If you think your having a bad day, just think about how this woman felt as doctors removed an eight foot tapeworm from her body. The woman identified only as Mrs. Li, wasn't feeling very well and went to her doctor and the news he had for her almost made her faint, according to the New York Daily News on June 15.
The Chinese woman, who is in her 30s, got the tapeworm from eating undercooked beef when traveling on holiday in Southeast Asia. Tapeworms lay eggs on animal cysts, like a cow, and if the beef isn't cooked all the way through, the eggs survive.
When a human eats a piece of meat with the eggs still alive, the eggs can hatch and grow in humans. This tapeworm grew really big. The woman said the thought of having this eight-foot worm inside of her is "disgusting and almost makes me want to faint."
Just hearing about the parasite growing to that size is enough to make anyone hearing about it feel sick. Tapeworms made the woman have stomach pain, but that isn't always the case for someone hosting a tapeworm
According to the Mayo Clinic you might not have any symptoms if you are hosting a tapeworm. Symptoms often depend on where the larvae have migrated inside your body.
The earliest symptoms of a tapeworm are nausea, weakness, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, diarrhea and weight loss. Even if you are eating the same amount of food, the tapeworm absorbs a good deal of the nutriments in the food resulting in weight loss.
Because the tapeworm usually results in the host losing weight, yes it has been used as a diet aid. Doctors warn against this, but that hasn't stopped some from purposely ingesting tapeworm larvae in a pill.
Last year an Iowa woman purchased a tapeworm pill off the Internet and swallowed it. She went to her doctors because she didn't know how to get it out of her, as reported in an archived article from Today.
People have actually tried the tapeworm diet, which is extremely dangerous and it although rare, it could lead to death. Dr. Patricia Quinllsk, the medical director of the Iowa Department of Public Health said:
“Ingesting tapeworms is extremely risky and can cause a wide range of undesirable side effects, including rare deaths.”