Trichuriasis is a parasite infection that can happen at any age. Trichuriasis is also known as whipworm infection. Whipworm infection can cause different symptoms in different people. Some people with the infection have no symptoms. Other people will have painful bowel movements that happen often. The bowel movements will contain mucus, water, and blood. Rectal prolapse can also occur. Rectal prolapse is when a part of the large intestine comes outside of the anus (the external opening where solid waste (feces) comes out). This can cause someone to have trouble controlling their bowel movements.
Untreated whipworm infection can cause anemia and growth retardation. Anemia is when red blood cells cannot deliver oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Anemia can cause a person to feel grumpy, tired, dizzy, and weak. Anemia can also cause headaches, trouble focusing, pale skin, dry nails, a sore tongue, and a blue color in the whites of the eyes. Growth retardation causes a person to grow and develop slower than they should.
Whipworm infection is caused by eating whipworm eggs. This can happen in areas where human feces is used as fertilizer. Whipworm infection is diagnosed by stool examination (looking for whipworm eggs in a person’s feces). Whipworm infection is treated with medication.
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with trichuriasis, talk to your doctor about the most current treatment options. Support groups are also good sources of support and information.