Ayurvedic treatment for Intestinal worms

Intestinal worms

Know More on Gastro Intestinal diseases

  • Definition
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Management
  • FAQS
  • References

Definition

Intestinal worms Ayurvedic treatment

Intestinal worms are small organisms called ‘helminths’. They are present in contaminated soil, vegetables, water and can reach human intestine when proper cleanliness/sanitation (e.g. not washing hand, not washing vegetables, playing in contaminated soil) is not maintained. These worm eggs are present in infected person’s feces and during open defecation get transferred to soil and water. They require three weeks in the soil before they become infective.

Some of the main species of worms found infecting people are - the roundworm, whipworm and the hookworms.1 These worms derive their nourishment from the  tissues/blood of the person they infect. Due to this, the infected person becomes weak and depending on the worm, the person may become anemic.

According to Ayurveda, krimi in a broader sense means all worms and microbes. Description of krimi is found since vedic period. ‘Krimi’ may be classified based on their source in the body into intestinal (antraj), Feces (purishaj), etc.3

Causes

Intestinal worms

The following factors raise your risk for getting intestinal parasites:

  • Living in or visiting an area with poor sanitation/cleanliness
  • International travel to countries that have high prevalence of such infections
  • Poor sanitary conditions (impure food and water)
  • Poor hygiene
  • Age -- children and the elderly are more likely to get infected
  • Exposure to infected person
  • Having a weakened immune system

In Ayurveda, importantly three kinds of worm infestations are mentioned.3

  1. a) Kaphaja krimi - The worms are present in the stomach; on aggravation, they move to other sites as well. Such worms are flat, tiny and round. Some of the worms appear like the sprouted grains, thin in shape and invisible to the eye with a white or copper colored body.

Patients can have symptoms like: vomiting, sour belching, indigestion, tastelessness, dizziness, fever, feeling fullness.

  1. b) Raktaja krimi - These originate due to impure blood (infectious). They are described as minute without legs, round and copper colored.
  2. c) Purishaja krimi - These are present in large intestine. They usually travel downwards. If their count is increased significantly, they move towards stomach also.

They are characterized by foul smell in sour belching and deep breathing. The worms are comparatively bigger, and found in dark but multi colors.

Symptoms

Intestinal worms

Intestinal worms are known to live in the intestines for years, without any signs or symptoms. When they do, symptoms include the following2:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Anorexia or wasting
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Watery stools (Dysentery)
  • Rash or itching around the rectum or genitals
  • Weight loss
  • Passing a worm in your stool

Diagnosis

Intestinal worms

Intestinal worms are generally diagnosed by history of worms in stools or by a laboratory test for stool.

Management

Intestinal worms

Management primarily includes change in diet and herbal medication prescription. Ayurveda advises to avoid factors causing krimi.3

Measures should be taken for proper removal of worms from the body. Later the medications that kill worms are prescribed. On complete recovery, care should be taken to restore the function of agni (digestive fire).3

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

  • Avoid diet rich in only carbohydrates i.e refined flour, packed fruit juices and all sugars
  • Increase intake of pomegranates, raw garlic, beets, pumpkin seeds and carrots, all of which have been used traditionally to kill parasites.
  • Eat more fibre, which may help get rid of worms.

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

  • Avoid holding natural urges especially that of urination and defecation.
  • Avoid defecating in open fields.
  • Follow cleanliness habits and good hygiene

FAQS

Intestinal worms
  1. What is GERD?

Acid reflux disease - also commonly known as Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is condition in which acid from the stomach regurgitates or moves up into the esophagus (gullet).

  1. How are fissures caused?

An anal fissure may occur when due to passing of hard or large stools during a bowel movement. Anal fissures typically cause pain and bleeding with bowel movements. One may experience spasms in the ring of muscle at the end of the anus (anal sphincter).

  1. Can a fissure heal completely?

With appropriate treatment and following of pathya apathya, a fissure can heal completely. Although care should be taken not to be constipated and have high amount of fiber in food.

  1. What is a kshar karma? How is it different from other surgery

Kshar karma is a specialized Ayurvedic surgical procedure that involves minimal blood loss and provides excellent relief in hemorrhoids and fistulas. It involves the applying of a sclerosing agent, such as apamarg kshar snuhi kshar etc.

It differs from conventional surgery as in it does not require anaesthesia, shows minimal blood loss and need not require inpatient admissions.

  1. What are the risk factors of developing bowel incontinence?

A number of factors can increase the risk of developing fecal incontinence. These include:

  • Age: It is more common in middle-aged and older adults.
  • Female gender: Fecal incontinence is slightly more common in women. One reason may be that fecal incontinence can be a complication of childbirth.
  • Nerve damage: People who have long-standing diabetes or multiple sclerosis — conditions that can damage nerves that help control defecation — may be at risk of fecal incontinence.
  • Dementia: Fecal incontinence is often present in late-stage Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
  • Physical disability: Being physically disabled may make it difficult to reach a toilet in time. An injury that caused a physical disability also may cause rectal nerve damage, leading to fecal incontinence. Also, inactivity can lead to constipation, resulting in fecal incontinence.
  1. What exercises can be done to have better control on the motions?

Certain asanas that help strengthen the pelvic floor (muscles around the anal opening) are recommended for better control over the anorectal area. These are -

Utkatasana                   Virabhadrasana                 Ananda Balasana             Shlabhasana

 

  1. Can celiac disease lead to anything serious?

Untreated, celiac disease can cause the following complications:

  • Malnutrition: The damage to your small intestine means it can't absorb enough nutrients. Malnutrition can lead to anemia and weight loss. In children, malnutrition can cause slow growth and short stature.
  • Calcium loss of calcium and low bone density: Malabsorption of calcium and vitamin D may lead to a softening of the bone (osteomalacia or rickets) in children and a loss of bone density (osteoporosis) in adults.
  • Infertility and miscarriage: Malabsorption of calcium and vitamin D can contribute to reproductive issues.
  • Lactose intolerance: Damage to your small intestine may cause you to experience abdominal pain and diarrhea after eating lactose-containing dairy products, even though they don't contain gluten. Once your intestine has healed, you may be able to tolerate dairy products again. However, some people continue to experience lactose intolerance despite successful management of celiac disease.
  • Cancer: People with celiac disease who don't maintain a gluten-free diet have a greater risk of developing several forms of cancer, including intestinal lymphoma and small bowel cancer.
  • Neurological problems: Some people with celiac disease may develop neurological problems such as seizures or peripheral neuropathy (disease of the nerves that lead to the hands and feet).

In children, celiac disease can also lead to failure to thrive, delayed puberty, weight loss, irritability and dental enamel defects, anemia, arthritis, and epilepsy.

8.Who gets affected by pancreatitis?

Acute pancreatitis is more common in middle-aged and elderly people, but it can affect people of any age. Men are more likely to develop alcohol-related pancreatitis, while women are more likely to develop it as a result of gallstones.

9.What are the common causes of developing ulcers in stomach?

Common causes of peptic ulcers include -

  • Long-term use of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • An infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)
  • Rare cancerous and/or noncancerous tumors in the stomach, duodenum, or pancreas

Addtionally, intake of alcohol and smoking also increase the chances of having a gastric ulcer.

10.What causes hemorrhoids?

Swelling in the anal or rectal veins causes hemorrhoids. Several factors may cause this swelling, including -

  • Chronic constipation or diarrhea
  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Sitting on the toilet for long periods of time
  • A lack of fiber in the diet

Another cause of hemorrhoids is the weakening of the connective tissue in the rectum and anus that occurs with age.

Pregnancy can cause hemorrhoids by increasing pressure in the abdomen, which may enlarge the veins in the lower rectum and anus. For most women, hemorrhoids caused by pregnancy disappear after childbirth.

 

References

Intestinal worms
  1. WHO. Intestinal worms. Available at Intestinal worms accessed on Aug 24th 2016
  2. Intestinal parasites. University of Maryland Medical Center. Available at http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/intestinal-parasites accessed on Aug 24t 2016
  3. Das JR, Das HB et al. Concept of Krimi in Perspective of Modern Era-A Review. J Ayur Hol Med (JAHM). 2015;3(4):57-69

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