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Pinworms

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When To Call a Doctor

Call your doctor if:

  • You or your child has symptoms of pinworm infection, and no one in your household has had the infection before.
  • You see pinworms on your child (when bathing the anal area or wiping his or her bottom) or on your child's bedding or clothes.
  • You or your child has symptoms, you have not seen any worms, and you want to see the doctor even though you or your child has had the infection before.
  • You have started over-the-counter medicine to treat the pinworms, and the infection has not cleared up. (Do not use an over-the-counter medicine for pinworms in a child younger than 2 without first talking to a doctor.)
  • You have had a pinworm infection recently and now have symptoms of reinfection.
  • Your doctor prescribed medicine for pinworms, and the infection has not cleared up within the expected time frame (usually within 4 to 6 weeks).
  • You or your child is having side effects from medicine for pinworm infection.
  • You or your child with a pinworm infection develops other symptoms.
    • Fever or abdominal pain may be a sign of complications of pinworm infection.
    • Redness, tenderness, or swelling in the genital area may be a sign of skin infection.
    • Itching in the genital area or vagina may be a sign of vaginal pinworm infection.
    • Pain when urinating, frequent or urgent urination, or lack of control of urination may be a sign of pinworm infection of the urinary tract.

Watchful Waiting

Watchful waiting is not appropriate when a person has symptoms of a pinworm infection. Although pinworm infections are usually mild and do not cause any serious health problems, treatment should be considered because it helps stop the spread of the infection to others and helps prevent reinfection.

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Watchful waiting may not be appropriate for family members of a person infected with pinworms. If one member of a family has a pinworm infection, it is very likely that other members also are infected. This is very important if a family member is pregnant. A pregnant woman may not be able to take pinworm medicine, and treating all other members of the household may decrease the likelihood of her getting the infection. Some doctors recommend treating all members of the family to help prevent reinfection and the spread of infection.

Who To See

Health professionals who can diagnose and treat pinworm infections include:

  • Nurse practitioners (NP).
  • Physician assistants (PA).
  • Pediatricians.
  • Family medicine doctors.
  • Internists.

If complications of pinworm infection develop, you may need to see a specialist who deals with conditions affecting the body system involved, such as:

  • A gastroenterologist.
  • A urologist.
  • An infectious disease specialist.
  • A gynecologist.

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 02, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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