ZocdocAnswersHow would I know if I have a tapeworm?

Question

How would I know if I have a tapeworm?

I know it sounds silly! But I eat like 6 or 7 times a day and still have a pit in my stomach. I?m 19 years old and female and not fat or anything. Why am I hungry all the time?

Answer

A tapeworm is a relatively rare infection. That being said, if there is a concern, I would recommend that you discuss this with your primary care doctor. He or she can help you evaluate this condition and if required treat it. A tapeworm is a parasitic infection that is relatively rare in the United States. While there are many types, it is often transmitted from raw fish or meat. This causes symptoms of abdominal pain, fatigue and weight loss -- essentially because the worm eats all the food instead of your body digesting it. This can be diagnosed by looking for the tapeworm larvae (eggs) in your stool. Blood tests can also help point to this diagnosis. There are other more likely causes of your symptoms. The most likely is that this is normal. Nineteen is the age when people require a significant amount of energy as the body is undergoing significant growth (height and muscle). This requires a large amount of energy input (eating). There are other common causes of increased appetite. Diabetes is one that should be ruled out (often associated with increased peeing and drinking). High thyroid levels or hyperthyroidism can also do it -- often causing diarrhea and skin changes. Talk to your doctor for more information.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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