The Tapeworm Infection Autoimmune... Diet?

Tyra Banks recently covered the tapeworm diet, which is apparently the hot new diet trend sweeping the nation.

Naturally you have to travel outside the United States to receive your dosage of tapeworm, because transporting or selling tapeworm eggs is illegal within the country. Make no mistake, tapeworm infection in humans is dangerous.

Tapeworm diet pills were sold at the turn of the century by unscrupulous marketers looking to make a buck off the diet industry. It was true then and it is true now – people will do just about anything in service of vanity.

Tapeworms are a parasitic variety of flatworm which can be found infesting every vertebrate animal.

Humans most often encounter the beef tapeworm, pork tapeworm, fish tapeworm, and dwarf tapeworm. The first three are spread by eating contaminated and undercooked meat, and the fourth is spread directly through person-to-person contact.

Victims can contract tapeworms by eating either the eggs or a tapeworm segment. Like all flatworms, tapeworms can regenerate themselves from a tiny segment – and furthermore, the tapeworm segments often include eggs. Because tapeworm segments and eggs circulate throughout the victim’s bloodstream, they can be found anywhere within the meat of a cow, pig, or fish. If the meat has not been cooked high enough to kill the tapeworm eggs, then ingesting it can pass along the infection.

You can also catch tapeworms from unsanitary conditions, through either direct or indirect contact. Direct contact with the feces of an infected animal can spread the infection. As can eating something which has been handled by someone who has a tapeworm infection, and did not thoroughly wash their hands before leaving the restroom.

Cats and dogs can also bring tapeworm into our homes. Fleas can be used as an intermediary host for a tapeworm infection. When the dog or cat, trying to chew at an itch, swallows an infected flea, the tapeworm infection is passed along to them. The typical symptom for a cat tapeworm infection or dog tapeworm infection is visible tapeworm segments in the animal’s stool or on their bottom. The tapeworm segments look like small bits of rice, and may wiggle.

Before they latch onto the walls of the host’s digestive system, tapeworms pass through a larval stage. In this stage they circulate throughout the bloodstream, and form cysts in the internal organs. Most often the cysts occur in the lungs or liver, where they may not be noticeable. However the larval tapeworms can also encyst themselves in the brain or eyes of the host, where they can cause very serious problems.

The tapeworm infection in humans, or taeniasis, often has no symptoms except for weight loss, anemia, nausea, and diarrhea. If the cysts form somewhere dangerous like the brain, they can cause seizures, memory loss, and hallucinations. Tapeworm cysts in the lungs will impair lung function, and tapeworm cysts in the liver will impair liver function.

Fortunately, tapeworm infection can be cured with a simple dose of worming medicine.

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Comments 2 comments

Christa Dovel profile image

Christa Dovel 7 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America

So people are purposely infecting themselves with tapeworms, in order to lose weight? That is horrible, and disgusting!

Blogging Erika profile image

Blogging Erika 7 years ago Author

Yep, and yep!

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