A tapeworm is a parasitic worm that can infect a human and cause a myriad of health problems. It may survive in its human host for more than 20 years and can grow in excess of 20 feet (6.10 m). Recognizing the symptoms of tapeworm infection can help potential hosts combat the infection before it escalates into very serious health issues.
Tapeworm infections are commonly traced back to the consumption of tainted or undercooked beef, pork and sometimes fish. Cooking food thoroughly is recommended to kill any potentially infectious parasites. Many people who are infected with tapeworms do not exhibit any symptoms at all, but those who do suffer physically show specific symptoms.
The most common symptoms of tapeworm infection include weakness, nausea, appetite loss, pain in the abdominal area, diarrhea, loss of weight and the inability to absorb nutrients properly. Any or all of these symptoms can interfere with an infected person's health and quality of life. Prolonged symptoms can result in more severe symptoms.
More severe symptoms of tapeworm infection can manifest in people who have been infected with the parasite for a long time. They may also manifest due to infections that have resulted in cyst formations on tissues other than those in the intestines. Overt cystic formations, masses or lumps, fever, vitamin deficiencies, an inflamed intestine, dizziness, insomnia, anemia, allergic reactions, bacterial infections and even neurological responses such as seizures can also be a result of tapeworm infection.
Symptoms of infection with tapeworm larvae may differ slightly than those of infection with adult tapeworms. This is because the larvae are small enough to travel through the blood stream and can take up residence in other parts of the body. Abdominal pain and fever can be present, but so can coughing, lung pain, jaundice, blindness, seizures and the sensation of pressure inside the skull.
In addition, infected people may notice tapeworm eggs or the remnants of a tapeworm body in their stools. However, it is important to note that tapeworm body remnants do not mean that the tapeworm has been safely excreted from the body. A tapeworm's entire body can be passed, but if the head remains in the human host's body, then the tapeworm can regrow to its original length again.
Symptoms of tapeworm infection can be treated by removing the tapeworm itself. Medicinal treatments may be opted for, but tapeworms can also be treated with simple herbs like black walnut hull, wormwood and cloves. In addition, keeping a conscientious, organic diet and practicing good hygiene may diminish any future chances of tapeworm infection.