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What are common symptoms of pinworms in children?

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Quick Answer

Common symptoms of pinworms in children include poor sleep, intermittent abdominal pain, itching of the vaginal area, itching of the anus and irritability, according to Mayo Clinic. Most often, however, pinworm infections cause no symptoms.

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Full Answer

Pinworms are a type of parasitic worm that infect the intestines, explains Mayo Clinic. They most commonly occur in children old enough to attend school, and they spread very easily between children. They lay their microscopic eggs in the folds of skin around the anus while a child is sleeping and stick to the child's fingers when he scratches the area. These eggs can then be transferred directly to other children or to food, liquids, toys or other objects, where they can survive between two and three weeks. The eggs must be swallowed for infection to occur.

Pinworm infections do not cause any serious complications most of the time, states Mayo Clinic. Heavy infestations can cause problems in girls if any of the worms travel up the female reproductive tract. This can cause an infection of the genitals and inflammation of the uterus and vagina. Medications to treat pinworm infections include both prescription and nonprescription drugs. These medications can cause minor digestive difficulties as a side effect, and generally, the whole family must take the medications for them to be effective.

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