Always hungry after eating?
Tapeworm infestations can be the cause of your hungry.
Are you surprised?
You may not know it, but tapeworm infestations are actually very common.
The real question is, how do you know if you got one?
In this article, I will be showing some of the warning signs you have a tapeworm infestation.
But first, I want to start off with:
What is a tapeworm?
Tapeworms are flatworms that look like tape, hence the name “tapeworm.”
They are parasites that live in your intestines.
There are two types:
- Taenia solium
- Taenia saginata
The difference between the two is the cows.
Taenia solium tapeworms live in pigs, so if you eat undercooked pork meat, you have a chance of getting one.
This type infects humans most often and can also be found in dogs and cats.
Taenia saginata is found more in cows.
So, if you eat undercooked beef, you have a better chance of getting infested.
Now let us look at the signs.
8 warning signs you have a tapeworm in your stomach
Most people with tapeworm infection have no symptoms, but some individuals may experience…
1. Abdominal pain
Tapeworm infections, especially when they are in the intestines, can cause acute abdominal pain.
The pain is often described as a sharp pain that may come and go.
For example, one study found that a 70-year-old man who had a tapeworm infestation experienced vomiting and colicky abdominal pain.
2. Hungry all the time
It’s no surprise that a tapeworm makes you hungry.
When a tapeworm attaches itself to your intestines, it absorbs nutrients from the food you eat.
The fact of the matter is that tapeworms have no digestive tract.
So they absorb the nutrients directly from the gut leaving you hungry after every meal.
Read more: 10 Reasons You’re Still Hungry After Eating
Who hasn’t experienced the discomfort of diarrhea at some point, right?
However, diarrhea that persists over a few days can indicate low-level food poisoning.
Another possible cause that you may not have considered is a tapeworm living in your digestive tract.
A tapeworm can grow to be several feet long.
Since they require a host to survive, tapeworms attach themselves to the walls of your intestines and absorb the nutrients from your food.
The tapeworm could also be producing substances that upset your digestive system, leading to diarrhea.
4. Pass a tapeworm in your stool
This is probably one of the most obvious signs that you have a tapeworm.
Most people with tapeworms pass proglottids or segments of tapeworms in their bowel movements.
In some cases, you might pass a whole tapeworm.
According to KidsHealth, if the infected worm feces manages to get into the ground or water, it may infect other people or animals.
5. Itching in the anal area
Tapeworms can cause intense itching in the anal area.
This feeling of intense itching can also be accompanied by burning and soreness.
The tapeworms that cause the most itching in the anal area are the ones that infest in the rectum and lower colon.
6. Loss of appetite
One common sign that you have a tapeworm infestation in your stomach is loss of appetite.
This is because the tapeworm absorbs essential nutrients like proteins and carbohydrates through its body.
Additionally, some tapeworms produce toxins that cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.
All of these symptoms will contribute to a loss of appetite.
7. Weight loss
Another symptom of tapeworm infestation is weight loss.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include weight loss as a symptom of a tapeworm infestation.
Of course, you may be losing weight because the tapeworms are absorbing some of your nutrients.
After all, they do not have a digestive system.
8. Fatigue and weakness
The constant process of nutrient loss may also lead to fatigue and weakness.
Tapeworms absorb a large amount of nutrients from the food that you consume.
This can lead to a decrease in energy and strength.
How Are You Diagnosed?
Because the signs of tapeworm infection are so similar to other intestinal infections, it’s not easy to diagnose.
The best way is often through a stool test.
Your doctor may also ask you to pass some of the proglottids if they haven’t yet passed out on their own.
But it’s possible that there may be no proglottids or even tapeworm segments.
Since the process of passing a tapeworm can take several days, they may have already passed out before you get to the doctor.
So, they will most likely perform a stool test to find out.
What Are The Treatments?
Your doctor will prescribe an anti-parasitic medicine that is effective in killing the tapeworm and its eggs.
For example, praziquantel is a medication that kills tapeworm.
You may be given this drug as a pill or as an injection depending on how severe your condition is.
If a serious condition called cysticercosis is present, you will need surgery to remove the tapeworm.
Prevention Is Key
Please remember that prevention is always better than cure.
There are lots of ways to avoid acquiring a tapeworm in the first place.
Most importantly, make sure you practice good hygiene.
When traveling in areas where tapeworm infection is common, be extra cautious of food and cooking practices.
Most importantly, avoid eating uncooked or undercooked meats and fish.
When to see your GP
You should see a GP if you have frequent, persistent diarrhea or see any worms in your stools.
In any case, if you suspect that you have a tapeworm infection, see your doctor as soon as possible.
He or she will be able to diagnose you through a stool test.