who have infectious roundworms in their intestines, those who have roundworms in their lungs exhibit a different set of symptoms, which include chest discomfort, coughing or gagging, wheezing or shortness of breath, aspiration pneumonia, and blood in mucus.

Body systems harmed by ascariasis

Ascariasis mainly affects the intestines as well as the lungs. In some cases, wandering worms may also end up causing problems in other areas such as the mouth, nose, and skin.

There are also cases where adult roundworms have been found to occasionally block the opening into the appendix, pancreatic duct, or biliary ducts. This then ends up producing severe abdominal pain.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent ascariasis

There are a few home remedies for ascariasis. Certain types of food can make the human body less hospitable to parasitic creatures such as the worm that causes this infection. Some of these foods are:

  • Garlic — Garlic is a potent herb for medicinal benefits, and can be useful in flushing out parasites such as roundworms.
  • Fruits and veggies — There are a number of fruits and vegetables like tomatoes and oranges that contain important nutrients.
  • Pumpkin seeds — Pumpkin seeds are known to have a natural anthelintic effect on the human digestive system, which helps the body flush out intestinal parasites.
  • Papaya seeds — Papaya seeds are great for getting rid of intestinal parasites, thanks to their distinct, slightly peppery flavor.
  • Wormwood — A common decorative plant that is widely known as an ingredient in absinthe, wormwood is a notable fighter of roundworms, pinworms, and other worm-type parasites.
    Onion — Onion juice is quite effective for intestinal worms, as it acts as an anti-parasitic

Treatments, management plans for ascariasis

Treatment of ascariasis can be done with one of the following (dosage is the same for both adults and children)

  • Albendazole
  • Mebendazole
  • Ivermectin

Where to learn more


Ascariasis is an infection caused by a parasitic roundworm that is prevalent in children and adults living in tropical and developing countries. It is caused by soil contamination and spreads through vegetables grown on contaminated soil.

Ascariasis is asymptomatic but can sometimes show symptoms, such as fever, stomach pain, and the passing of worms in the stool.

Ascariasis may be treated with the use of albendazole, mebendazole, or ivermectin.

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