Signs you might not have threadworms

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I thought I had threadworms 3 times, and I spent several months of my life going crazy trying to get rid of them. It turns out I was actually making the problem worse, and I'm so glad I found out the real cause, because otherwise I could have carried on that way forever. Here are some things I learned that I think are worth sharing, so hopefully other people don't go through the same thing I did.

Signs you might not have threadworms:

1) You feel them crawling during the day and not just at night.

2) Other people in your family don't catch them or don't feel them.

3) You have repeatedly taken the medication and been through the hygiene measures and it seems to have little or no effect.

4) You have not actually seen a definitive living threadworm, and you have tried doing tape tests, for example even right after you feel them crawling.

In my case, the cause of the crawling feeling was actually overwashing. I expect this is common problem in association with threadworms. See, I did originally have a threadworm infection (a year and a half earlier), and that made me become obsessive about washing my bottom. After reading the horror stories here, I wanted to make sure I completely got rid of them. I would spend at least a couple of minutes just washing around my anus to make sure no threadworm eggs got left behind. It turns out that washing so thoroughly, with soap, makes the skin in this area super-sensitive, and it starts tickling occasionally for no reason. And that tickling feels EXACTLY like threadworms. I swear it is indistinguishable.

A conversation I had with my mum, when I still thought I had threadworms and she suggested that it might just an itch. I responded with: "It's not an itch, I can feel it crawling out and across my skin. I KNOW what threadworms feel like. I first found out I had them BECAUSE I could feel them, it was only afterwards that I saw one. I've never had that feeling before then, ever in my life. So I know this is them again, because there's nothing else that would cause a sensation like that."

Turns out I was wrong! It honestly can feel like they are crawling 'out and across your skin' even when they are not.

Other thoughts:

* All the scientific studies say that threadworms come out only at night, e.g. after 9 pm. I believe this is correct.

* A few people have asked how quickly mebendazole works, and how effective it is. I don't know for definite, but I personally believe it kills worms quickly (within 5 days), and is probably close to 100% effective. This is because my own feelings of having worms changed from nighttime-only to daytime within a few days, and so I think it is quite common for the over-sensitive skin thing to kick in quickly once you start washing to get rid of the threadworms.

What I would do if I ever thought I had threadworms again:

1) take the mebendazole once a week for a few weeks (6 at maximum)

2) make sure I don't wash too thoroughly after the first few weeks, and get an emollient-based soap-substitute (available from a pharmacist, usually used for eczema).

3) go and see a doctor if it didn't go away.

My problem went away within a couple of days after I stopped over-washing.

I hope this helps other people, and if it does, please, PLEASE come back and post to say so. Or if it doesn't work, or you disagree with me, or you don't believe me, you're welcome to post that too. I feel like this forum has become over-run with scare stories and unhelpful advice, and nobody seems aware of other possible causes for threadworm-like symptoms.

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  • Posted

    Well, to start, my pinworms didn't activate after 9:00, but at 6:00ish. It was dark but the itch went from zero to sixty instantly. Second, according to Stanford university, one third of people are asymptomatic which begs the question: if people are asymptomatic, would they come forward? So in fact, there may be more than one third that are asymptomatic whose family members have it or single dwellings for example, that have them and do not know it.We just don't know. That fact alone destroys the argument of members of family not having pinworms as one wouldn't know if they had them, if they were in fact, asymptomatic. I treated once within 30-60 minutes of using the meds and because I caught it so early, I didn't treat my child. I didn't re-treat cuz it said I "may have to" and did no additional cleaning. Needless to say, it wasn't my anus that represented issues the second round, it was my vaginal area and urethra and bladder. I was treated for yeast for 30 days straight, Flagyl for 10 days, and macrobid (bladder infection) for a week. Nothing worked. It got so bad I had to quit work. I was suicidal. I've tried wormwood tea and Black walnut hill powder although not for long. Cloves as well. Went off of my PPI to increase stomach acid. Am now using flagystatin for yeast/bacteria at night and monistat in the morning. It helps so I can at least function more, although I still can't work. I use to sit on the couch and do nothing cuz it was so bad, crying almost all day. Needed an antidepressant for that, even though I wasn't depressed before that. I do agree that they don't like the light so its probably not worms on top of your skin. If there are unexplained bps, however, then it might be worth looking into.
  • Posted

    Okay I can understand the itchy crawly feeling on the outside being confused with worms when it's really irritation or bacteria, and I wish that this was the only issue, but I am doubtful.

    I can feel them crawl INSIDE my anus. And after I feel the crawling, it is followed by the itch. I wake up feeling itchy. Once I wash with hot water, the itching goes away. But when I feel the crawling during the day, then I start to feel itchy again. Or (sorry for tmi) if I fart, I get itchy, so I think the worms deposit eggs inside the rectum close to the opening and then poof they go!

    It is really possible that I could be mistaking this for bacteria?

    I've had this for 8 months. My mom and I are going through the same thing, obsessing over hygiene to the point that all I can think of as the culprit is retroinfection. sad

    • Posted

      I've given this lots of thought over some months. Legitimate sites say the eggs can float through the air and stick to anything. Maybe sheets aren't the only thing they float from. Maybe they travel via the furnace and vacuum with circulated air. Some people spray their furnace filters with a light coating of Pam (they do this anyway, not just for pinworms) and maybe that would help. Don't know.
    • Posted

      Have you tried not washing so much? If you have been obsessing over your hygiene for 8 months and have not seen any improvement then I really feel there is a good chance you are in the same boat I was. I realise you say the itching goes away when you wash, but that is quite often the case with oversensitized skin - I find the same thing when I have eczema. What is your indication that you still have threadworms?
    • Posted

      I agree that the eggs can spread easily, there is a lot of evidence of that and so it seems that threadworms are fairly easy to catch. However, there is also a lot of evidence that they are fairly easy to treat.

      My suggestion is that anyone upon first discovering a threadworm infection, should take the medication once per week, for 6 weeks. That will take care of any reinfection, since the eggs can only survive outside of the human body for 6 weeks.

      Aside from that, cleaning your house a normal amount seems a good idea, but I would warn against excessive personal hygiene measures, because these can produce the problem that I had, which is that it seems the threadworms never go away because your skin becomes oversensitive.

    • Posted

      My last post was deleted, not sure why. Here is our situation. I have never gotten them. My husband has had them for 4 months, he has done Rx, OTC, herbs, cleanses, diet changes, no sugar, no alcohol etc. everything. Nothing works. They have not abated for one day. He is refusing to go to a Parasitologist because at this point he thinks all doctors are clueless on this issue. Also, you have to be referred to a specialist or insurance will not cover it, and the wait time is around 1 month. He also has a very serious kidney disease, so DE is out of the question. We are just looking for any solutions that we may not have tried yet. Here are the things he cannot risk doing because of kidney failure: DE, Vermox, endless rounds of cleanses, any product used for de-worming animals. He takes a regiment of Wormwood, Green black walnut and garlic. Nothing helps. Thanks for any input.
    • Posted

      And I also wanted to add....they are definitely there, he feels them all day and sees them in his stool.
    • Posted

      I TOTALLY understand. And I don't know why it was deleted either. They aren't very specific with their reasons. I contacted support to ask them to be specific but have heard nothing back so far. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what else to tell you beyond what you have tried except what I have done. I do know that if your husband's kidney can tolerate DE and cleanses for even a week, he may see a substantial difference. I don't think it has to be long term, at least not for me. That being said, I also took one vermox daily as well as 8 pyramate (?) Daily for the same amount of time. I also used a combination of canestin and hydrocortisone on my anus, and inside as well to calm tingling. Plus, I put pureed garlic in those same areas. After about three days, I noticed a HUGE difference. But I continued until I seen NO dead worms at all. I also plan on taking that combo twice a week to keep retroinfection and reinfection at bay. I also am using PEG 3350 (ask pharmacist for over the counter brand) to keep things rolling along. Im an impatient sort so i overdid all of these things in order to stomp on, not chase those critters. The other thing I thought of was perhaps a kidney tea to help from that end of things so that these items might be tolerated by his kidney better. I have NOOOO idea if they work, but I'll be doing a liver cleanse after this, for sure. I only did DE once a day.
    • Posted

      Once I take mebendazole, the worms become very active for about a week. It never fails. The itching and wriggling gets worse as they are trying to survive. I haven't taken mebendazole now for a few weeks and I feel better. Your post has made me aware of the possibility of irritation, and now I think I can distinguish between a normal irritation itch and the worms, and all I've had is minor irritation lately. So maybe the pills were working against me somehow? Or maybe I'll have a bad out break in a few weeks...I'm going to take another pill in a couple of weeks as a precaution.

      But also, I haven't been touching any surfaces that my mom has touched (even my cats) without washing my hands after. I open and close doors with the inside surface of my shirts/jackets. So maybe this is what's helping me. Also taking into consideration the possibility of retroinfection, I have been putting several layers of gauze tape over my anus at night so that the eggs cannot get oxygen and mature before I shower in the morning. I think I've beat it, and I have not changed my hygiene habits.

    • Posted

      Oh, and I've also cut sugar out. Other than natural sugar in milk and the few alcoholic drinks I've had once a week, I'm really not consuming any sugar.
    • Posted

      I never thought of gauze. What a good idea. With the PEG 3350 and the DE, Ive noticed waaaay less deadworms, no white worms, and no white dots.we also always wipe the toilet seat after every use, and if you think others may not be, you may want to wipe beforehand as well. I also carry wipes wherever I go so that can wipe after I'm done to be respectful of others. It sounds like you are doing lots right. Maybe try adding gauze during the day as well as they MIGHTlike the dark hours during the day as well. Just a thought.
  • Edited

    Bumping this two years on to confirm that I'm still clear of threadworms.

    And because I'm sad to see that this forum is still full of horror stories of people who think they have had threadworms for years and years - although many of these stories seem to share the same symptoms that I had which indicate it is not actually threadworms:

    * other people in their family don't have them

    * they haven't actually seen any threadworms in a long time

    * the symptoms get better if they use moisturiser on their anus.

    If you have find you have threadworms, then please do take a course of mebendazole medication, and do go through the steps of washing your bedding etc. But don't get trapped in the cycle where you are constantly washing yourself over thoroughly, as this is what causes your skin to start feeling forever like you still have threadworms.

    • Posted

      I may agree with the over bathing causing skin to itch more.

      But I want to ask what over the counter medicine, prescription medicine, natural remedies, and topical things you used when you first had PinWorms.

      My daughter got Pinworms in the beginning of January. She had bad bottom itching for a few days(which I thought she just needed to wipe better so I just used ointment), then trouble sleeping and irritability, then the 3 night we saw the critters on her behind, collected some in tape and took them to Pediatrician.  We did as Pediatrician recommended washed down house, bedding, and vacuumed and the whole family symptoms or not Pediatrician said.  took 1 dose of Reese’s PinWorm Treatment then the 2nd dose 2 weeks later.  No one else in the family had them.

      About 3 weeks went by then I started to have symptoms and found them when I wiped.  We were all so careful I  wore gloves when I helped her wipe and when we all cleaned house and washed hands well before eating and cooking .  So I am a believer they are air borne, because I think that is how I got them.  

      As a family we just took another dose of Resses Pinworm treatment a week ago Saturday and will do the 2nd again on Saturday.   And before This when I got them I thought the Reese’s didn’t work. So I had the whole family takeDiatamaceous Earth, Para Free, and made a paste for our bottoms of Garlic, vasaline,neem oil.   And someone even recommended Noxema on bottoms and we tried that also and menthol nose spray.  A week or less my husband and I were having the little critters, then we stopped seeing them when we wiped but our nose and bottoms were itching and we started to see these white flakes every where. In the potty, on toilet seat, our clothes, bedding and have been itching.  So back to the Pediatrician and told to take Emverm but even with insurance it is over $700 each person(prescription) in the family.  This is why we are on second round of Resses.   Now the rest of the family is responding well to the 2nd round. Buy for me I am so miserable, itching my bottom and nose, not sleeping, and still some worms in potty, and have had one come out of my nose. And white flakes some  thin small, and some very small curled up come out of my nose, and in my bed and underpants in the morning.

      WHAT !!!!!!are the white flakes?

      ARE they ALIVE??? Or DEAD???

      I read in another search they are hatchlings and can crawl all over the body and are also airborne. That is how they are in the nose.

      Sorry so long winded.  I am going INSANE!!!!! And NEED Help.

      And since the rest of the family isn’t really feeling it they think I am crazy and so does other family members that do not live with us.  They are all so tired of hearing me talk about Pinworms.

      Any advice would be appreciated!!!!

    • Posted

      Reese's (pyrantel pamoate) works for some (my daughter), but it did not work for me. I even took it every 12 hours for several days in a row with no relief and would see the worms when I wiped. If you want to try Emverm (mebendazole), look for a compounding pharmacy in your area and have your doctor send the prescription there. They can custom make it for you much cheaper so long as the dosage is not exactly the same as what's normally available. I got two 110mg pills for $35 vs the $700 Walgreens was going to charge me even with coupons and insurance. It seemed to help the first day but not as much in the days that followed so 3 days after I was so desperate I started taking DE. I feel some improvement (haven't seen worms or worm-like things anymore when I wipe but still see very very small splinter looking debris once in a while when I wipe) but not sure if mebendazole is the reason or the DE. Wondering if my current itchiness is now just the over washing. My second mebendazole dose will be next week.

    • Posted

      Hi! Did you ever get rid of them! I had to buy Emverm from Australia for my family of 5. We are taking it weekly at this point. My husband has them

      In his nose and I swear I fished one out of my nose. These things are SO nasty. I just want them

      Gone. Going on 3/4w for us. Bleh. 

    • Posted

      I think they're gone...I'm always super paranoid after having had them for months. I took mebendazole for three days and didn't think it was working so I got a prescription of Albendazole through urgent care and my copay was $75 for 2 doses (400mg first dose then repeated after 2 weeks, make sure to chew the tablets really well and take with 40g of fat). Since taking Albendazole, I think they are gone. It took a few weeks for that itching sensation to go away because I had washed my skin raw (showered at least 2 times or more a day) and didn't realize it until I noticed big pieces of skin peeling off which at first I thought were those things but instead were pieces of my skin rolling off after wiping. 

      Not sure what dosage of mebendazole you're using, but one article (search "Enterobius vermicularis in a 14-Year-Old Girl's Eye"wink they had to use a higher daily dose than usually prescribed of mebendazole for three consecutive days. Other articles I read seem to say that a single dose of Albendazole is more effective than a single dose of mebendazole. If you search "Science Direct Mebendazole" and look at the articles for enterobiasis aka enterobius vermicularis, they mention a higher dose of Menbendazole for consecutive days vs. a single dose.


    • Posted

      Thank you so much for responding! This whole thing has me so paranoid. It’s bad enough my 5 year old gave it to me & my husband-she also gave it to my 2 year old & 9 mos old. Our Peditrician had to get an infectious disease dr involved to give a dose for the baby. This has been a nightmare. I’d never even heard of pinworms a month ago. I suspect she picked it up at Disney World based on timeline. Anyway, I read the eye article. Bleh! That is the dosage me & my husband are doing. I’m actually doing overkill & doing 2x a day for 5 days. We also each took a dose of Albendazole which helped, but didn’t completely eradicate it. My kids just took the second Mebendazole dose. How long will we continue to see dead worms in the stool? I’ve read 2 weeks and even up to a month. I inspect everyone’s bottoms nightly and no live ones, but I’m ready to not see them when I change diapers. I also think me & my husband are cleaning so well that we have residual itching too! I do know that I’m dosing everyone every 1-2 w for next 2 mos. I want these things gone. Thank goodness I ordered a lot of medication. 

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