Hymenolepiasis is a disease from the group of cestodoses (helminth infections caused by tapeworms), resulting from parasites in the human body of the dwarf tapeworm. This parasite, being not the most dangerous in terms of the degree of damage, in the long term is considered one of the most formidable helminths, since its development and reproduction occurs right inside the human intestine. In this article, we will examine in detail the features of the structure and development of the dwarf tapeworm, the symptoms and diagnosis of infection with this helminth, the treatment of hymenolepiasis with chemical and natural preparations, as well as preventive measures for hymenolepidosis.
Brief description of the parasite
The dwarf tapeworm, in biological systematics known as Hymenolepis nana, looks like a pale worm with a body length of 1 to 3-4 cm and a width of 1 mm. His strobe (body), which is noticeable in the photo, is crowned with a scolex (head), armed with 4 suckers and a proboscis with 24-30 hooks.
The digestive system as such is absent in Hymenolepis nana. Dwarf tapeworm absorbs nutrients to the entire surface of the body.
How does the infection occur?
The life cycle of the dwarf chain is peculiar. In most cases, the birth, development, reproduction and death of the helminth occur in the host body, and the main host is just a person.
This is the cunning of the disease: if, under hygiene and the absence of new invasions, ascaris can be eliminated in 1 year, and pinworms in just 3-4 weeks, then hymenolepiasis negates this solution due to the constant self-infection of the person.
Invasion occurs through the ingestion of dwarf chain eggs, which through the stomach enter the small intestine. There the larvae are released from the eggs and are introduced into the intestinal wall. Approximately a week later, the larva enters the cysticcercoid stage (a kind of embryo). After another 5-8 days, cysticercoid is fixed on the mucous membrane of the intestine, and after about 2 weeks of its development ends – the dwarf chain becomes a mature individual.
Symptoms of the disease
Hymenolepiasis is distinguished by the following symptoms, characteristic of most helminth infections:
- severe fatigue;
- poor appetite;
- weight loss;
- stomach ache;
In the event of intense invasion, the following symptoms may be added to the above symptoms:
- memory impairment;
- frequent vomiting;
- blood and mucus in feces;
Most of the symptoms are due to the fact that the dwarf tapeworm damages the walls of the small intestine with the hooks of its proboscis. Extensive damage can lead to tissue necrosis and partial destruction of the intestinal microflora, which in turn causes digestive problems. Dizziness, fainting and the development of anemia are caused by damage to the blood and lymph capillaries. The cause of convulsions, memory impairment and irritability is the poisoning of the body with the products of the vital activity of the dwarf chain. Finally, the last harm factor is the allergic reactions that some infected people have (for example, allergic rhinitis).
You should also be aware that every third person does not have hymenolepiasis at all, therefore periodic testing is necessary even in the absence of any symptoms.
In case of suspicion of hymenoliposes (pallor of the skin, hypotension, weight loss), the patient is sent for a laboratory analysis of feces.
Since the dwarf tapewick releases eggs cyclically, the analysis is usually carried out three times with an interval of 5 days. In order to increase the effectiveness of the examination, the patient is prescribed anthelmintic drugs: they help to destroy the segments of the parasite and thereby bring large numbers of eggs into the intestine.
In severe forms of hymenolepiasis, in addition to analyzes, additional bowel diagnostics may be required by ultrasound or computed tomography.
Drug treatment of helminthiasis
Three chemicals are considered effective for treating hymenolepiasis:
- Biltricid (active ingredient – praziquantel).
- Mepacrine (active ingredient – Akrikhin).
- Fenasal (eponymous active substance).
Biltricid is taken once at the rate of 25 mg per 1 kg of weight.
Mepacrine is taken on an empty stomach at 300 mg, dividing the dose into 2 doses at a 20-minute interval. On the first day, 2 hours after administration, the patient takes a salt laxative. The course lasts 4 cycles of 3 days with a weekly interval after each cycle.
Fenasal is taken four times a day (at 10, 12, 14 and 16 hours) and 1 tablet. In this case, the mode of eating is important: there is a need at 8, 13 and 18 hours. The course lasts 4 days, and after a four-day pause, it is repeated.
We must not forget that the treatment of the dwarf tapeworm with any synthetic anthelmintic is harmful to health.
The safest of the above drugs are Mepacrine and Fenasal, but it is them who are least likely to be prescribed by doctors. The reason for this is the inaccessibility of the sale and the high duration of treatment. However, Mepacrine and Fenasalom have a number of side effects, including:
- temporary (for up to several weeks) staining of the skin yellow;
- motor and / or speech arousal;
- exacerbation of neurodermatitis.
In most cases, the patient is prescribed Biltricid or its analogue based on praziquantel – Azinox. The price for convenience (one-time reception) is an impressive list of possible side effects:
- abdominal pain;
- diarrhea mixed with blood;
- disorientation in space;
- excessive sweating;
- skin rashes;
- increased levels of liver enzymes.
Biltricid is also contraindicated in children under 4 years of age, in the first trimester of pregnancy, and when breastfeeding (praziquantel penetrates into breast milk in huge amounts – about a quarter of the dose taken by the mother).
Breastfeeding after admission must be interrupted for three days.
A cured patient is considered if the stool analysis did not detect eggs of the dwarf chain six months after the end of therapy.
Reasonable fears of side effects, however, do not eliminate the need to get rid of parasites. Replacement of the above anthelmintic can serve as anthelmintic drugs from natural ingredients. They are produced, as a rule, in the form of drops based on plant extracts or dry fees for brewing. The composition of such naturopathic remedies may include:
- oak bark;
- Ferulu Jungar;
- birch leaves;
- juice of sumac berries;
- bear bile.
Despite the completely natural composition, these drugs are superior to the effectiveness of folk artisanal production. The reason for the high efficiency lies in the use of rare ingredients for sale (for example, bearish bile, able to break eggs of parasites) and in precisely calculated proportions. The rich composition of these drugs determines their versatility: they help to get rid not only of hymenolepiasis, but also of most other helminth infections.
In order to treat hymenolepiasis as efficiently as possible, it is recommended to combine synthetic and natural medicines, since the pattern of human infection with various types of parasites is generally the same, and hymenolepiasis is often adjacent to ascariasis, enterobiosis, ankylostoma and other helminthiases. Chemical preparations always act selectively.
Another important advantage of ready-made herbal preparations over homemade is the saving of time that would have to be spent on finding the right ingredients and their proper preparation.
You can order natural antihelmintic drugs directly on the Internet on the sites of their manufacturers.
Prevention of Hymenolepiasis
Successfully treat hymenolepiasis can only prevent its reappearance. Prevention measures include:
- instilling hygiene skills to patients;
- the destruction of fleas, flies, pests of flour, cockroaches and rodents;
- regular scatological examinations of children, kindergarten personnel, catering workers, doctors and nurses of gastroenterological and infectious hospitals.
Hymenolepidosis is distinguished from the majority of other helminth infections by an unpleasant feature – the ability of dwarf chains to reproduce inside the human body. To interrupt the endless cycles of self-infection with hymenolepiasis can only targeted treatment of such medicines as Biltricid, Mepacrine and Fenasal or herbal anthelmintic drugs. At the same time, maximum efficiency is guaranteed by combining those and other drugs.