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How do you identify human intestinal worms?

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Quick Answer

To diagnose pinworms, a doctor takes a health history, checks the skin around the anus, and may ask the patient to perform a transparent tape test at home, according to WebMD. Imaging exams, stool tests and blood tests are used to diagnose tapeworm infections, states Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

An individual presses a piece of clear, sticky tape on the skin around the anus in the morning before arising, explains WebMD. The tape is then viewed under a microscope to look for pinworm eggs. The test may be repeated. Symptoms do not always occur, but when present, they include itching around the anus and restless sleep because the itching is worse at night. Sometimes a skin infection develops from the scratching.

A laboratory uses microscopic identification techniques to check for eggs or tapeworm segments in a stool specimen, explains Mayo Clinic. Two or three samples may need to be collected over time because the worm segments and eggs are passed irregularly. Blood may be tested to look for antibodies produced in reaction to tissue-invasive tapeworm infestations. Imaging exams, such as CT or MRI scans or X-rays, may be used to diagnose invasive tapeworm infections.

Some patients do not need treatment, but if needed, medications are available that target the adult worms, states Mayo Clinic.

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