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Digestive health centre

Complications of threadworms

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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Threadworms can cause intense itching around the anus and vagina, and continual scratching can cause your skin to become inflamed. In rare cases, if the skin is broken, bacteria can enter the wound, leading to another infection. See your GP, or call NHS Direct on 0845 4647, for further advice if you think that you may have another infection.

A threadworm infection outside of the intestine is very rare, but has been known to occur in:

  • the vagina, 
  • the uterus (womb),
  • the pelvic peritoneum (lining on the inside of the abdomen),
  • the abdominal cavity (stomach area),
  • the liver, and
  • the lungs.


Re-infection is common if threadworm is left untreated. It is possible that it will become a persistent (ongoing) problem. If this happens, it can lead to more serious problems including:

  • insomnia (difficulty getting to sleep, or staying asleep),
  • bed wetting (enuresis), and
  • weight loss.


The anus is the opening at the end of the digestive system where solid waste leaves the body.


Bacteria are tiny, single-celled organisms that live in the body. Some can cause illness and disease and some are good for you.


The vagina is a tube of muscle that runs from the cervix (the opening of the womb) to the vulva (the external sexual organs).


The uterus (or womb) is a hollow, pear-shaped organ in a woman where a baby grows during pregnancy.


The liver is the largest organ in the body. Its main jobs are to secrete bile (to help digestion), detoxify the blood and change food into energy.


The lungs are a pair of organs in the chest that control breathing. They remove carbon dioxide from the blood and replace it with oxygen.
Medical Review: November 11, 2009

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