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Pinworm eggs
Pinworm eggs

Pinworm, close-up of the head
Pinworm, close-up of the head



This test is used to detect the presence of pinworms .

Pinworms are small, thin worms that commonly infect young children, although anyone can be infected. The adult pinworms live in the intestine and colon. At night, the female adult worms deposit their eggs outside the rectum or anal area.

Alternative Names:

Oxyuriasis test; Enterobiasis test; Tape test

How the test is performed:

One way to diagnose pinworms is to use a flashlight to inspect the anal area. The worms are tiny, white, and threadlike. If none are seen, check for two or three additional nights.

The best way to diagnose this infection is to do a tape test. The best time to collect a sample is in the morning before bathing, because the eggs are laid at night. The sticky side of a 1 inch strip of cellophane tape is pressed firmly over the anal area for a few seconds. The eggs stick to the tape. The tape is then transferred to a glass slide, sticky side down. The slide should then be examined by your health care provider to look for eggs.

To improve the chances of picking up the eggs, this test may need to be done on three separate days.

How to prepare for the test:

No special preparation is necessary.

How the test will feel:

This test is usually well tolerated. The skin may have minor irritation.

Why the test is performed:

This test is performed to check for pinworms, which are a potential cause of itching in the anal area.

Normal Values:

What abnormal results mean:

If any adult pinworms or eggs are found, the person has a pinworm infection.

What the risks are:

There are no risks.

Special considerations:

Consult your health care provider for treatment. Usually the whole family is treated, because the pinworms are easily passed back and forth between family members.

Review Date: 8/1/2008
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100