• Pinworm



    Pinworms are very common parasites that live in the intestine.
    The Intestine
    The Intestines
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
    Pinworms are most active at night, 2 to 3 hours after bedtime. The female worm comes out through the anus, and deposits eggs in the perineal area. The perineal area is between the thighs and runs from the anus to the genitals.
    Pinworms are visible to the naked eye. They are about the size of a staple, yellow-white in color, and look like a fine piece of thread, which moves actively.


    A small white worm called Enterobius vermicularis causes pinworm infection. A separate species also causing infection ( E gregorii ) has been reported in England.
    Pinworms are spread by accidentally eating the eggs of the worm that can be found on infected clothing, bedding, toys, or in the stool of an infected person (eg, diapers).

    Risk Factors

    A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. Risk factors include:
    • Age: 5 to 14 years old
    • Contact with an infected person (usually a child or family member of infected child)
    • Contact with contaminated clothing, bedding, or object
    • Regular exposure to schools, daycare centers, and other places where pinworms may be present


    Symptoms may include:
    • Itchy perineal area, worse at night
    • Disturbed sleep
    • Irritability
    Symptoms may be worse at night. While the itching caused by pinworms can be very disturbing, pinworms do not otherwise cause serious medical illness. Many people infected with pinworms have no symptoms.


    When present, pinworms can frequently be seen in stool or on the skin around the anus. If pinworm infestation is suspected but no worms are seen, then the “tape test” is often employed.
    To detect the presence of pinworms: Place a piece of clear adhesive tape over the anus, press, and remove. Repeat 2 to 3 times with new tape. Bring adhesive tape samples to the doctor, who will examine it for pinworms. Some laboratories supply special tape or “pinworm paddles” to use for this test.
    The best time to do this test is 2 to 3 hours after bedtime, or before bathing in the early morning.


    If treatment is needed, pinworm infections are most commonly treated with prescription medications such as Albenza (albendazole) or Vermox (mebendazole), though pyrantel pamoate may also be used. Pyrantel pamoate is available over-the-counter under several names such as Pin-X, and PinRid. These agents should be avoided if you are or may become pregnant. Consult with your physician concerning therapy if you are or may become pregnant.
    You should consult with your doctor to determine the most appropriate treatment. Medication is generally given in two or more doses, each separated by two weeks. To avoid reinfection, all members of the family should usually be treated.

    After Treatment:

    • Change underwear, nightclothes, and sheets after each treatment.
    • Wash all bedding every 3 to 7 days for three weeks.
    • Wash underwear and pajamas daily for two weeks.
    • Wash all clothing and toys to destroy remaining eggs.


    To prevent pinworm infection:
    • Always wash hands thoroughly after using the toilet, changing diapers, and before eating.
    • Change and wash underwear daily.
    • Bathe shortly after waking up to reduce egg contamination.
    • Discourage nail biting and scratching anal areas.


    American Academy of Family Pediatrics http://www.aap.org/

    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases http://www.niaid.nih.gov/


    Canadian Family Physician http://www.cfpc.ca/

    Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index%5Fe.html/


    Enterobiasis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated June 2009. Accessed July 21, 2009.

    Pinworm infection. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/pinworm/default.htm . Updated September 2008. Accessed July 21, 2009.

    Tierny LM. Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment . 45th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2006.

    Revision Information

  • LiveWell personal health survey

    How healthy are you really? Find out – free.Learn more

    Maybe it's time to stop guessing. If you've been wanting to make some changes but just aren't sure how, the free personal health survey from LiveWell is a great place to start.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.

  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.