Tapeworm In Humans - What It Is, Symptoms And Treatment

Table of contents:

Tapeworm In Humans - What It Is, Symptoms And Treatment
Tapeworm In Humans - What It Is, Symptoms And Treatment

What is tapeworm and how is infection with this parasite


  • 1 What is a tapeworm?
  • 2 The many-faced tapeworm
  • 3 Is tapeworm dangerous for humans?
  • 4 Diagnostics - how to detect intestinal tapeworm
  • 5 How you can get tapeworm infection
  • 6 Risk factors for tapeworm infection
  • 7 Symptoms
  • 8 How to remove tapeworm
  • 9 Medication for tapeworm

    • 9.1 Praziquantel
    • 9.2 Biltricide
    • 9.3 Mepacrine
    • 9.4 Niclosamide
    • 9.5 Vermox
  • 10 Prevention

A huge number of various helminths can live in the human body, from small pinworms to bovine tapeworms, the length of which is capable of "overloading" over 10 meters. All parasites are equally dangerous for humans, regardless of their size.

What is a tapeworm?


What is a tapeworm?

What is a tapeworm? It is a wide, flattened worm, very similar in appearance to a ribbon. That is why it is called tape.

Adult representatives of this parasite can reach 12 and even 15 meters in length. The entire body of the worm consists of small segments, each of which is no more than 3 cm. If necessary, an adult independent individual can develop from each segment.

The worm's head looks like a suction cup, thanks to this shape, it firmly fixes its body in the intestines and does not go out with the remains of human life in a natural way.

The difficulty in ridding the body of this type of parasite also lies in the fact that it is a hermaphrodite. In order for a whole colony of tapeworms to appear in the human body after a while, just one individual is enough. The reproduction rate of this worm is really amazing, in one clutch there can be up to a million eggs at once. And he puts them off every day.

One worm can live up to 20 years, and if you do not start timely treatment, the consequences can be unpredictable.

The tapeworm belongs to the fluke class. That is, it receives its nutrition from the host's body, absorbing nutrients through the intestinal walls. Thus, depriving its owner in obtaining the required daily portion of useful microelements.

The many-faced tapeworm

The tapeworm class includes several types of worms, each of which has its own path of entry into the human body:

  • Bovine tapeworm. It is not for nothing that this worm bears this name, it enters the human body as otherwise than through infected beef meat.
  • Pork tapeworm. This tapeworm settles in the body of pigs and wild boars, if a person eats 99% of poorly processed meat of a sick animal, the result of such a meal will be an unpleasant diagnosis.
  • Wide ribbon. This type of parasite chooses fish as an intermediate host. Most often it settles in the body of white river fish (pike, perch, bream).
  • Dwarf tapeworm. Perhaps the smallest representative among tapeworms, it reaches only three centimeters in length. It enters the host's body from cats, the parasite settles in the small intestine. Young children are most commonly affected.
  • Dog worm. It is less common than others, but this does not mean that the harm from it is less. As the name implies, a person can become infected with it as a result of contact with a dog.

If this type of parasite, like pinworms, most often settles in the body of children of primary school and preschool age, then tapeworm mostly affects the body of adults from 20 to 40 years old.

Is tapeworm dangerous for humans?


Is there a danger from such a neighborhood? Definitely yes! In addition to the fact that as a result of the vital activity of parasites, severe intoxication can occur, the owner of the parasites is deprived of a significant amount of nutrients that the worm sucks from the host's body.

Most often, anemia occurs from the proximity of a person and a tapeworm. As a result of a long illness, the waste products of the parasite accumulate in the body. Against this background, immunity is significantly reduced and becomes unable to resist infections and viruses.

Tapeworms are located in the intestines, with a sufficiently large number of them, intestinal obstruction may occur, which is fraught with severe constipation and other diseases of the rectum.

This is not the whole list of the atrocities of parasites:

  • Against the background of diphyllobothriasis, unreasonably strong weight loss very often occurs (in oriental folk medicine, some healers widely use the technique of introducing parasitic individuals into the body in order to further reduce weight, it is not even worth talking about the harm of this way of losing excess weight);
  • Diphyllobothriasis is often accompanied by neuralgic disorders;
  • Cysts can form on the internal organs, which require additional medication;
  • Sometimes the disease progresses to a stage in which the spinal cord and brain are affected;
  • Parasites have a negative effect on the entire human digestive system as a whole, causing nausea, vomiting;
  • Due to a lack of vitamins and trace elements, convulsions may appear;
  • A cough for no apparent reason occurs very often as a result of the vital activity of parasites;
  • General weakness of the body and even apathy;
  • Patients often report dizziness and hiccups.

Diagnostics - How to Find an Intestinal Tapeworm

It is impossible to independently identify the presence of tapeworm in the human body. For a full examination, you can't do without the help of a gastroenterologist. A blood test is also necessary, but it will not be possible to draw a conclusion about the presence of a tapeworm in the body based only on the results of the latter.

  • Stool analysis. This test will help detect tapeworm eggs in your feces. They cannot be seen with the naked eye. But to do this under the "sight" of a microscope is real. Keep in mind that adult tapeworms may not lay eggs every day. Therefore, for the objectivity of the picture, the feces should be taken several times at intervals of a week.
  • Blood test. This analysis will help identify antibodies that are produced from the body of tapeworms as a result of their vital activity. Their presence is strong evidence of invasive infection.

These are not all pre-treatment examinations. To see the full picture and understand the extent of the damage caused by the vital activity of parasites, a thorough analysis of all organs is required.

How can you get tapeworm infection?


How can you get tapeworm infection?

Human infection occurs when tapeworm eggs enter the body. The eggs do not fall by themselves, but with the meat of a sick animal or fish. In the case of dwarf tapeworm and dog worm, close contact with tapeworm carriers is sufficient.

The eggs themselves are not viable, and when they get into an open environment they easily die. They do not survive as a result of careful heat treatment. A large amount of salt also does not leave the parasite a chance for further life. Therefore, it is better to never take risks and do not spare the time to thoroughly cook the meat.

Experts warn. To protect yourself and your loved ones from infection with a wide tapeworm, it is worth buying unwashed fish. Then, when cutting, you will see if it is a carrier of worms. They can be easily seen in the guts. If you are convinced that the fish is sick, throw it all out completely. In no case should such meat be given to animals. They will become infected, and there will be a risk of catching this infection from them. The best thing you can do with this fish is to burn it. Only in this way will you protect yourself and your loved ones.

How are animals and fish infected? Eating on the remains of food from the ground, it is easy to pick up the eggs or larvae of parasites on it. After being eaten, they enter the animal's body, where, in a comfortable environment for themselves, they continue their vital activity, developing and multiplying.

Risk factors for tapeworm infection

There are a number of reasons why a person is at an increased risk group and the likelihood of infection with tapeworm increases many times.

  • Food culture. As a result of the systematic consumption of poorly prepared food, in particular the meat of a pig, cow or fish, a person is at much greater risk. You need to know that tapeworm larvae die during prolonged cooking at a temperature of at least 60 degrees. Prolonged freezing from -10 also leads to the death of larvae.
  • You need to make sure not only that the food is prepared properly, but also for the hygiene of your own hands.
  • Wash vegetables and fruits thoroughly. The risk of taking along with them some kind of helminthic disease is no less.
  • Not the least important is where a person lives. Thus, residents of rural areas are at increased risk. Because in the village all waste products are disposed of near human habitation.
  • There are regions where the likelihood of infection with tapeworms and other parasites increases many times, for example. Asia. Due to the fact that the local food culture involves the consumption of raw fish, you need to be extremely careful.
  • Oddly enough, even pork manure brought into the garden as fertilizer can become unsafe if some pigs have been infected with tapeworm.



Infection symptoms

Signs of the presence of tapeworm in the human body are different. And it is very important to pay attention to them in time and carry out appropriate treatment. Symptoms vary depending on the type of infection.

If the eggs of parasites enter the gastrointestinal tract, they can migrate throughout the body. As a result of this work, they are being introduced into various bodies. Later, a larva begins to develop at this place, and a cyst is formed. Such a neoplasm interferes with the normal functioning of the organ. Anything can be affected, even the brain.

Another striking symptom of the presence of a parasite in the body is an allergic reaction to it. Moreover, it can be so strong that even anaphylactic shock is likely.

While parasites are in the body, its resistance to all kinds of infections, including colds, drops significantly. In this case, the symptoms of the disease are expressed to a fairly strong degree.

In the event that the parasite has settled in the intestines, the picture is somewhat different. The absorption of substances is significantly reduced, since the parasite requires a lot of nutrition. Therefore, due to lack of nutrients, a person begins to significantly lose weight. Against this background, weakness and apathy may develop.

In special cases, when induced intestinal weakness occurs as a result of the presence of parasites there, anorexia may develop. With its body, the parasite creates an obstacle to the natural movement of human waste, therefore constipation is frequent, as the opposite may well develop and diarrhea. Due to the accumulation of worms in the abdomen, severe pain in the lower part can occur.

A clinical blood test can reveal an increase in the level of eosinophils, their content exceeds 500 per microliter of blood. Thus, the human immune system reacts to the penetration of parasites into the body.

How to remove tapeworm


How to remove tapeworm

In order for the body to work in full force in a normal mode, it is necessary to carry out competent therapeutic treatment. How to get rid of tapeworms? The first step is to carry out a complete diagnosis of the body, to identify the duration of the disease, the degree of infection. It will not be superfluous to know the size of the available tapeworms. For a full course, the doctor will also need information about all the patient's diseases, including the state of his immune system.

There are cases when the infection does not require additional intervention from doctors and the body is able to independently overcome the disease, getting rid of the parasite without intervention from the outside. But there are also situations when one medication course may not be enough and an operation will be required.

Drug treatment is reduced to the selection of drugs that have a negative effect on the ability of the worm, leading to its death. As a rule, drugs affect only adults, remaining useless in the fight against larvae, and even more so eggs. In most cases, surgery is performed to remove the larvae. There is no other way to delete them.

It should be taken into account that the tapeworm may not die immediately, but leave in parts for some time, so it is very important to keep the course until the head of the worm leaves the body.

In most cases, treatment for tapeworms begins at the stage when adults reach significant size. Therefore, their death in the body can cause severe intoxication. To prevent this from happening, about an hour after the priming of the anthelmintic agent, sorbents are prescribed that relieve intoxication and alleviate the condition.

Tapeworm medicines

The therapeutic course is necessarily carried out under the supervision of a doctor, he also selects the drugs and dosage.



Antihelminthic drug of the latest generation with a wide spectrum of action. It actively works against parasites, rapidly absorbed and excreted through the intestines. Contraindicated in a number of cases, including in the first trimester of pregnancy, breastfeeding, liver dysfunction, ocular cistericosis. The course of treatment and dosage directly depend on the type of worms. Most often, the drug is taken once and the daily rate is calculated based on the patient's weight. To improve performance, after Praziquantel, you should take a laxative, which will help free the body from excess and remove dead parasites.




It is a structural analogue of the previous drug, since praziquantel is used as the main component in it. Indications and contraindications for use are completely identical. The daily dose of the drug depends on the type of worms and the patient's weight. One course of treatment lasts one to three days. After a week, the drug must be drunk again for prevention purposes.



The drug is based on acriquin, a substance that actively fights against all sorts of helminths, including tapeworms. It acts depressingly on the body of parasites, as a result of which the latter die and are removed from the outside. It works not only against adults, but is also effective against parasite eggs.

For various diseases, the dosage and dosage regimen of the drug are individual. With tapeworms, the scheme is as follows. 800 mg of the active substance is taken per day, it is not necessary to break it into separate portions. The drug course lasts 12 days until the body is completely cleared of parasites.

On the eve of treatment, you should prepare the body by clearing the intestines. To do this, you can take a saline solution. An hour after taking the anthelmintic drug, you need to drink the laxative again.



It perfectly destroys tapeworms that settle in the human body, but due to the large number of contraindications and side effects, it is not prescribed very actively. The treatment regimen is also selected in each case based on the type of worms and the individual characteristics of the human body. The daily dosage can be from 1 to 3 g, the duration of the treatment course is determined by the attending physician.



A very popular drug, its action is aimed at cleansing the body of many parasites, including tapeworms. Often acts in combination with other drugs. The list of contraindications includes pregnancy, breastfeeding, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The peculiarity of the work of this drug is that it is not absorbed in the body and enters the intestine in full, where it begins its destructive work for parasites. For some invasions, a single dose of the drug is sufficient, but the presence of a tapeworm in the body requires long-term treatment, in some cases it can last almost ten days. The dosage in each case is determined individually.

In addition to pharmaceutical drugs, therapy is often supplemented with folk remedies. In some situations, pharmacy drugs have to be completely abandoned, for example, during pregnancy and breastfeeding, the use of anthelmintic drugs is contraindicated. Since this disease cannot be started in any case and treatment is required, the entire burden of cleansing the body of parasites falls entirely on folk remedies. In this case, you should be patient, because such treatment takes a lot of time.

Many remedies from traditional healers include pumpkin seeds, it should be borne in mind that before using the seeds in order to get rid of helminths, you do not need to fry them. The composition of teas includes tansy, chamomile, wormwood. Male fern extract is very popular. Do not be mistaken about the effectiveness of such methods, they differ from pharmacy medicines in that they require a more careful approach and special preparation of the body for their use.



Roasting meat to prevent infection

In order for the treatment to give the proper effect, and in the future there will be no repeated infections, it is necessary to follow some precautions. Personal hygiene is important. Thorough hand washing after outdoors, contact with animals and before eating.

Since tapeworm is found in animal and fish meat, special attention should be paid to food preparation. Do not allow poorly fried meat to eat.

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