Site Managed By:

Toni Branner M.A.

Director of TheGoSite.com Board Of Experts, Exercise Physiologist, Professional Speaker, Wellness Consultant, Author

Director of Wellness & Prevention United States Performance Center Former Professor: UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine... More

Your Interests. Your Schedule.

Find and explore interests through activities, knowledge, and local resources.

What is TheGoSite?

Get Started

Join TheGoSite Community FREE
Simple 30-second signup

Create Account

Parasites in general are a disturbing thought, but for some reason tapeworms are especially freaky—hence the Internet firestorm over NHL prospect Carson Meyer. For months, the 21-year-old was losing weight and feeling exhausted. Doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with him, after 10 blood tests, including for mono.
Finally, a 25-inch, orange tapeworm came out of his body, People reported. “I was freaking out. Absolutely freaking out,” he said. Uhh, understandable! 
Doctors told Meyer the tapeworm had probably been inside of him for over. a. year. Luckily, he's now feeling better–but how does that even happen?
All of this got us wondering about the medical specifics here, so we went digging. Here's everything you need to know—but were afraid to Google—about these unsettling infections.
RELATED: 18 Most Sickening Food Ingredients
 
First of all, what exactly are tapeworms?
Tapeworms are flat worm parasites that take up residence in the intestines of people and animals. There are a few species, but the one that most commonly occurs in the United States is Taenia solium, also known as pork tapeworm, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The “head” of the worm attaches to the wall of a person's intestine and absorbs nutrients. From there, tapeworms grow a bunch of little segments called proglottids, which contain eggs, and are often passed out of the body with the host's stool.
How do tapeworms get into your GI tract in the first place?
The most common way to pick up a tapeworm is through eating undercooked meat. Diphyllobothrium latum, the type of tapeworm Meyer had, comes from eating undercooked fish.
Some tapeworm eggs can survive for days or months in feces from infected humans or animals. If cattle or pigs eat infected excrement (usually because it gets into their feed somehow), the eggs can hatch and the larvae form into cysts that make their way into the animals’ muscles.
When the animal is slaughtered for consumption, the tapeworm cysts end up in the meat aisle at the grocery store. If the meat is cooked properly, the larvae die, and the meat is safe to eat. But if you eat it raw or undercooked, a larva can enter your GI tract, where it develops into an adult and can grow up to 25 (!) meters long, depending on the species. (That's 82 feet, for the metric-challenged.)
RELATED: Sharing a Bathroom With Many Others? Your Toothbrush Likely Has ‘Fecal Matter’
 
So then how did it get into that one guy's brain?
In 2015, Luis Ortiz, a 26-year-old man in California, had a “still wiggling” tapeworm pulled from his brain—shudder. The Internet erupted over how serious his infection was: He needed emergency brain surgery, and he ultimately spent close to three months in the hospital recovering. Thankfully, what happened to Ortiz is rare, and tapeworms aren't nearly that dangerous in most cases–but tapeworm larvae can travel in your body and survive in brain, liver, and lung tissue.
The good news is that in the United States, this kind of infection—called cysticercosis—is extremely rare. It's usually caused by ingesting the pork tapeworm eggs directly from infected human fecal matter.
This usually means that you get it from eating something contaminated with feces from another infected person. Also: it's possible to develop cysticercosis after ingesting your own feces (another reason to wash your hands after you use the bathroom); that’s called autoinfection.
Cysticercosis can be very dangerous: When a person ingests these eggs, the larvae can invade the intestinal wall and travel to your organs. If they reach the brain (a potentially fatal condition called neurocysticercosis), that can cause seizures and other neurological symptoms.
How common are they?
While tapeworms are common all over the world, they tend to show up most in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and parts of Europe and Asia. This is why Americans often think of tapeworms as a hazard for international travelers.
The CDC estimates that fewer than 1,000 people in the United States are infected with a tapeworm each year. According to Peter Jay Hotez, PhD, MD, dean of the national school of tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, no one is doing active surveillance for tapeworms in the U.S., and so that number is probably a “vast underestimate.”
Still, there is no evidence to suggest that tapeworms are hanging out in every other deli or restaurant, by any means.
RELATED: 3 Things You Can Catch from a Pool
 
What are the symptoms?
As far as relationships go, the human-tapeworm pairing is unrequited. Contrary to what humans think—get out, get out, get out!—tapeworms are perfectly happy in our GI tract. (Hey, it’s warm and there’s free food.) And they’re so well-adapted to the human body that adult worms often don’t trigger any symptoms in their hosts at all; when they do, it’s usually a stomachache, diarrhea, or weight loss.
So how do you find out that there’s a parasite in your body? Well, there’s a decent chance that you won’t. “[Tapeworms] have a normal life cycle,” Dr. Hotez says. “They can live for up to a few years and then they die.” When that happens, the host simply passes the tapeworm, or it gets absorbed by the intestines.
How do I find out if I have a tapeworm?
Their eggs will show up in your stool. So, well, there's no nice way to put this: most people have to have their poop analyzed to confirm infection.
After providing a stool sample, a doctor will look under a microscope for the eggs, which are less than 1,000th of a millimeter in size, Dr. Hotez says. From there, doctors will likely treat the infection with praziquantel, a very effective antiparasitic drug.
You can also pass a whole proglottid segment in your stool, and if you happen to see it moving—yes, moving—before you flush that’s another tip-off.
RELATED: 5 Ways to Tell If You Need an Antibiotic
 
How do I prevent a tapeworm infection?
Since most people get it from raw or undercooked meat, the best advice is to really be sure you're fully cooking meat, the CDC says. If you’re cooking whole cuts of beef or pork, use a food thermometer to check that the temperature reaches at least 145° F (63° C) for whole cuts and 160° F for ground meat.
 

Parasites in general are a disturbing thought, but for some reason tapeworms are especially freaky—hence the Internet firestorm over NHL prospect Carson Meyer. For months, the 21-year-old was losing weight and feeling exhausted. Doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with him, after 10 blood tests, including for mono.
Finally, a 25-inch, orange tapeworm came out of his body, People reported. “I was freaking out. Absolutely freaking out,” he said. Uhh, understandable! 
Doctors told Meyer the tapeworm had probably been inside of him for over. a. year. Luckily, he's now feeling better–but how does that even happen?
All of this got us wondering about the medical specifics here, so we went digging. Here's everything you need to know—but were afraid to Google—about these unsettling infections.
RELATED: 18 Most Sickening Food Ingredients
 
First of all, what exactly are tapeworms?
Tapeworms are flat worm parasites that take up residence in the intestines of people and animals. There are a few species, but the one that most commonly occurs in the United States is Taenia solium, also known as pork tapeworm, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The “head” of the worm attaches to the wall of a person's intestine and absorbs nutrients. From there, tapeworms grow a bunch of little segments called proglottids, which contain eggs, and are often passed out of the body with the host's stool.
How do tapeworms get into your GI tract in the first place?
The most common way to pick up a tapeworm is through eating undercooked meat. Diphyllobothrium latum, the type of tapeworm Meyer had, comes from eating undercooked fish.
Some tapeworm eggs can survive for days or months in feces from infected humans or animals. If cattle or pigs eat infected excrement (usually because it gets into their feed somehow), the eggs can hatch and the larvae form into cysts that make their way into the animals’ muscles.
When the animal is slaughtered for consumption, the tapeworm cysts end up in the meat aisle at the grocery store. If the meat is cooked properly, the larvae die, and the meat is safe to eat. But if you eat it raw or undercooked, a larva can enter your GI tract, where it develops into an adult and can grow up to 25 (!) meters long, depending on the species. (That's 82 feet, for the metric-challenged.)
RELATED: Sharing a Bathroom With Many Others? Your Toothbrush Likely Has ‘Fecal Matter’
 
So then how did it get into that one guy's brain?
In 2015, Luis Ortiz, a 26-year-old man in California, had a “still wiggling” tapeworm pulled from his brain—shudder. The Internet erupted over how serious his infection was: He needed emergency brain surgery, and he ultimately spent close to three months in the hospital recovering. Thankfully, what happened to Ortiz is rare, and tapeworms aren't nearly that dangerous in most cases–but tapeworm larvae can travel in your body and survive in brain, liver, and lung tissue.
The good news is that in the United States, this kind of infection—called cysticercosis—is extremely rare. It's usually caused by ingesting the pork tapeworm eggs directly from infected human fecal matter.
This usually means that you get it from eating something contaminated with feces from another infected person. Also: it's possible to develop cysticercosis after ingesting your own feces (another reason to wash your hands after you use the bathroom); that’s called autoinfection.
Cysticercosis can be very dangerous: When a person ingests these eggs, the larvae can invade the intestinal wall and travel to your organs. If they reach the brain (a potentially fatal condition called neurocysticercosis), that can cause seizures and other neurological symptoms.
How common are they?
While tapeworms are common all over the world, they tend to show up most in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and parts of Europe and Asia. This is why Americans often think of tapeworms as a hazard for international travelers.
The CDC estimates that fewer than 1,000 people in the United States are infected with a tapeworm each year. According to Peter Jay Hotez, PhD, MD, dean of the national school of tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, no one is doing active surveillance for tapeworms in the U.S., and so that number is probably a “vast underestimate.”
Still, there is no evidence to suggest that tapeworms are hanging out in every other deli or restaurant, by any means.
RELATED: 3 Things You Can Catch from a Pool
 
What are the symptoms?
As far as relationships go, the human-tapeworm pairing is unrequited. Contrary to what humans think—get out, get out, get out!—tapeworms are perfectly happy in our GI tract. (Hey, it’s warm and there’s free food.) And they’re so well-adapted to the human body that adult worms often don’t trigger any symptoms in their hosts at all; when they do, it’s usually a stomachache, diarrhea, or weight loss.
So how do you find out that there’s a parasite in your body? Well, there’s a decent chance that you won’t. “[Tapeworms] have a normal life cycle,” Dr. Hotez says. “They can live for up to a few years and then they die.” When that happens, the host simply passes the tapeworm, or it gets absorbed by the intestines.
How do I find out if I have a tapeworm?
Their eggs will show up in your stool. So, well, there's no nice way to put this: most people have to have their poop analyzed to confirm infection.
After providing a stool sample, a doctor will look under a microscope for the eggs, which are less than 1,000th of a millimeter in size, Dr. Hotez says. From there, doctors will likely treat the infection with praziquantel, a very effective antiparasitic drug.
You can also pass a whole proglottid segment in your stool, and if you happen to see it moving—yes, moving—before you flush that’s another tip-off.
RELATED: 5 Ways to Tell If You Need an Antibiotic
 
How do I prevent a tapeworm infection?
Since most people get it from raw or undercooked meat, the best advice is to really be sure you're fully cooking meat, the CDC says. If you’re cooking whole cuts of beef or pork, use a food thermometer to check that the temperature reaches at least 145° F (63° C) for whole cuts and 160° F for ground meat.
 

Meredith Phillips, star of The Bachelorette‘s season 2, is claiming a female masseuse drugged and sexually assaulted her during production of the ABC show in late 2003.
Phillips made the allegations for the first time in an episode of the Reality Steve podcast, which aired on Wednesday. PEOPLE has not independently corroborated Phillips’ claim and reps for ABC and Warner Bros. told PEOPLE they had “no comment” to share regarding her accusations.
Phillips did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for further comment.
Recalling feelings of fatigue during the filming of season 2, Phillips alleged she was “roofied” and “kind of accosted” by an unidentified female massage therapist, who she said was hired by the show.
“I just assumed it was an aspirin or something to loosen up my back, or Tylenol, or something. And it definitely wasn’t that, that’s for sure,” Phillips said during the podcast episode.
“The last thing I remember was she got naked and she was in the tub with me, and rubbing my back and rubbing areas probably she shouldn’t have. And then I was put in bed. I woke up naked. Don’t remember much,” said Phillips, who was on the fourth season of The Bachelor, starring Bob Guiney, and came in third place.
As for why she did not report the allegations during her time on the show, Phillips said she “wanted to protect the franchise, which is f—ed-up.”
Phillips, who opened up about her battle with alcoholism in June 2013, said she had not been drinking at the time of the incident.
She mentioned the incident to Reality Steve after being asked what was the “hardest thing” she “had to deal” with as the bachelorette.
“This is hard for me to talk about. I think I’ve put it somewhere else in my brain so when you bring this up, it’s definitely right there in the forefront as we’re speaking,” she said. “I remember everything until a certain point and when the pill kicked in I literally couldn’t even move my body, so I have no idea what the pill was at all.”
Phillips added, “All I know is that I was told that, ‘This will make you feel better.’ ”
Though she considered exiting the show after the alleged incident, Phillips admitted that she wanted to complete her season, during which she became engaged to winner Ian McKee. (They ended their engagement a year later.)
“It is a huge deal. I have worked through it and thrown it in the back of my mind. I had no control. Zero,” Phillips said. “I think that was the hardest part for me, that I couldn’t even lift my arms to say no.”
RELATED VIDEO: Will Harvey Weinstein Scandal Change Things for Women and Sexual Harassment in Hollywood?
She also claimed that another person, whom she did not identify, confided in her about a similar incident of being “roofied and in a hot tub and kind of accosted” during production.
Phillips’ accusations come nearly a year after the Bachelor in Paradise scandal between contestants Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson.
In June, production on BiP‘s season 4 was temporarily suspended after two show producers voiced their concerns after a sexual encounter between Olympios and Jackson was caught on camera.
Warner Bros. initiated an investigation of the alleged misconduct, all the contestants were sent home, and Olympios and Jackson both retained legal counsel.
Over a week later, Warner Bros. announced their investigation found no evidence of misconduct and confirmed that production would be resuming.
Season 14 of The Bachelorette, starring Becca Kufrin, premieres Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Meredith Phillips, star of The Bachelorette‘s season 2, is claiming a female masseuse drugged and sexually assaulted her during production of the ABC show in late 2003.
Phillips made the allegations for the first time in an episode of the Reality Steve podcast, which aired on Wednesday. PEOPLE has not independently corroborated Phillips’ claim and reps for ABC and Warner Bros. told PEOPLE they had “no comment” to share regarding her accusations.
Phillips did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for further comment.
Recalling feelings of fatigue during the filming of season 2, Phillips alleged she was “roofied” and “kind of accosted” by an unidentified female massage therapist, who she said was hired by the show.
“I just assumed it was an aspirin or something to loosen up my back, or Tylenol, or something. And it definitely wasn’t that, that’s for sure,” Phillips said during the podcast episode.
“The last thing I remember was she got naked and she was in the tub with me, and rubbing my back and rubbing areas probably she shouldn’t have. And then I was put in bed. I woke up naked. Don’t remember much,” said Phillips, who was on the fourth season of The Bachelor, starring Bob Guiney, and came in third place.
As for why she did not report the allegations during her time on the show, Phillips said she “wanted to protect the franchise, which is f—ed-up.”
Phillips, who opened up about her battle with alcoholism in June 2013, said she had not been drinking at the time of the incident.
She mentioned the incident to Reality Steve after being asked what was the “hardest thing” she “had to deal” with as the bachelorette.
“This is hard for me to talk about. I think I’ve put it somewhere else in my brain so when you bring this up, it’s definitely right there in the forefront as we’re speaking,” she said. “I remember everything until a certain point and when the pill kicked in I literally couldn’t even move my body, so I have no idea what the pill was at all.”
Phillips added, “All I know is that I was told that, ‘This will make you feel better.’ ”
Though she considered exiting the show after the alleged incident, Phillips admitted that she wanted to complete her season, during which she became engaged to winner Ian McKee. (They ended their engagement a year later.)
“It is a huge deal. I have worked through it and thrown it in the back of my mind. I had no control. Zero,” Phillips said. “I think that was the hardest part for me, that I couldn’t even lift my arms to say no.”
RELATED VIDEO: Will Harvey Weinstein Scandal Change Things for Women and Sexual Harassment in Hollywood?
She also claimed that another person, whom she did not identify, confided in her about a similar incident of being “roofied and in a hot tub and kind of accosted” during production.
Phillips’ accusations come nearly a year after the Bachelor in Paradise scandal between contestants Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson.
In June, production on BiP‘s season 4 was temporarily suspended after two show producers voiced their concerns after a sexual encounter between Olympios and Jackson was caught on camera.
Warner Bros. initiated an investigation of the alleged misconduct, all the contestants were sent home, and Olympios and Jackson both retained legal counsel.
Over a week later, Warner Bros. announced their investigation found no evidence of misconduct and confirmed that production would be resuming.
Season 14 of The Bachelorette, starring Becca Kufrin, premieres Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

As a fitness influencer, 20-year-old Mary Jelkovsky regularly posted social media images meant to inspire others. What her followers didn't know, however, is that she was actually lacking body confidence. Feeling pressure to look a certain way, she would pose and angle her body so she appeared fitter and thinner than she really was.
Jelkovsky has come clean, and she's decided she's done comparing herself with her fellow #fitspo influencers. On Tuesday, she took to Instagram to explain why she felt pressured to pose in her photos.
RELATED: Why This Fitness Influencer Is Totally Fine With Her Weight Gain
“The funny thing is, I was friends with many fitness competitors and models and I’d WATCH them [Photoshop] their pics,” she said in the caption of her post. “But when I’d see the same EDITED photo on my feed I’d still compare my body to theirs and feel unworthy (knowing full well that it was [Photoshopped])!!”
In her post, Jelkovsky captioned her before-and-after photos “Instagram” and “Reality.” The former shows Jelkovsky with her leggings hiked up, shoulders back, and right foot bent. In the second image, you see her looking more relaxed. She attributed the difference to “poses, angles, butt selfies, sucking in, arching my back, holding my breath, flexing, [and] editing shadows.”
Jelkovsky tells Health that she struggled with anorexia and bulimia, which were exacerbated by participating in bikini fitness competitions. She’s since shared her story of recovery on Instagram and how she started embracing a more body positive attitude.
“I took that photo because I’ve been doing quite a bit of hiking and yoga and I noticed that only very thin girls post yoga pictures or travel pictures,” she says. “So instead of twisting and turning to be thinner, my girlfriend who was taking the pic said ‘just laugh’ and it felt so freeing to just be me.”
Jelkovesky ended her Instagram post with a call to action.
RELATED: This Fitness Influencer's Underwear Trick Can Completely Change the Appearance of Your Butt
“In a world where everything has to be manipulated to fit society’s beauty ideals I think we all could benefit from more natural-ness, more #selflove, and more diversity,” she wrote. “And how much better would life be if we just embraced our bodies and showed up as our REAL selves and empowered others to do the same???”
Self-love and being real? That’s something we all want to see more of on social media.

As a fitness influencer, 20-year-old Mary Jelkovsky regularly posted social media images meant to inspire others. What her followers didn't know, however, is that she was actually lacking body confidence. Feeling pressure to look a certain way, she would pose and angle her body so she appeared fitter and thinner than she really was.
Jelkovsky has come clean, and she's decided she's done comparing herself with her fellow #fitspo influencers. On Tuesday, she took to Instagram to explain why she felt pressured to pose in her photos.
RELATED: Why This Fitness Influencer Is Totally Fine With Her Weight Gain
“The funny thing is, I was friends with many fitness competitors and models and I’d WATCH them [Photoshop] their pics,” she said in the caption of her post. “But when I’d see the same EDITED photo on my feed I’d still compare my body to theirs and feel unworthy (knowing full well that it was [Photoshopped])!!”
In her post, Jelkovsky captioned her before-and-after photos “Instagram” and “Reality.” The former shows Jelkovsky with her leggings hiked up, shoulders back, and right foot bent. In the second image, you see her looking more relaxed. She attributed the difference to “poses, angles, butt selfies, sucking in, arching my back, holding my breath, flexing, [and] editing shadows.”
Jelkovsky tells Health that she struggled with anorexia and bulimia, which were exacerbated by participating in bikini fitness competitions. She’s since shared her story of recovery on Instagram and how she started embracing a more body positive attitude.
“I took that photo because I’ve been doing quite a bit of hiking and yoga and I noticed that only very thin girls post yoga pictures or travel pictures,” she says. “So instead of twisting and turning to be thinner, my girlfriend who was taking the pic said ‘just laugh’ and it felt so freeing to just be me.”
Jelkovesky ended her Instagram post with a call to action.
RELATED: This Fitness Influencer's Underwear Trick Can Completely Change the Appearance of Your Butt
“In a world where everything has to be manipulated to fit society’s beauty ideals I think we all could benefit from more natural-ness, more #selflove, and more diversity,” she wrote. “And how much better would life be if we just embraced our bodies and showed up as our REAL selves and empowered others to do the same???”
Self-love and being real? That’s something we all want to see more of on social media.