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Human Tapeworm Facts

This article on human tapeworm facts is an eye opener on the dangers these intestinal parasites pose on humans. Learn how to tackle tapeworms before it is too late.
Kulbhushaan Raghuvanshi
Do you eat good healthy food and drink healthy liquids? You are a regular at the gym and workout almost 5 days a week. You avoid eating oily food and have your alcohol just once a week. Still there are times when you suffer from stomach uneasiness, diarrhea, vomiting, loose stools and loss of appetite. You can't understand what's going on because according to your routine, you don't consume anything harmful for the body. So why the problems? May be you ignored the fact that you could be suffering from a human tapeworm.
Human tapeworms, also known as cestodes, are intestinal parasites which reside in the stomach of humans. They are stomach worms and the reason they are called tapeworms because they are flattened like a measuring tape. Tapeworms are one of the oldest parasites known to humans. They vary in size; a tapeworm can measure from 6 inches to 30 inches in humans. One of the most interesting facts is that tapeworms can live inside a human for more than 30 years. Spooky isn't it! Now if you want to know more about this intestinal parasite and ensure that it doesn't make your intestine its home, it's important that you know tapeworm facts.
Facts on Human Tapeworms
Tapeworms are usually found in people who consume undercooked meat on a larger basis. They can cause a lot of damage to the stomach and to the human body on the whole. Here are some more tapeworm facts which will help you know this creature better.
  • Tapeworms cannot survive without the host. They can only live inside the host's body and are unable to live outside the body.
  • There are four types of tapeworms which are the most common; they are beef tapeworms, dwarf tapeworms, fish tapeworms and pork tapeworms. The most common type of tapeworm in the US is the beef tapeworm as beef is consumed on a large basis.
  • The whole body of a tapeworm usually consists of a head, neck and various segments which are known as proglottids.
  • Tapeworms can live inside the host for many decades without causing any trouble which is why many humans display shock when they find out that their stomach was the perfect home for a tapeworm.
  • One of the main causes of tapeworm infections is the consumption of raw or uncooked meats. Animals such as pigs and cows have living larvae in their muscle tissue and if the meat is properly cooked there's no need to worry about this larvae. However, humans consuming uncooked meat will let the larvae inside their stomach and the worm will dwell in the stomach.
  • Another interesting fact about tapeworms is that they can also spread through water and soil. Soil or water gets infected with tapeworms when animals pass out tapeworm larvae in their stools. If this infected soil or water comes close to any food then that food can also get contaminated.
  • More than 50 million people get affected by tapeworms in the US and most of these cases go undetected. In just 1% of cases tapeworm causes a very deadly neurological disorder called neurocysticercosis.
  • Many people have a wrong idea that embryos transform into adult tapeworms, this is false. What happens is that the embryos make a hole in their hosts abdominal lining and enter into the blood stream. Once they are in host's blood stream they use veins and arteries as a traveling medium and get themselves transported to various organs of the body. The moment the embryo finds its home (which is a muscle or an organ) it forms a sac in which it will remain inactive until it gets into the body of another host (In this case the other host is humans).
It's very important to maintain a hygienic environment around you to prevent the tapeworm infestation. To prevent tapeworm infection in your stomach for good it's very necessary that you refrain from eating undercooked meat. Tapeworms are eliminated from the stomach through antibiotics and medication, for severe cases doctors also advise colon cleansing.