I Have Worms

Derek Personal Stuff 62 Comments

Starting this evening (Saturday), my website might be down on and off over the next couple of days as I work on some things. It should take about 24-48 hours to complete so I expect everything to be back up and running as normal by the end of the weekend.

In the meantime, I didn’t sit down at my computer today simply to provide you with that tidbit of relatively useless information. Even with the possibility of my website being down temporarily, I still want to put up a post. And so I thought I’d use this time to tell you something about me that I have never told you before.

I have worms.

That’s right, worms. I’m not talking about a worm farm or a bag of worms that I carry around with me at all times, but actual worms who seem to have set up quite a comfortable community within my intestines.

Picture this. There I am, during my time as a Tour Manager on board the Queen Mary 2 Ocean Liner, walking into the Officer’s Mess after a long day of work. (Okay, my day actually included a helicopter ride over a volcano and a few hours at the beach but that’s far less dramatic of an opening).

Anyway, I take a seat at my usual table and the waitress soon brings me a menu. After a quick glance at the day’s culinary offerings, I look up at Ivanka (she’s the waitress), our eyes connect and we both smile.

“Everything, no meat?” she asks. I reply with a simple nod of my head, just as I had done every single meal of every single day since my contract had started.

And then, over the following 45 minutes or so, there I would sit, at a table under a series of windows, glancing out at the Pacific Ocean rolling ever so gently by, eating what had now become a typical meal for me. Basically, I would eat at least one of everything on the menu that did not contain red meat (I stopped eating red meat after my first trip to India).

I polished off a large Caesar salad, slurped up a bowl of french onion soup and then devoured a vegetable samosa. Next came the plate of mozzarella cheese and tomato, along with some fresh bread. This was followed by the vegetable lasagne and a plate of chicken curry with rice, and of course, one order of the ginger chili salmon. Finally, I moved onto the desserts, which included a piece of apple pie, a bowl of mixed fruit and a slice of chocolate lava cake.

Other officers would come and go and yet, I, the eating freak, would remain, still trying to satisfy my hunger. Eventually, I would get bored and would leave, but usually I walked out of the mess still somewhat hungry.

This actually went on for almost a year as it took a remarkably long time for me to realize that such an appetite was not normal. What I also failed to realize at the time was that the consumption of such large quantities of food should not be causing me to lose weight either. It was during this year long eating binge that I actually dropped down to the lowest weight of my life.

THE DISCOVERY

Eventually, I decided to pay a visit to the medical staff on board the ship, where, after I had described my symptoms to the doctor, blood was drawn and several other tests were performed. And a week later, when I was called back to the medical center while we were en route to New Zealand, the nurse informed me that I was the proud host of a community of worms.

At least it was a multi-cultural community, with a healthy mix of both pinworms and roundworms, which, according to the doctor, could have been picked up from any number of countries I’d visited during my extensive travels around the developing world.

Since the most common way to end up with such worms is after an infected person scratches their anal area and then touches or prepares food that is then ingested by someone else, this conclusion really didn’t seem too far-fetched, considering all of the unhygienic street stalls I’ve ever eaten at.

The ship doctor decided to prescribe the strongest medicine possible in order to try and kill all of my worms in one shot. And after only one month, it began to work, although I did have to deal with side effects that included stomach pains, headaches and intense nightmares.

But after that first month, I no longer felt the need to eat the entire menu for lunch and dinner, which not only helped me shake off my reputation as an eating freak but also reduced the cruise line’s monthly food expenses I’d imagine.

The only problem, and some might say that this was a significant problem, was that six months later, the worms seemed to reappear. I actually never saw the worms reappear myself but I’m quite sure they moved back in. (I chose not to try the cellophane-tape-applied-to-the-lower-opening-of-the-digestive-track method of confirming this hunch.)

All I know is that my absurd appetite returned and once again, I felt hungry all day long, no matter what I had already eaten. As a result, I was forced to take another round of medication.

That was in 2009.

Am I worm-free now? I don’t think so. My appetite is still abnormally large as I regularly throw down three tostadas, two tacos, a quesadilla and a mega-huarache in one sitting here in Mexico. But I’m not losing any more weight at least and I actually feel healthier than ever before.

So what’s the point of all this? Naturally, it’s to bring your attention to the fact that there just may come a day when, after your travels are over, you find yourself wolfing down your ninth chicken parmigiana of the evening, and you start to wonder if that cup of water you drank in a small village in eastern Nepal was such a good idea after all. Or whether or not your favorite street vendor in Panama, the one who shook your hand often and prepared your meals almost every day, ever washed his hands.

When we travel, especially to developing nations in tropical climates, there is always the possibility that we’ll collect more than life-changing memories and a backpack full of souvenirs. We might bring home worms as well, which by the way, should technically be declared on our Customs Declaration Forms, especially if you want to avoid the wrath of your government.

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Comments 62

  1. Dan

    For several months I’d regularly been seeing pieces of light-colored things that might have been worm segments in my stool, but I was in denial.

    Then I was cleaning my gutter with a leaf blower that had stagnant stinky (really stinky) water in it, and it blew all over me and I’m sure I ingested some of it. About 4 days later I got diarrhea, and after that my stools were consistently mushy (somewhat rubbery).

    I bought a microscope. I saw a microscopic segmented worm that I’m sure was a newborn tapeworm, but it was not moving.

    So I went to the doctor. He had me do the stool sample thing for a pathologist. The pathologist found NOTHING! So I went back to my family doctor and reminded him that I saw a worm and asked him to prescribe something. He through up his hands and said he was just a family doctor and that I needed to see a specialist.

    So I went to a gastroenterologist. I actually was only able to see his PA. She wanted to do an ELISA test but I insisted that I didn’t want any more tests, I wanted some praziquantel (biltricide, for tapeworm). She relented and prescribed Biltricide.

    I think the Biltricide killed the tapeworm. However, my mushy stools continued. So I checked my microscope again.

    THIS TIME, I saw two other kinds of nasty worm in my stool. They not segmented worms. I was going nuts now. I figured I must have gotten these from that nasty gutter water than blew in my face.

    So in a panic I went to Walmart and bought something for cats (piperazine) and drank a 2.5 gram dose of it. I did see something in my stool later that looked suspicious, since it was a long streak down my stool of light-colored stuff. Really odd that it ran the length of my stool.

    So I checked under the microscope again. Worms were coiled all over the place! I went back to Walmart and bought some wormer for dogs that contained “fenbendazole” which is not approved for human use. I consumed 6 grams one day and followed up by 6 grams the next day. This had NO EFFECT on the consistency of my stool and I continued to see worms under the ‘scope.

    I went back to see my GI doctor’s PA. She insisted that I have a colonoscopy, which she scheduled for 2 days later. The night before the colonoscopy, I used “Suprep” (a prescription concentrated sulfate solution) to purge my bowel.

    The next morning, I had the colonoscopy. The doctor saw no sign of worms. I asked him about this. He said that a number of his patients had their symptoms disappear after the colonoscopy. He seemed to be agreeing with me that the SUPREP solution could be eliminating the cause of his patients’ problems.

    So, one thing you could do if you have worms that won’t go away with a simple Biltricide pill is: Get your doctor to prescribed SUPREP to purge your colon. Then skip the colonoscopy and see if you are cured. You can also try the cat and dog wormers from Walmart.

  2. Caroline

    Hi Vivian,

    Did you find out what was causing your problems? What test(s) was/were used to determine the problem?

    I recently retuned from Morocco. I developed an extreme cough before retuning home. I was very ill, extreme, like stabbing stomach pains for weeks and weeks after my retun to the states. Sometimes the pain would not even allow me to walk. Experienced some fever and other bodily upsets. I travel extensively and this is the first time I have become ill. Since returning home I have been to doctors, specialists, who ordered test after test, all of which came back “normal”.

    The symptoms have eased up but the stomach/abdominal pain continues only now at a less intense level. Kind of sounds like your experience: tests “normal” but symptoms continue.

    I dread another round of doctors/testing, but if these symptoms continue I guess I will have to do it. The thought of worms living in my instestines will be more disturbing than more medical testing.

    Let me know if you were successful in finding a treatment.

  3. Vivian

    Sorry for my long comment post above. Just wanted to put my personal experience of dealing with (highly suspected) parasites out there.

    Earl, I have a question — what kinds of tests did the medical staff order for you, which so successfully and so quickly identified parasites?

    As I mentioned in my long comment above, I’ve taken everything from stool to blood to ultrasound tests (each of them taken “only” once, so that might be a factor to consider), and they all came out negative despite the symptoms I was still experiencing. I’ve read around on the internet and it seems that it is not unusual for parasites to be diagnosed too late or never at all (even when the patient has them) because general family doctors are incompetent/inexperienced in the field of human parasitology — they may not know what cues to look for, etc.

    I’d like to request the methods of testing you undertook.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Vivian – To be honest, I don’t remember the tests exactly but they were all from drawing blood. However, I do remember that they couldn’t exactly pinpoint what kind of parasites or worms I had in addition to the pinworms and roundworms (given my symptoms and test results they believed there were others as well) so they prescribed a medication that generally kills about 90% of the possible options, everything except for a few rarer types of worms. And that seemed to work quite well, at least for a while.

  4. Vivian

    Thanks so much for this post!

    Ever since my trip to Mainland China last year in August 2012, I’ve been infected with pinworms (and most likely other types of parasites as well). The symptoms began halfway through the vacation stay — one day I suddenly experienced severe anal itching, constipation, diarrhea, spontaneous intestinal and body twitching (which I NEVER had before) and overall general malaise. After returning to Canada, these symptoms persisted, so I realized that my symptoms weren’t just due to “eating foreign varieties of food” or whatnot. It was something more serious.
    So I researched my symptoms on the internet, and concluded that I certainly had pinworms (at the very least). So I went to my doctor and ordered a stool test to be done. Unsurprisingly, as stool tests are so notoriously inaccurate and useless, the results were negative, so my doctor refused to prescribe me anti-parasitic medication. I was furious, but there was nothing I could really do about it since I need my doctor’s permisson to obtain the right medication.

    Well, after that I decided to maybe wait it out and see if the (suspected) parasites would go away on their own without medication. Bad idea; my symptoms of anal itching and constipation gradually went away over the span of a few months, but the rest of the symptoms remained and, the worst of all, new symptoms appeared — symptoms that were quite alarming. Throughout the months from October until January, I began experiencing localized, left-hemisphere sharp and throbbing pain in my brain. This was not a usual headache — this pain was always localized on the left side in the same spot, and was constant for 24/7 (sometimes the pain would decrease to a dull general throb, but it was always still there). I feared I had developed some sort of tumor, and wanted to get a cerebral fMRI or CAT scan, but unfortunately didn’t have the money to order one (my parents and I have a terrible relationship so they usually don’t allow me to partake in their health insurance benefits).

    The localized brain pain eventually got worse — my left eye started to “pop out” ever so slightly (I could tell the location was displaced through feeling, the mirror, and when I went to apply eyeliner where my eye seemed “pushed out”). It was as if the left side of my brain started swelling up, thus pushing my left eye out a tiny bit. The consequences of this displacement was that the moisture in my left eye dried up very quickly, hence I almost always had to keep my left eyelid closed, or else the dryness would very quickly hurt. People were always asking what was wrong since my left eye was always closed.

    Some neurological symptoms arose as well — I started getting spontaneous bodily twitching, and became extremely fatigued and sleepy ALL THE TIME. Sleep not only made the brain pain go away momentarily — I absolutely HAD to sleep all the time because for some reason, I had crippling daytime sleepiness (which I’ve NEVER experienced before). I would sleep up to 18 hours a day, not ever feeling refreshed upon waking. Sleeping my life away, nothing would get done of course — I had to quit my job and drop multiple classes from my schedule. I thought I had somehow, strangely, developed “Idiopathic Hypersomnia”. At this point, I bet you’re wondering why, in the face of these severe symptoms, I didn’t seek another doctor or just straight up go to the ER. I honestly wished I did, but at the time, having no medical support, the cost of an fMRI scan would be entirely out-of-pocket for a broke college student like me. So stupidly, since the brain pain seemed constant (i.e. did not appear to be increasing in strength), I decided to wait it out and see if it would go away by itself.
    It actually did, one fateful day — after living several months with the brain pain (from Oct 2012–Jan 2013), it miraculously vanished one night in January after running a very high fever (104F). My left-eye displacement also gradually returned to normal after the brain pain disappeared. To this day, there is no longer any pain, although a weird feeling of “something foreign being lodged in my left brain” still lingers, like some sort of small pebble in my head or something.

    Looking back, I suspect that there may have been A WORM IN MY BRAIN. (I’ve researched my symptoms, and the high fever I had seems to correlate to the “larvae” finally dying and then releasing inflammatory agents upon shrinking and solidifying.) Assuming that was the case, the thought of it is absolutely *disgusting*.

    Near the end of January I also developed other alarming symptoms — constant 24/7 intense pain in my liver area along with what seems to be allergic-induced itching on the skin on top of the pain area (may indicate that a “foreign” agent is under there causing both the pain and the rash), nausea from the liver pain, and also periodic and continual partial blurriness in my right eye (also with an occasional sensation of itchiness in the exact same area of the right eye where the blurriness seems to be).

    The pain in my liver area has died down quite a bit since January, but it is nonetheless still there as I still feel irritation, skin itching, and a dull aching “blockage” pain there. Meanwhile, all my other symptoms — spontaneous intestinal twitching, right eye blurriness, and the occasional creepy feeling of *something* small writhing in my rectal region — are still here.

    It’s important to mention that I had NEVER had these types of illnesses/symptoms *before* my trip to China, so I really suspect I picked up something nasty during the vacation.

    I have since done more testing — blood tests and a full abdominal ultrasound scan last month. Strangely, they both came out as “unremarkable” even though the lingering liver pain and other symptoms mentioned above are still here. So I will be going directly to my local city’s hospital soon — they have a specialized unit for “Tropical & Infectious Diseases”, where parasitologist doctors can be found.

    Hopefully they’ll be able to identify the cause(s) of my symptoms and prescribe me the medication to treat them successfully. I sure hope I don’t have Liver Flukes…

  5. Bram

    I love your honesty, Earl, and the humor as well! I don’t know if I would want to tell the world if I ever have invertebrates living inside me 🙂 How are things going now?

  6. Pingback: Travel Blog Roundup (April 27) | Budget Your Trip

  7. Line

    Hey – interesting post 🙂 Being a parasitologist I’m kind of curious – do you know what worms you had??? Hope you get rid of them soon as some of them have some not so noce long term effects. On the bright side, some studies have shown that people exposed to parasites are less likely to develop allergies and autoimmune diseases 😉

    1. Earl

      @Line: Well, interestingly, I spent last week doing a bit of a cleanse that involved a 2 day fast and taking a pill called “Vermox”. And to be honest, I’ve lost a bit of weight since then but from what I’ve read, this is quite common once the worms are flushed out of one’s system. So perhaps it worked this time around.

      Although, the other thing you mentioned is interesting as well. I also believe that being exposed to certain parasites can be beneficial. It only makes sense, especially for travelers who find themselves in places that put stress on their untested immune systems. I definitely credit the two years plus I’ve spent in India for helping keep me healthy throughout my adventures!

    1. Earl

      Hey Joe – I say keep on eating street food but throw in a medical check for worms every now and then 🙂 That’s my plan anyway!

  8. Laura

    First, your description of how you may have gotten the worms has me slightly put off about eating cheaply prepared street food again 😉 I got tested for worms a few years ago after not feeling so hot upon my return from Africa. People were shocked to hear that, but I always said “Oh it’s no big deal, if you get worms, you just take some medicine and that’s the end of it.” Now, I’m starting to see that that might not always be the case! I drink local water alot (as I did most of the way through Africa) but maybe next time I should be a little more cautious… I’m glad you’re feeling healthy, but I feel bad for your travel food budget!

    1. Earl

      Hey Laura – That’s quite bold to drink the local water throughout Africa! When I think of my worms the first thing I think about are the couple of times I drank local water in India. And yes, my food budget is affected, which is probably why I stick to developing countries where good, cheap street food can be found everywhere 🙂

  9. Bluegreen Kirk

    i never quite got when someone ate a lot why my grandmother would say you must have worms but now i understand. You basically were feeding your little friends instead of yourself. This really makes you cautious of where you eat.

    1. Earl

      @Bluegreen Kirk: That’s a good point. It is a phrase that one hears as a child without really thinking about what it means. But that’s right, all of that food goes straight to the worms! Not really a pleasant thought at all.

  10. Justin | Mazzastick

    Earl,

    Thanks for sharing.haha. The way you described how worms get into food makes me reconsider eating someone elses cooking. Yikes man. Oh well, I guess it’s better to live dangerously than not at all.

    1. Earl

      Hey Justin – Another statement I agree with! All of my adventures are always worth it in the end, even if they result in worms. I’ll take worms over some of the other illnesses that travelers pick up from time to time!

  11. Karen Ho fatt

    I cannot say I envy you. My mom used to tell us stories about deworming us as kids. Our farm animals, especially the pups would always have roundworms-that is why deworming them is a necessity. The new show’ Monsters in side me are a reminder of that’ time.

    I hope you can the proper treatment and full recovery!

  12. youngandthrifty

    Awesome post 🙂

    My friends all got Giardia aka Beaver Fever after our trip to India and I surprisingly was parasite free. Nothing like a good Ova and Parasite stool sample to rule it out.

    Sometimes its hard to say no to people offering you a small cup of water in a village in Nepal though 🙂 I guess you could say you only drink tea.. at least the tea would be boiled, though the milk would be unpasteurized.

    Oh well.. stronger stomachs!

    I learned my lesson while in Vietnam. Realized I was eating BBQ’d cow udder. Then got nausea and vomiting for a whole week afterwards. Fun times!

    1. Earl

      @youngandthrifty: I agree that it’s virtually impossible to say no sometimes when offered something. Actually, on my first visit to India, I crossed from Bangladesh at a seldom-used border crossing and the Indian border guard insisted I take a sip of his water because I was sweating so much from the heat. I was in India for less than 1 minute before I had already broken the rule of not drinking the water…

      But like you said, stronger stomachs! Although I’m not sure mine will ever be able to handle cow udder 🙂

  13. Gray

    You have my sympathy.That’s pretty horrible. And you sound so nonchalant about it all! I’d be completely freaking out to know I had a colony of worms living inside me. Just the idea of it gives me the willies.

    1. Earl

      Hey Gray – Knowing that they weren’t really affecting anything except for my appetite helped me deal with the news rather calmly. Of course, it is something that I need to take care of but at least it’s not a major issue!

    1. Earl

      Thanks Julia! Yeah, the worms are not fun to think about at all. I strongly suggest that you don’t search for a video about intestinal worms on YouTube. It is much more than yuk 🙂

  14. Christy @ Ordinary Traveler

    Ugh.. sorry to hear about your worms. Now I’m rethinking that glass of water I accepted in Nepal yesterday from a blind person who had to put his finger in the water to know when to stop filling it. I didn’t want to drink it but I also didn’t want to be rude. After reading this I think I would rather be rude.

    1. Earl

      Hey Christy – It always starts with a glass of water in Nepal! Hopefully you’ll be lucky although it might not be a bad idea to get checked at some point any way 🙂

  15. Usha

    Here in China, I heard they use sewage oil or something in the street food. There was a video on it and the addition of cardboard to the fried dough thingy. How true I don’t know. But possible nevertheless. It’s all about the adventure even if it means bringing home live “souvenirs”. 😉

    I actually have seen these worms upfront during my lab sessions. They’re gross man! To have them housed in our body is just..:S :S I really hope they haven;t moved back in and you’re probably just one with a high metabolism. 🙂

    Cheers

    1. Earl

      Hey Usha – Sewage oil and cardboard in the food is more than an adventure!! And I watched a video about these types of worms and you’re right, it’s ain’t pretty at all. I stared at the screen in shock, especially at how large some of the worms can be. I don’t like to imagine those things crawling around inside of me at all.

    1. Earl

      Hey Henway – I do plan to do a cleanse quite soon. It’s been a busy couple of months but now that I’m in one place, I’m finally ready. May I ask which type of cleanse you did to rid yourself of the parasites?

  16. rose

    Hmmm. I have a lot to say about worms – too much to fit into this comment!

    Worms and parasites are unfortunately not very well known by modern medicine medicine and many of them go undetected. However, most studies on the subject will say that between 50 and 90% of the population at large has one type or another (probably a good mix). Most allopathic remedies kill only adult parasites and not their eggs which can be lodged in the intestine or even in other organs, so when they hatch it starts all over again – that explains why you get them again so easily. You should probably be treated for worms once or twice a year, especially with your lifestyle!

    Meanwhile, enjoy those tostadas 🙂

    1. Earl

      Hey Rose – I too was aware that most people have some type of worm inside of them. But according to the doctor, the type I had were ones most commonly found in unhygienic places in tropical climates. And I do plan on getting a full worm cleanse/treatment quite soon to hopefully get rid of them for good!

  17. Ozzy

    Huh. Interesting timing for this post. I just got back from another road trip of work up to New York and back. At one of the places we stopped to eat today (a somewhat shady Chinese all you can eat buffet) I decided I would risk food poisoning to try some of my more favorite meals. Thus far the sushi (which was actually very good, they had a japanese guy right behind the all you can eat sushi bar making it as you ate it) and the steamed fully intact, head/tentacles and all, baby octopuses have not affected me in any negative way…yet.

    Ozzy

    1. Earl

      Hey Ozzy – ‘Yet’ is the key word there! Let me know how you feel in a couple of days 🙂

      Hopefully it doesn’t affect you of course but that does seem like an adventurous meal.

    1. Earl

      Hey James – A high metabolism seemed like the most likely reason to me as well. I guess anyone who thinks they may have a high metabolism should therefore be checked for worms as well!

  18. Shane

    That’s really rather digusting. For years, despite eating like a horse and remaining stick thin, I thought I might have the same problem. Then, at a certain age, a more realistic metabolism kicked in and an increasing waist line is evidence that if any worms were resident in the past they have now moved on to a better neighbourhood.

    1. Earl

      Hey Shane – Glad to hear that the cause of your appetite was not worms! When I got rid of them the first time (sort of), I was quite happy to have a normal metabolism but it’s a shame that didn’t last too long. It seems now that the more unhealthy the food I eat, the more weight I lose, which just doesn’t seem right 🙂

    1. Earl

      Hey Matt – It’s funny you should mention that….I once drew up very basic plans to lead a ‘Diet Tour’ to India that consisted of walking around in the extreme heat, eating street food and drinking a spoonful of tap water. Maybe I should pull those plans out of the closet!

  19. Untemplater

    Yikes that must have been a shock hearing that from the doctor. Glad you are feeling better now! I saw an episode on TV a few months ago about a teenager who got parasites from eating bad sushi and was so sick she almost died. It tasted normal so she had no idea her sickness started from that fish. The doctors didn’t know what was causing her to be ill for the longest time but she finally found a doctor who figured it out. I’ve eaten fresh sashimi on a deep sea fishing tour once and don’t think I’ll ever do that again. Properly flash frozen fish will kill parasites but it still makes me queasy thinking about it so I’m going to stay away from sushi for now. I’ll also think twice now about eating street food on my next trip!

    1. Earl

      @Untemplater: My addiction to street food is too strong to even think about stopping! But I could see how that story you saw could turn you away from sushi. Luckily, there isn’t much sushi here in Mexico but I’ve never been too comfortable eating it anyway…

    1. Earl

      @WanderingTrader: Haha…I guess I should have waited until I get there before telling you about my worms! That gives me some time to get rid of them though!

    1. Earl

      Hey Jill – Worms are a valid reason for nightmares I’d say 🙂 I just hope that I never have to see what they actually look like!

  20. Irina Sazonova

    Very unfortunate. However, having been brought up in Russia in my childhood and maybe even teenage years, it wasn’t too unusual to have worms. But I’ve never heard of long-term treatment. Normally, you chewed about 10 or 12 of tasteless pills within one day and if you took a week later, your body was clean. And I’m not talking any toxic stuff here, those were regular pills and I think they were very, very affordable. I haven’t heard of any cases in the last 10 years or so, so I don’t know how widespread that medicine is these days, but I know it works.

    At the same time, there are many, many different types of worms. What I mentioned above I guess can be referred to as household worms, your dog or cat might have them, etc. But maybe what you had or have is a different, exotic type of worms and I understand for nearly every type there’s its own treatment, so I guess you could look into it? I suppose there are tests that can tell you what kind of worm it is. Anyhow.. I hope you get rid of them asap, Earl!

    1. Earl

      Hey Irina – That’s the thing, there are dozens and dozens of different types of worms. I know that the medicine I took supposedly was a type that is supposed to kill almost every type of worm that travelers could end up with when spending time in tropical climates. Of course, clearly that didn’t work. I’m actually going to do a cleanse first and if that doesn’t work, I’ll pay another visit to a doctor to see if they can determine what is the best step to take.

      Thank you for your comment and maybe I just need to get a handful of those pills you mentioned from your childhood!

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  22. Andrea

    As an adventurous eater, I’ve been cautioned about this. Curious: did the doctors tell you about any long-term negative side effects this could have on your health? Malnourishment sounds most likely but surely they are taxing your system in other ways?

    1. Katrina

      That’s a good point and one about which I was wondering as well. Further, I was thinking that maybe one type of worm was gotten rid of, but not all. Or that you got reinfected, not that it’s a flare-up of an existing infection.

      Heh. I was wondering if I would catch something in Morocco and shed this Americanbelly. I remember seeing an ad from an old timey newspaper selling tapeworms for just this effect. Maybe, like the gourmet poopacino (kopi luwak-aided coffee ;), you can turn this into a product to sell for fun and profit.

      1. Earl

        Hey Katrina – Another idea I once had was to bottle Indian tap water and suggest that people take it in tiny doses to lose weight. A few worms can do wonders! It’s not a bad product idea at all. Perhaps a little risky though!

    2. Earl

      Hey Andrea – The doctors did mention that I should keep an eye on the situation and if my weight loss became drastic then I should see a doctor immediately. But apart from suggesting I take vitamins they mentioned that these worms don’t usually cause much long-term damage. Of course, the main goal is to get rid of them completely as having any worm-related complications is not exactly a risk I want to take. There are definitely other types of worms that do in fact cause serious damage because they tend to leave the intestines and start to attack the lungs and other areas of the body. So it seems I got ‘lucky’ with the type of worms I ended up with!

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