Roundworm or Ascaris lumbricoides, is a cause of intestinal worms that often occur in developing countries with tropical climates and conditions of environmental hygiene that have not been good. Roundworms live in the intestines of humans as parasites, by stealing nutrients in food and then breed here.
Roundworms or also called nematodes are worms with a round and long body shape. The length of roundworms can vary from a few millimeters to two meters. Researchers estimate there are around 500,000 species of roundworms. Of these, it is known that only about 60 species can infect humans and animals as parasites. Roundworms usually live in the human intestine. However, some roundworm species can move from the intestine to various other body organs, such as the lungs and respiratory tract.
Ascariasis, trichuriasis, hookworm, enterobiasis, strongilloidiasis, filariasis, and trichinosis are types of worm-related diseases that often infect humans or animals. These worms not only infect, but also use the human or animal body as a breeding ground.
The Growth Process Of Roundworms In The Body
Ascaris lumbricoides type roundworms grow and multiply in the human body, through repeated life processes or forming cycles.
Within a day, female roundworms can lay eggs up to 200,000 eggs. Initially, worm eggs swallowed by humans will hatch in the intestine to form larvae. Worm larvae then penetrate the intestinal wall and are carried by blood flow to the lungs. The larvae live in this organ until they become adult worms. Then the roundworm moves down the throat. Roundworms in the throat can be carried by coughing or swallowing again.
Swallowed worms will return to the intestine to mate and lay more eggs. And so on form a cycle, and the number will be more and more in the intestine. Roundworm eggs hatch into larvae and then into the lungs, but some also come out through feces.
Ascariasis, Worm Disease
Often ascariasis does not cause symptoms early in the infection. But when the growth of roundworms in the body more and more, there are some symptoms that can arise.
Roundworms that infect the intestine can cause symptoms:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bowel obstruction that causes severe pain and vomiting
- Discomfort or pain in the stomach
- The presence of worms in the stool
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Growth disturbance in children due to malnutrition
Ascariasis that is not treated properly can cause sufferers to experience all of these symptoms simultaneously.
In addition to infecting the intestines, roundworms can also infect the lungs and cause symptoms such as:
- Coughing or choking
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
- Bleeding cough
- Discomfort or pain in the chest.
Although most cases of ascariasis are not dangerous, but need to be aware of complications that can occur due to the spread of roundworms to other organs, due to the increasing numbers. Possible complications that can occur include:
- Problems in the digestive tract, such as intestinal obstruction causing severe pain in the stomach and vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding, peritonitis, and inflammation of the bile ducts. This condition is considered as a medical emergency that needs to be treated immediately by a doctor.
- Aspiration pneumonia (rare).
- Blockage of small ducts to the liver or pancreas.
- In children, roundworm infections can cause complications in the form of growth and development disorders, due to lack of nutrition due to loss of appetite and poor absorption of nutrients.
How Do These Worms Get Into The Body?
Maybe you are wondering about how worms enter the body. The body is infected with roundworms due to swallowed egg worms. Worm eggs are found in soil that has been exposed to human waste. Patient’s poop containing roundworm eggs can contaminate food which is then consumed by others.
Given the way roundworm infections go through food, it is highly recommended to make sure the food you consume is clean and cooked. Also make it a habit to always wash your hands before touching food and after leaving the bathroom. Do not forget to routinely consume worm medicine every year to prevent helminthiasis. You can get de-worming from the nearest health facility.