Tapeworms are flatworms that are part of the phylum Platyhelminthes. They are often contracted by drinking water infested with tapeworm eggs or larvae. Tapeworms can also be transmitted to humans through raw or undercooked meat. They thrive in the body of their host, but did you know how long they actually live inside a human being?
The tapeworm can survive for up to 30 years inside humans and can grow to be 80 feet long. While the infection is usually mild, it can cause serious complications after prolonged exposure.
Tapeworm: Parasitic Noodle Strip
Tapeworms are a type of worm that lives in the intestines of some animals. They are flat, segmented worms. These parasites can be transmitted to animals by grazing in contaminated pastures or drinking dirty water.
Tapeworm disease is spread mainly through the consumption of undercooked meat from infected animals. Human tapeworms typically cause minor symptoms and are readily treated, but they can occasionally cause major, life-threatening issues. As a result, it’s vital to detect the warning indications and understand how to protect yourself and your loved ones. (Source: WebMD)
What are the Symptoms of a Tapeworm Infection?
Tapeworms generally cause; lumps or bumps under the skin, allergic reaction, fever, and, neurological problems, such as seizures. (Source: Healthline)
They can also produce symptoms such as; nausea, weakness, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hunger or loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
In contrast, tapeworms are frequently asymptomatic. Tapeworm infestation is only visible in the presence of segments of the worms in the bowel movement, which may or may not move. It can cause significant issues in some people, such as bowel blockage or intestine ducts that are too small to function properly.
Pork tapeworm larvae can transfer to other areas of the body and cause damage to the liver, eyes, heart, and brain if they escape the gut. These infections are potentially fatal. The most prevalent symptom of cysticercosis, a parasitic disease caused by the larvae of the pork tapeworm, is seizures. (Source: WebMD)
How Can You Confirm A Tapeworm Infection?
It is important to speak with a doctor if you’re suffering any unusual symptoms, especially if you’ve just returned from a trip outside your country. You will be asked for your complete medical history and they will perform a series of diagnostic tests to determine the cause of your symptoms.
In order to figure out if you are infected with a tapeworm, these diagnostic tests may be carried out.
A fecal test entails providing a stool sample for parasites, larvae, or eggs to be tested. This is a noninvasive test that is usually the only one required.
Some parasites can be detected in the blood using a blood test.
Imaging tests are used to determine the condition of the patient. Parasite-induced organ damage can be detected by imaging tests such as CT scans, MRIs, or X-rays.
A colonoscopy is only done in the rarest of cases to help diagnose a parasite infestation. However, it may be done if your symptoms continue despite taking drugs.
How to Treat a Tapeworm Infection?
Prescription antiparasitic medicines are the mainstay of treatment. This class of medications can kill parasites and aid in their passage through your body. Some of the examples of these medicines are: Albendazole (Albenza), Ivermectin (Stromectol), Mebendazole (Enverm) and Triclabendazole (Egaten). (Source: Healthline)