A whipworm infection is brought about by the Trichuris trichiura parasite which affects the large intestine.
An infection can arise after ingesting water or dirt contaminated by feces that contains the whipworm parasites. If directly exposed to the contaminated feces, the individual might also acquire the infection.
The infection is likely to affect children. It is also common among those who live in area with hot, humid climates as well as areas with poor sanitation and hygiene.
What are the signs?
A whipworm infection can trigger a variety of symptoms ranging from minor to severe.
Some of these indications might include:
- Blood-streaked diarrhea
- Abdominal pain
- Frequent or painful defecation
- Abrupt and unexplained weight loss
- Incontinence or inability to control defecation
Management of a whipworm infection
The commonly used and effective approach in managing a whipworm infection involves antiparasitic medications such as mebendazole and albendazole. These drugs work by eliminating any whipworms and its eggs in the body.
The medication must be taken for 1-3 days. Luckily, its side effects are minimal. Once the symptoms settle, the doctor might perform another stool exam to ensure that the infection has been cleared.
What is the outlook?
In most cases, the treatment for whipworm infection can ensure full recovery. If left untreated, the infection can become severe and result to the development of complications such as:
- Infections in the appendix and colon
- Delayed growth or cognitive development
- Rectal prolapse where a section of the large intestine protrudes from the anus