Intestinal worms are the leading cause of abdominal and anal discomforts in humans especially in children. These are the parasites that reside in the intestines and absorb nutrients and other vital requirements for the body of the host and affect the normal metabolism and digestion process. Tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, are the intestinal worms that are common among the children, whereas the whipworms, pinworms, threadworms are found in adults. One of such parasitic infections is Strongyloides infection. In this article we are going to discuss causes, signs and symptoms and best Ayurvedic management for Strongyloides infection.
Strongyloides infection is caused due to the parasitic roundworm named Strongyloides stercoralis. These varieties of roundworm are generally found in the hot or warm climate like in subtropical or tropical countries. The approximate number of affected people from this infection worldwide is about 30-100 people. This infection is acquired type and may require contamination of skin during domestic, agricultural and recreational activities. Children are more vulnerable to these infections due to poor hygiene. Strongyloidiasis in the long run can affect the digestive power and can lead to immunodeficiency, which results in life threatening conditions in a few cases.
Sign and Symptoms
About half of the patients affecting from Strongyloides infection remained asymptomatic and undiscovered, but in other cases the symptoms such as coughing of unknown origin, shortness of breath and wheezing, In chronic cases, there may be burning sensation and intermittent pain in the upper region of the abdomen, constipation or diarrhea in alternate fashion, red rashes near anus in the form of red hives, rashes on the skin, nausea which may be followed by vomiting, weight loss (unexplained), malnutrition, anemia and palpitations due to anxiety is usually noticed manifestations.
The major reason for Strongyloides infection is the contact of the healthy person with the contaminated soil. The causative organism is Strongyloides stercoralis, which is a roundworm (parasite). These tiny forms of round worms penetrate the skin and enter in their bloodstream pass through the right side of the heart (along with deoxygenated blood) and then transported to the lungs by a venous system. Then these worms are being transported to the stomach when unknowingly swallowed by the person with food. They ultimately reach the small intestine where they lay eggs and multiply themselves and finally a colony of these intestinal parasites is built. These larvae start affecting the body by penetrating to the skin around anal region and causing itching redness and have the ability to penetrate the intestines and causing various abdominal discomforts.
Walking barefoot is the major risk factor for acquiring this disease. Other risk factors include travelling history to tropical subtropical or temperate countries, unhealthy living habits etc.
The diagnosis of this disease includes the clinical manifestations along with some lab investigations such as sputum culture, stool sample testing, duodenal aspiration, and complete blood count and blood antigen test.
In Ayurveda various intestinal worms are classified under the krimi roga. The common clinical manifestations of Krimi roga is given by Acharya Sushruta as
(Reference- Sushruta Samhita Uttaratantra 54/18)
Fever , discoloration, pain in abdomen, heart disease (palpitations, shortness of breath), looseness of body (malnutrition), vertigo, diarrhea, itching in the anal region. Whereas particularly Strongyloides infection is best correlated with the Purishaj krimi.
The clinical features of Purishaj krimi is the recurrent passage of watery stools, diahrrea, anaemia, weakness, hardness of abdomen, horripilation, itching in the anal region, and sometimes worms are passesd out with stools.
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Herbal remedies as suggested by Planet Ayurveda’s experts for the treatment of Strongyloides infection is as-
1. Wormistop Capsules
This polyherbal formulation is made by Planet Ayurveda’s experts having ingredients like Palaash (Butea monosperma), Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), Vidang (Embelia ribes) and Sonth (Zingiber officinale), that help in eliminating these worms out of the system. Plaash and Vidang helps in killing or preventing the further growth of worms while tulsi and Sonth make the intestinal environment unsuitable for the growth of these parasites. Thus these capsules help in the treatment of Strongyloides infection.
Dosage- One capsule twice daily after meals with plain water.
2. Mahashankh Vati
This classical formulation is one of the best poly herbomineral formulations for the treatment of various abdominal pain, bloating and flatulence and other abdominal discomforts. The ingredients of this tablets includes Shunthi (Zingiber officinalis), Pippali (Piper longum), Tamarind bark, Shuddha Vatsanabha (detoxified Aconitum ferox), Shankha Bhasma (clax of conch shell), black salt, rock salt and sea salt. These all constituents of this formulation makes it the effective combination for relieving the abdominal pain and burning sensation associated with the Strongyloides infection.
Dosage- Two tablets twice daily after meals with plain water.
3. Sanjivani Vati
The use of Sanjivani vati is very much beneficial in Strongyloides infection as the ingredient of this classical tablet include Vidanga (Embelia ribes), Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia), Sonth (Zingiber officinale) etc. are very much beneficial in removing the ama related condition and also help in strengthening the digestive power and enhancing immunity. These herbs have the combined action in killing the harmful parasitic worms & other microbes in the intestine.
Dosage- One tablet two times a day after meals with water.
4. Digesto Plan Syrup
This is the polyherbal syrup made by Planet Ayurveda’s team for improving the poor digestive health related conditions. In Strongyloides infection, the ingredients of this polyherbal syrup i.e. Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica), Saunf (Foeniculum vulgare) along with other such herbs aids in relieving the abdominal bloating, pain, indigestion etc.
Dosage- 2 teaspoon twice daily after meals.
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Strongyloides infection as already discussed is an asymptomatic condition but can lead to severe consequences in chronic stages including weight loss and malabsorption etc. Ayurveda being the oldest Science of medicine is the best alternative to treat these infections without harming the useful gut flora with the help of herbal medication along with dietary and lifestyle modifications.