A pinworm is a small roundworm or parasite that infects your digestive system. Pinworms are the most common parasitic worm infection in the United States, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Pinworms live off of food and other particles in your digestive system. Female pinworms travel to your anus to lay eggs, which are released from your body in the stool and have the potential to infect other people.
Symptoms of pinworms include itching around your genitals or anus, insomnia, irritability, restlessness, abdominal pain that comes and goes and nausea.
When you become infected with pinworms, you will most likely not have any symptoms at first. When the worms lay eggs a few weeks later, symptoms like anal itching can develop and provide the first signs of infection.
In women and girls, pinworms have the potential to cause urinary tract infections, bladder infections known as cystitis, or infections of the vagina, uterus or fallopian tubes. Severe pinworm infections can rob you of important nutrients from your food and cause you to lose weight.
The best prevention for pinworms is washing your hands frequently throughout the day to avoid ingesting pinworms eggs that you might unknowingly come in contact with. It is also important to wash your bedding and clean your bathroom regularly.