Tapeworm Symptoms, Treatment & Diet
Table of Contents
There are a variety of symptoms you can experience if you have a tapeworm. From skin irritation to abdominal pain, the list goes on and on. Knowing what these signs mean is crucial in determining whether or not your body is experiencing the parasite’s presence. If it appears that you might have been infected by one, there are steps you can take to treat yourself to avoid any long-term complications from developing.
Tapeworm infections affect more than 100 million people worldwide each year. Human tapeworm infections are spread via the intestines when individuals consume raw or undercooked, infected animal foods. In rare cases, they may even harm other organs, including the brain.
Tapeworms, however, don’t often create any visible symptoms. When they occur, however, tapeworm symptoms and those produced by other parasite illnesses may become very severe, even life-threatening. Tapeworm symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, cramping, insomnia, and more when they are present.
Tapeworm infections primarily affect the intestinal wall but may become more problematic when tapeworm larvae/eggs travel through the circulation and attach to skeletal muscle or tissues, forming cysts. One unusual case of a complicated tapeworm infection was discovered in a man who had been suffering from splitting headaches and migraine symptoms like nausea and vomiting for years; it turned out that he had neurocysticercosis, a condition in which tapeworm larval cysts develop in the brain and cause neurological symptoms.
What can you do to get rid of tapeworm symptoms and get rid of tapeworm infection? A parasite cleanses, supplementation to aid detoxification, and enemas or colonics are all examples of natural remedies.
What Is a Tapeworm and How Do I Get Rid of It?
Tapeworms are flat, often extremely long worms that may thrive in both people’s and animals’ digestive systems.
A parasite is a parasitic creature that lives on or in a host and feeds on or at the cost of that host. The eggs of parasites may thrive within uncooked meat, such as beef, pig, and fish.
Humans ingest cysts that lead to tapeworms when they eat infected meat (particularly pork) or fish. The eggs within the cysts hatch, and the newly born worms continue the cycle by latching on to the host’s intestinal wall for energy.
There are currently six different kinds of tapeworms that cause millions of human infections each year — and the tapeworm symptoms that go along with them.
Parasites produce some of the most frequent forms of tapeworm infections, including beef tapeworms, pig tapeworms, fish tapeworms, dwarf tapeworms (Hymenolepis nana), and tapeworms of the Echinococcus species. Taenia saginata, Taenia solium, and Diphyllobothrium latum are found in beef, pig, and fish, respectively. Tapeworms from pork and fish may grow up to 15—30 feet in length.
Because the worms may lay eggs within a person or animal’s digestive system, the eggs can occasionally spread to other humans (“intermediate hosts”) via contact with excrement or environmental runoff.
Symptoms of Tapeworm
According to experts, the majority of individuals who have tapeworms don’t realize it or develop visible tapeworm symptoms or consequences. This is because the tapeworm dies within the intestines and is then expelled via bowel movements. On the other hand, some individuals are not so fortunate and might be infected with a tapeworm for months or even years, leaving them with unpleasant tapeworm symptoms.
The following are the most prevalent tapeworm symptoms and signs:
- Nausea or an unsettled stomach
- Loose stools or diarrhea
- Muscle tiredness and weakness
- Cramps and stomach aches
- Appetite changes, such as feeling excessively hungry while eating or losing appetite
- Loss of weight (even despite eating)
- Nutrient deficiency symptoms include cognitive issues such as poor focus and weariness.
- Sleeping problems
- Changes in feces and, on rare occasions, worm segments appear in a bowel movement. Some individuals may even observe a moving, ribbon-like worm within the toilet intestine or feel a little bit of tapeworm escape the anus.
- Tapeworms may also infect animals, including pets such as dogs and cats. Vomiting, lack of appetite, poor energy, and diarrhea are common tapeworm symptoms in dogs and cats.
1. Cook the meat and fish thoroughly
Because the most prevalent source of tapeworm infections is eating raw or undercooked meat and fish, the easiest way to protect yourself is to prepare these items before eating them properly. According to most experts, animal meals should be cooked to at least 135 degrees Fahrenheit (57 degrees Celsius). At this temperature or when frozen for a lengthy time, cysts and eggs inside meat or fish usually die off (more than several days). Unfortunately, drying or smoking meat and fish does not always ensure that all eggs are killed.
Freshwater fish may transmit tapeworms to their eggs. Hence they should never be fed uncooked (sushi-style). If you’re eating freshwater fish, make sure it’s cooked, preferably frozen right after you catch it, or thoroughly cured/brined. Because cysts inside meat/fish are frequently apparent to the human eye, having a certified health code consultant inspects the meat or fish before it gets to market is best to avoid tapeworm illnesses from contaminated animal commodities.
2. Parasitic Detoxification
A parasite cleansing diet may help you overcome the symptoms of intestinal infection and avoid consequences. A balanced diet may also reduce the chances of contracting a parasite since it boosts immunity and eliminates some dangerous items (such as pork).
I suggest following the procedures below for a parasite cleanse for roughly a week while also taking the anti-parasitic vitamins indicated below. Continue to eat a nutritious diet after one week, but take a week off from the cleanse and supplements to allow your body to adapt. Then do the cleanse with vitamins for two more weeks.
The following are the steps to follow to conduct a parasite cleanse:
- First, pork products should be avoided. Pork may transmit parasites and worms; therefore, if you consume pork often, you run the risk of contracting a parasite. Consequently, I strongly advise you to permanently eliminate all pig products from your diet.
- Increase your organic veggie consumption. Concentrate on eating large salads, fresh vegetable juices, soups, or green smoothies. Fresh herbs, garlic, and onions are very beneficial. These have anti-parasitic and immune-boosting properties—incorporate spices such as oregano and ginger into your meals.
- Remove any sugar that has been applied. All sugars and carbohydrates may wreak havoc on the stomach and exacerbate inflammation. To eliminate these items during a parasite cleansing, I suggest following a Paleo-style diet.
- Refined carbs and cereals should be avoided. Many grains, particularly those containing wheat or gluten, may rapidly degrade into sugar, causing intestinal irritation.
- Fruit should be reduced or eliminated. Limit yourself to one dish per day or fewer. On the other hand, papaya and papaya juice are an exception since papaya possesses inherent anti-parasitic capabilities.
- Coconut oil, meat, and milk should all be consumed. This might include utilizing pure coconut oil or preparing coconut smoothies with coconut milk. This is because antibacterial and antimicrobial activities are found in coconut oil.
- Eat chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, and bone broth to gain fiber and protein. The minerals and anti-parasitic substances in pumpkin seeds (combined with pumpkin seed butter or pumpkin oil) are very beneficial.
- Organic grass-fed or pasture-raised beef is the only kind to eat. Processed meats and conventionally/farm-raised meat should be avoided.
- Only eat fish that has been caught in the wild. I also advise against eating shellfish since they might contain significant quantities of heavy metals.
- Probiotic foods should be consumed. Kefir, sauerkraut, and yogurt are examples of foods that aid in promoting gut health.
- Processed meals and alcohol should be avoided. These substances weaken the immune system and make detoxification more difficult.
3. Supplements that are anti-parasitic
Certain supplements, such as: may aid in killing parasites and removing other poisons from the body.
- Thyme leaf, berberine sulfate, oregano, grapefruit seed extract, and uva ursi leaf are all included in this parasite cleansing supplement. These herbs have long been utilized in traditional medical systems for their anti-parasitic, antifungal, and antibacterial qualities.
- The seed extract of grapefruit (read directions for dosage recommendations, which vary depending on the strength)
- Black walnut (250 mg three times a day): A plant traditionally used to cure parasites.
- Garlic: Use both raw garlic and garlic essential oil in your recipes.
- Wormwood (three times a day, 200 milligrams)
- Antibacterial and anti-parasitic properties of oregano oil (500 mg four times daily). You may also boost detoxification by using oregano oil essential oil.
- You can prepare tea from the leaves of an olive tree if you have access to one. First, bake them until they’re dry at 150 degrees, then soak them in hot water for 10 minutes before drinking several cups a day with raw honey or lemon.
- Clove essential oil (500 milligrams four times daily or four cups of tea made using clove essential oil)
4. Colonics may help with detoxification
Over many weeks, doing two to three colon cleanses each week may assist boost the efficiency of a parasite cleanse. In addition, use a coffee enema or a saltwater flush to help you feel better.
Risk Factors of Tapeworm
Eating undercooked meat from an infected animal or contaminated freshwater fish is the most prevalent way for people to get infected with tapeworms. Although exposure to a tapeworm is required for infection, several risk factors may worsen tapeworm symptoms. These are some of the risk factors:
- Consumption of tainted water. There’s a potential you picked up a parasite if you drank the water in another nation, such as China, India, Africa, or Mexico, and then felt unwell afterward.
- Gut flora that is out of equilibrium
- The leaky gut syndrome is a condition that occurs when the intestines
- Having a compromised immune system is a severe condition.
The following is a diagram of how a tapeworm parasite infection progresses:
- Tapeworms lay eggs, which hatch into tiny larva, which may survive within the flesh of animals, which people subsequently eat. Larvae may occasionally find their way through a person’s digestive system and into the intestines after eating contaminated meat, where they thrive by devouring other food.
- Other than consuming contaminated meat, getting into touch with tiny volumes of another infected person’s excrement is a less frequent but conceivable way to catch tapeworms. This is thought to be the case with pork tapeworms, but not with worms found in fish or beef. As mentioned above, egg-bearing secretions from pig tapeworms (called proglottids) are passed within feces. Therefore, when an infected individual prepares food and does not thoroughly wash their hands after going to the toilet, small tapeworm eggs may find their way onto the food and contaminate it. The eggs may then hatch and live within the intestines of the following individual.
- If left untreated, tapeworm eggs in human or animal excrement might be discharged into the environment and consumed by another host.
- Tapeworms are typically acquired by animals (particularly horses, cattle, and pigs) after grazing in pastures where polluted runoff has entered or drinking contaminated water.
- Tapeworms may also be transmitted to fish by the consumption of tiny crustaceans carrying tapeworm eggs/cysts.
Statistics and Facts
- Hundreds of thousands of individuals in the United States are afflicted with parasites every year, even though they are typically unaware.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traveling to portions of Latin America, Eastern Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, India, and Asia might expose Americans to tapeworms and other parasite illnesses, which are then carried home. Still, they are generally uncommon in the United States.
- In specific endemic locations where humans and wandering pigs dwell in close contact, T. solium is the cause of 30% of epilepsy occurrences. In addition, more than 80% of the 50 million individuals worldwide who have epilepsy reside in low- and lower-middle-income nations.
- Tapeworms Taenia saginata and Taenia solium are two prevalent tapeworms found around the globe, especially in Eastern Europe, Russia, Eastern Africa, and Latin America.
- The number of new tapeworm infection cases in the United States each year is likely under 1,000, although the actual number is unknown since many patients are never identified.
- Tapworms are most often found in regions with a high concentration of livestock and humans, such as industrial farms where meat is produced or urban areas with inadequate sanitation.
- Workers at feedlots in the United States are at the most significant risk of contracting tapeworms because they are exposed to cow excrement. Restaurant employees who do not adequately wash their hands are likewise in danger.
- The most significant incidence of tapeworm infection is seen in poorer areas with inadequate sanitation and nations where people consume raw or undercooked pork.
- Tapeworm infections are more common among Latin American immigrants in the United States.
- Tapeworms are most often seen in the digestive system, but they may also induce weariness, muscular pains, and cognitive problems.
- Depending on the species, tapeworms may reach lengths of up to 25 meters (82 ft).
If you have any tapeworm symptoms listed above, see your doctor for a stool sample and blood test. Blood tests look for signs of increased inflammation and high antibody levels to see if an infection is causing complications. Stool samples can help identify the type of tapeworm that might be present. At the same time, blood tests look for signs of increased inflammation and high antibody levels to see if an infection is causing complications.
Doctors also examine a stool sample for evidence of tapeworm infection, looking for segments of the worm or microscopic eggs. Whether your doctor suspects that larva has migrated from the intestines to another region of the body, they may order a CT scan or an MRI to see if cysts are present.
When a tapeworm infection is diagnosed, physicians often prescribe drugs to assist in treating the condition. These may include the following:
- Antiparasitic medications, such as praziquantel
- NSAID pain medications or corticosteroids, such as prednisone, are used to reduce inflammation and consequences.
- Additional treatments and procedures, such as diarrhea medications or vitamin B12 and iron supplements, may be required if other symptoms or consequences emerge, such as nerve damage or digestive malfunction.
Precautions and Complications
Although tapeworm symptoms are uncommon, they may be life-threatening if a worm stops someone’s intestines, causes vitamin or mineral shortages, or causes the larva to migrate out of the intestines and into other areas of the body where they develop cysts.
- Larvae, particularly those deposited by tapeworms in pig meat, may sometimes go to the liver, eyes, heart, and brain, causing harm. Cysticercosis is a condition in which tapeworm cysts grow outside of the gastrointestinal system.
- Tapeworms may also produce tiny cysts, leading to headaches, disorientation, meningitis, neurological symptoms, spinal issues, and even convulsions.
- Although tapeworm cysts seldom form in the eyes, they may cause vision issues or even blindness if left untreated.
- Anemia has been linked to tapeworm infections induced by eating contaminated fish since the worms consume vitamin B12 and steal it from their home addition; because cause vitamin B12 is required for red blood cell development and energy generation, weariness and weakness are frequent side effects.
- If you think you may have a tapeworm, consult a doctor right away to avoid issues from becoming worse.
- Tapeworm infections harm humans’ intestines and are spread by eating raw or undercooked, infected meat and seafood.
- Tapeworms typically produce no symptoms at all, but they may cause digestive problems, weariness, muscular pains, malabsorption, deficiencies, and weight loss in specific individuals.
- Working near animals or livestock, living in congested regions with inadequate sanitation, and eating raw or undercooked meat and freshwater fish are risk factors for tapeworms.
- A parasite cleanses, supplementation to aid detoxification, and enemas or colonics are all-natural tapeworm remedies.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the fastest way to get rid of tapeworms?
A: The fastest way to remove tapeworms is through the use of a drug called praziquantel. Praziquantel can be taken orally or injected, but it must be combined with another medication that kills the parasite’s eggs.
How would I know if I had a tapeworm?
A: If you have a tapeworm, it would feel like something is moving around in your intestines. This can lead to cramping and pain when going to the bathroom.
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