What Should You Do If You Have Stomach Worms?

TikTok has many recommendations, some good and some not so good. TikTok is the place to go for fun dance videos that make you want to move. Nonetheless, you should be careful about following health or nutrition advice from random sources. An example is the new TikTok trend of eating papaya seeds or buying deworming pills in a battle against stomach worms (probably imaginary).

Thousands of users on TikTok are diagnosing themselves with stomach worms, taking supplements such as ParaGuard or papaya seeds, and then treating themselves by drinking water or eating papaya seeds. Deworming also alleviates bloating, sugar cravings, and digestive problems for people who have already done it. These TikTokers give the impression that just about everyone has parasitic worms inside their stomachs. However, that’s not true.

The Cleveland Clinic’s gastroenterologist, Dr. Christine Lee, says stomach worms are not unknown to Americans. Her professor says U.S. residents are relatively unlikely to acquire stomach worms. Around 20 to 42 million Americans are estimated to be infected with roundworms – which is a general term for several types of parasitic worms. Despite that high number, parasitic worms are primarily found in children, according to the Cleveland Clinic, and between 6 and 12 percent of the population is infected.

There’s as much chance of worms in their poop actually being there as they claim to see on TikTok.

What are the symptoms of stomach worms

People don’t explain why they suspect they might have stomach worms in many of the TikTok videos. Intestinal parasites cause symptoms similar to other gastrointestinal illnesses, which is why some people with stomach worms can go years without feeling any symptoms. There are certain symptoms you may experience if you have stomach worms, including nausea, vomiting, gas, bloating, and bloody diarrhea, as well as fatigue and unexplained weight loss. In addition, Mount Sinai Health System says that noticing a worm in your poop is a red flag. It is possible to see worms in the toilet of people with stomach worms.

The doctor urges you to visit a provider rather than buy papaya seeds or supplements if you suspect you have stomach worms. The only thing a doctor needs to confirm the presence of parasites in your stomach is a poop sample, according to Dr. Lee. If your poop contains worms, you will see traces of them.

According to Mount Sinai Health System, you can also have worms hanging around your anus, so a test called the “Scotch tape” can be performed. Then, a doctor will examine the tape under a microscope to see if there are any worms. Finally, a doctor may recommend an X-ray for worm detection, though this step might be unnecessary, says Mount Sinai Health System.

Stomach worms: what causes them and how do you avoid them

It is contagious to have stomach worms. It’s easy for these parasites to live inside humans or animals, and they’ll do anything to spread. In other words, if someone who has stomach worms goes to the bathroom and doesn’t wash their hands and then touches you or touches a surface that you also touch and then touches your mouth without washing their hands, you can get stomach worms. The gastroenterologist Carolyn Newberry, MD, of Weill Cornell Medicine, calls this “fecal-oral transmission.”

When you’re in places with inadequate sanitation systems, you’re likely to experience fecal-oral transmission as well. You might get stomach worms if you swallow some water from a lake where animals poop or where a sewer has overflowed and human waste has been washed into the water. You can also get parasites from water used to wash foods or to cook food in developing countries with rudimentary sanitation systems. Even if you don’t drink tap water, you could still get parasites from water that you use to cook or wash food.

Washing produce is crucial, even in the United States, says Dr. Lee. Organic fruits and vegetables are just better to eat, people think if they’re labeled organic. A product is organic if it does not contain pesticides. However, it doesn’t mean natural fertilizer wasn’t used, since natural fertilizer is manure.”

In order to prevent stomach worms, Dr. Lee recommends practicing good hygiene. Hands should be washed. You should wash your produce. You should thoroughly cook any meat you eat, especially pork. While hiking or traveling in a rural area, be sure to bring water. When you have no other choice but to sanitize your water, make sure you know how.

Let me ask you a question about those papaya seeds

It didn’t just happen that papaya seeds could help treat stomach worms but they are not as random as they might seem. These treatments aren’t scientifically sound, either, for stomach worms. Dr. Lee cites two sources as evidence. The seeds from papaya have been used in livestock feed for several years to ward off parasites. According to University of Delaware’s program in Animal Science, pulverized papaya seeds may work effectively to treat parasites in goats

Do humans experience the same thing? The doctor says. A single study on humans has been cited on TikTok. Otherwise, there is no data. During this 2007 study, 60 Nigerian children who were asymptomatic but had evidence of parasites in their poop were either given a spoonful of honey or a spoonful of honey mixed with four grams of papaya seeds. Study participants reported having thoroughly cleared their stool of parasites following treatment with papaya seeds, according to the study. Despite this, papaya seeds have too little scientific evidence to justify their use, especially for people without a confirmed stomach worm diagnosis with their doctors and in a country where other, FDA-approved medications are easily available, Dr. Lee says.

According to her, the 2007 study didn’t investigate the side effects or toxicities of kids who ate papaya seeds. She says papaya seeds do contain traces of cyanide. We are a little concerned about human safety when you start concentrating four grams of dried seeds.”

This is how stomach worms should be treated

In reality, a doctor wouldn’t recommend the use of unregulated supplements such as ParaGuard or papaya seeds to treat stomach worms. ParaGuard is a combination of herbs and natural foods like walnut hull, wormwood, pumpkin seeds, and garlic that Amazon does not claim to get rid of parasites. Instead, it states that it helps “keep a healthy balance of intestinal microflora.” Mount Sinai claims certain herbs can treat parasites. You should always work with your doctor to find a treatment plan, as some herbs can be toxic, or can interfere with certain drugs.

A drug called albendazole is likely to be prescribed instead, says Dr. Lee. She says albendazole is monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “And that’s how they can get the most updated percentage of people in the U.S. that are affected because you can track how much is prescribed.” Albendazole is a pill taken by mouth for anywhere between eight and 30 days to rid your body of parasites.

The most important reason not to self-diagnose

It’s unlikely that everyone who posts on TikTok about stomach worms has them. If you have frequent diarrhea or upset stomach, but are concerned about stomach worms, there are many other GI illnesses that could cause your symptoms, Dr. Lee says.

Celiac disease – an autoimmune condition that makes your body attack itself when you eat gluten – or irritable bowel syndrome – a digestive disorder that causes diarrhea, stomach pain, or constipation when triggered. You might also suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, which is characterized by inflammation in your gut. A viral gastroenteritis, in which inflammation, swelling, irritation, and blisters develop inside the digestive tract lining, could also result.

A person who diagnoses and treats himself or herself for stomach worms, however, runs the greatest risk of suffering side effects from herbal supplements containing unregulated herbs or concentrates of papaya seeds. The second most common mistake is believing you have cured yourself when you may actually be suffering from another illness. This is why it is so important to talk with your doctor if you experience the same symptoms.

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