Tapeworms (Cestodes) belong to the flatworms (Plathelminthes). There are well over 3000 different types. All types of tapeworms live as parasites in the intestines of their ultimate hosts. However, they themselves do not have a digestive tract (endoparasites). The structure consists of a head (scolex) and the limbs (proglottids). In addition, tapeworms are hermaphrodites and can therefore fertilize themselves. The eggs are taken up by an intermediate host and, as fins - this is how the larvae are called - settle in its muscles. Humans then take them through food, e.g. in the form of pork to yourself. The finished tapeworm then arises in the intestine. This draws its nutrients from the intestinal wall.

Read more on the topic: Intestinal parasites


How a person gets a tapeworm, depends on the subspecies of the tapeworm. There is Beef tapeworm (Taenia saginata) and the Pork tapeworm (Taenia solium). When Finns eat half-raw or raw beef or pork, they can get into the human intestine and develop into tapeworms.
There is also the benign dog tapeworm (Echinococcus granulosus) and the malicious fox tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis). With these tapeworms the Human mistakenly to the carrier. This is also known as a false host. The tapeworm eggs are in the faeces of the respective animal. In the form of contaminated forest fruits or mushrooms they then get into people. They can also be found on unwashed fruits and vegetables that have come into contact with appropriate fertilizers. Your own house dog is also a potential vector. Ultimately there is still that Fish tapeworm (Diphyllobothrium latum). Humans become infected primarily through the consumption of raw fish products.


Often those affected notice this Tapeworm eggs or components of the tapeworm in one's own stool. Sometimes the individual limbs still move like little threads in a chair. You can only get certainty if you have one Submit stool sample to doctor. This can give a better assessment with the help of a microscope.
If the tapeworm has colonized humans as a false host and spreads throughout the body, further diagnostic methods come into question. A direct evidence takes place e.g. over a biopsy or one Ophthalmoscopy. Neuroradiology can also be consulted. By CT and MRI can Cysts with tapeworm components can be easily detected thanks to the good resolution.
For the Pork tapeworm there is also one specific and sensitive antibody test, which allows detection by means of a blood sample and immunoblot.


Most of the symptoms associated with a tapeworm infection are more likely unspecific and very versatile. Those affected often complain about ubiquitous Abdominal pain without clear localization. There is also a Sensation of pressure and fullness. It happens correspondingly frequently Loss of appetite and Weight loss. Sometimes the patients also suffer from Nausea with vomiting, as well as one Alternation of diarrhea and constipation. A Itching in the anal region also increases the level of suffering.

Especially dangerous and life-threatening is infection with the eggs of the Fox tapeworm. The larvae can in all organs and destroy them. There are often several years between the first contact and the onset of the disease in which the parasite can spread unnoticed. The liver in particular is affected.
The relative Dog tapeworm is however more harmless. But it can also relate to its larvae in various organs such as the lungs and so on cough cause.
If accidentally eggs of the Pig tapeworm e.g. can be absorbed by one's own feces from it a serious disease, the Cystiscercosis, result.

The Complaints then depend on the affected organ and range from muscle pain to neurological failures.
Sometimes remains the infection with a tapeworm too completely unnoticed.
From harmless dwarf tapeworm are e.g. tens of millions of people populated without any symptoms.
The also behaves with few symptoms Fish tapeworm. At chronic infection however, he can do one Vitamin B12 anemia cause.

Is flatulence a sign of tapeworm infestation?

Since, as already described, the symptoms of a tapeworm infestation are very diverse, everything and nothing can indicate a tapeworm. Flatulence can be a sign of an inflammatory process in the intestines and can certainly occur in the context of a tapeworm disease. But flatulence is not a symptom that is indicative and specific.

Rather, the overall context must be considered:
Are there any other complaints that make the diagnosis likely?
Can you remember events that make tapeworm infection possible?
Pass the Flatulence only recently, is the root cause probably somewhere else to search. The most common triggers are gas that causes gas.

Symptoms in children suggesting tapeworm infestation

If you suspect tapeworm disease, it is worth talking to other mothers who may have noticed the same symptoms in their children. Infection is possible through the oral intake of feces. The Symptoms are no different from those of adults. Abdominal pain and nausea are just as common. A anal itching is most often due to an infection with pinworms (Enterobius vermicularis) in children. The children itch especially at night on the bottom, when the worms crawl out to lay their eggs. Many different differential diagnoses can be considered for childhood abdominal pain, most of which are more likely than a tapeworm. A Clarification by the pediatrician is advisable in any case.


The time span from ingestion of the tapeworm eggs to the onset of the disease (incubation period) depends on the life cycle of the tapeworm. It takes weeks to months for a worm to fully develop and reproduce. Beef and pork tapeworms can live up to 20 years. A fecal-oral infection risk consists during the entire duration of the disease.

How do I treat tapeworms?

The tapeworm disease should always be treated, even if they are not considered to be dangerous. The treatment is varies depending on the tapeworm. Usually one is drug therapy sufficient and only in rare cases surgical intervention is required.

The drugs used to kill the tapeworm are called anthelmintics. examples for this are Albendazole, Mebendazole and Praziquantel.
At the Pork and beef tapeworm is a Single dose often sufficient.
When dangerous Fox tapeworm need the medication frequently lifelong be taken. Is a Family member affected, should too check out everyone else and may have to be treated as well.
Also, some need hygienic measures be seized. These range from washing your hands thoroughly after using the toilet to boiling towels and bed linen.

Tapeworm Diet

Surely everyone has heard of it at some point. It is easy to lose weight with a tapeworm diet. The assumption is that the Tapeworm uses the ingested food itself. You don't gain any weight yourself and you can even eat more than before. Of course, some try to make a profit from this thesis and offer capsules with supposed tapeworm eggs.

One should, however refrain from this diet and question them critically. At first it is unclear what is really hidden in the capsules, which in itself is very much harmful consequences may have. Even if the capsule could develop into a tapeworm, it must not necessarily a weight loss to adjust. So far there are no serious studies that the tapeworm diet works. she brings more harm than good.