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    This Woman's Viral Story About Getting Pinworms In Her Butt Is Making My Cheeks Clench

    "They're these little white worms that live in your butthole and lay eggs all around your anus."

    When she was around 11 years old, a woman named Mercedes Edwards unfortunately contracted pinworms.

    And although it was traumatizing at the time, Mercedes is now unfazed about sharing her experience. Here, listen to her calmly tell the story as she eats a bowl of edamame:

    @hoopdolphin

    I’m eating a bowl of edamame. #momsoftiktok #edamame #pinworms

    ♬ original sound - Mercedes

    BuzzFeed spoke to Mercedes, who said she knew something was wrong because her butt was itchy all the time. "It always felt like something was tickling me down there. It was worse at nighttime and kept me from sleeping," she explained.

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    So she took a mirror to investigate. Mercedes was horrified to see tiny worms around her butthole. "When I first saw them, my heart started racing and I felt really dizzy. I started crying. I was terrified," she said, adding that her mom was also in shock when she showed them to her.

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    Mercedes visited the doctor, and it was confirmed that she had pinworms. To get more information about exactly what pinworms are, BuzzFeed spoke to Dr. Supriya Rao, who is a board-certified physician specializing in internal medicine, gastroenterology, and obesity medicine.

    Rao said that pinworms — also called enterobiasis — are the most common parasitic infection in the US. "Pinworms are small white worms that exist out in the environment. So, what happens is, the worms will go to perianal folds — the folds around the anus — and deposit eggs. Pinworms can be found in all different socioeconomic groups. It happens most when people are living in close quarters or crowded conditions, and it's most often seen in school-age kids," she explained.

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    "Basically, if you're concerned, the doctor can check the anus and sometimes see little worms there. They look like little pieces of cotton, essentially. And you can sometimes see it in underwear. But the diagnosis that's actually done is called a Scotch-tape test. You take a piece of Scotch tape, press it against the anus, look at it under a microscope, and if the person has pinworms, you will see eggs — or worms — on the tape," said Rao. "In Mercedes' case, she was able to see fully matured, female worms — those are around a centimeter long."

    Pinworms are highly contagious and easily spread. "Because they are itchy, people scratch that area and the eggs can get lodged under their fingernail. Then, if they don't wash their hands well, and touch a surface and leave eggs behind, someone else can pick it up," Rao explained.

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    "In addition, when kids put their fingers in their mouth, they can swallow the eggs, which are then released into the GI tract. Once that happens, they hatch in your small intestine and go hang out in your colon. If enough worms start accumulating in your colon, you can get abdominal pain. Also, girls who scratch all over in that area can get a UTI or vaginal infection because of the itching," she added.

    Antiparasitic medications are given to treat and kill the worms. Rao said, "Both kids and adults who live with the infected person usually take the medication as a preventative measure as well. You also have to wash everything in the house. The worms can live in the bed, on clothes, towels, bed linens, etc. Everything in the home needs to be thoroughly cleaned — and everyone's fingernails should be cut super short."

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    Mercedes said that she could see the dead worms in her poop while she was taking the medication to get rid of them. She said, "It killed the worms over several days, and every time I would poop, I could see them dead or slowly moving because they were dying. It made me afraid to go to the bathroom." Luckily, after the worms clear up, Rao said, there shouldn't be any lasting complications.

    Phew! So, what's the best way to avoid getting pinworms (besides staying far away from little kids 😉 )?! Rao said to practice good hygiene and always wash your hands thoroughly!!!

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