The most common types of parasites and worms that can infest the intestines of humans include tapeworms, pinworms, hookworms, flatworms, and roundworms. Such intestinal parasites are transmitted from person to person through contact with infected feces. This could occur either from food, water or soil that is contaminated. Poor hygiene and living conditions, international travel, and a weakened immune system can increase your chances of such infections. Many parasites can live within the body for years before any symptoms develop. When they do develop, symptoms include stomach pain, bloating, gas, constipation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and itchiness around the anal area, tenderness of the stomach, constant fatigue, and weight loss. While intestinal worms can be successfully treated with medication and the proper hygienic measures, an infestation during pregnancy is a serious condition and requires immediate medical attention.
Worms in pregnancy are a common occurrence due to a pregnant woman’s lowered immunity but the challenge arises in treating the condition, as medications generally used to get rid of worms are not considered safe during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Intestinal parasites also deprive the mother and child of vital nutrients and can cause debilitating symptoms such as constant fatigue, nausea and diarrhea. Though there is no proof that threadworms actually affect the baby, it is important that effective steps be taken to treat the condition.
Treating Intestinal Worms During Pregnancy
When pregnant treatment can take longer than normal, so if you suspect you have worms during your pregnancy it is important to inform your doctor at the earliest to prevent any further complications. Apart from medications, there are a number of home remedies to treat intestinal worms. However, not all of these natural and herbal treatments are considered safe when you are pregnant or breastfeeding so always consult with your doctor before beginning any new treatment. Some tried and tested remedies that are safe during pregnancy include:
- Garlic: Chew on a small piece of raw garlic before and after a meal. During pregnancy, a quarter of a clove at a time is more than enough to help get rid of intestinal worms slowly but surely.
- Carrots are an unusual but effective remedy for worms. Drink a glass of fresh carrot juice daily for best results.
- Pumpkin seeds contain compounds that are effective in killing worms in the body. Simply have a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds daily for two weeks to get rid of worms.
- Pomegranate: Make your own special blend of pomegranate juice using the fruit, stem, bark and roots of the plant. The antioxidants in pomegranates help boost immunity and fight off any infection.
- Apple cider vinegar and raw papaya juice: Blend together equal quantities of raw papaya juice and apple cider vinegar with water and drink this concoction to kill off intestinal worms. Drink plenty of water to flush the infection out of your system.
- Fiber: Eat more fiber to improve regular bowel movements and treat constipation.
- Include probiotics in your diet to keep your digestive system healthy.
Worms while breastfeeding
Just like pregnancy, suffering from worms while breastfeeding can be a huge concern. Some of the home remedies that can be used by pregnant women are also fairly safe for use by women who are breastfeeding. However, it is important to consult a doctor for various treatment options, which can help speed up the elimination process.
Apart from these remedies, it is equally important to ensure the highest level of hygiene and sanitation to prevent an infection from recurring. You should:
- Wash your hands thoroughly especially after using the toilet, cooking and gardening.
- Do not bite your nails.
- Avoid sharing linen and towels to prevent transmitting the infestation.
- Clean thoroughly around the anal area and try to desist from scratching.
- Bed linen should be changed every few days and washed in hot water.
- Keep your house clean especially your kitchen and bathrooms.
- Rinse your toothbrush well before and after using it.
Most doctors recommend only hygiene measures and home remedies to treat worms during the first trimester of pregnancy and while breastfeeding. In severe cases, medication may be possible during the third trimester but only under medical supervision.