What Is The Longest Tapeworm Ever Recorded?

On an episode of the This Won’t Hurt ABit podcast, Dr. Kenny Banh revealed a patient ordeal best described as body horror on steroids. A patient sat on a toilet expecting to expel the usual ickiness when something unexpected happened. The patient saw wriggling, fleshy mass coming out of his mass-hole. “Oh, my goodness, my guts are coming out of me!” he thought. He thought wrong. The patient wasn’t excreting his excretory system but rather a massive tapeworm

The patient patiently extracted the poop noodle, feeling “relieved” emotionally and probably fecal-y. He then brought that writhing nightmare to the hospital, where it was uncoiled in the emergency lobby. The tapeworm measured a staggering five feet, six inches long, which was also the patient’s height. The worst part about that story is that it’s just the tip of the ick-berg.

The devil's measuring tape

Live Science points out that there are various species of tapeworm, though for some reason all their names are pronounced like a blood-curdling scream. The creatures reach different lengths and belong to a class of flatworms that contains more than 1,000 species. That’s a lot of flavors of parasite to choose from, and the one you swallow could end up being way longer than you. Live Science reports that in 2016, doctors in China removed a 20-foot long tapeworm from a man’s small intestine

According to the Mayo Clinic, adult tapeworms can reach 80 feet long and live for up to 30 years inside a host. It’s like carrying a baby that refuses to be born, except it’s all umbilical cord and doesn’t need to cry because it makes everyone else sob hysterically at the thought of it. Also, the “pregnancy” part works a bit differently. Instead of the stork bringing a tapeworm and regurgitating it into your mouth as birds do, you have to eat undercooked, infected meat or feces. And as The Guardian notes, every segment of a tapeworm contains male and female parts, allowing the parasite to essentially screw itself and you at the same time.

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