Woman Swallows Tapeworm to Lose Weight in Horrifying Case of Extreme Dieting

Twisted 20

tapeworm propagandaAn Iowa woman recently learned the hard way that there is something worse than being fat -- and that would be swallowing a parasitic worm in order to drop a few pounds. Don't get me wrong. I sympathize with her desire to be thin. Who among us hasn’t done something absurd to lose that last five pounds before a wedding or a reunion? But eating a tapeworm on purpose is beyond reason!

The woman went to her doctor and admitted she’d bought a tapeworm off the Internet and taken it to lose weight. The woman’s doctor didn’t know what the hell to do with her crazy case, so he contacted Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, the medical director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, for treatment advice. What she had to say was alarming to say the least. The worm can grow up to 30 feet within the victim’s intestines, depleting all nutrients from the host's system and essentially starving them to death.

I’d never swallow a worm, not even if I were being held at gunpoint. I already have to take deep breaths and consume alcohol to not think about the possibility of pinworms when eating sushi.

That said, I do understand this woman's desperation. In my younger days, I did some pretty crazy shit to lose weight. I won’t even lie. I’m out about my eating disorders. In retrospect, I KNOW that subsisting on 96 ounces of water, half a bagel, and a banana, and then throwing it up sometimes 10 times a day, is extreme and crazy. I did that.

I own that, but fortunately my desperation and insanity did not take me as far as some are willing to go in pursuit of weight perfection and that absolute, non-existent beauty standard. It appears that some women will stop at nothing to fit into a size 0, even if that means swallowing a tapeworm. EWWWW! Are you as skeeved out as I am right now?

This woman was ultimately prescribed an anti-worm medication that killed it, and it would come out during a bowel movement. Bottom line is, if you want to lose weight, diet and exercise normally like the rest of us, and maybe by next summer, you will be able to wear that two-piece bikini you’ve been dreaming of.

What's the craziest thing you've ever done to lose weight?

Image via Orionpozo/Flickr

weight loss, diets


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hanna... hannahsmom238

Maria Callas the opera singer favored this as a diet method. But she took up with an Onassis, so what does that say about her?

hexxuss hexxuss

Ew... just ew,ew,ew... *shudders* ya, I was bulemic before too, but no way in hell would I swallow one of those - ever...

Nicole Howard

Honestly, I'd rather swallow a tape worm than force myself to puke 10 times a day!! THAT'S SICK!

cherylam cherylam

Ever heard of dexatrim? Yeah, I took that stuff for a few months...dropped 40 lbs, and nearly lost my mind. Constant headaches, dry mouth & unable to sleep.

nonmember avatar CF

Way to judge someone after admitting to your own battles. I think telling this story with a kinder slant would have made you look a lot better. She's as sick as you because you never get over disorders, you learn to control and/or live with him. Give her a break.

Rebec... Rebecca7708

Hmm. Your first and second paragraphs are the same as the other article, almost word for word.

Paula Steiner

I've gone on a few crazy diets, including that one that one that consisted of this soup with tomatoes and cabbage. The most successful weight-loss regimen? Back in the 70s they had all these weight loss clinics, usually run by Greek immigrants, who prescribed an appetite suppressant and a diuretic. And it worked, too. I went from 145 down to 125, in time for my wedding. But it got to be hard on me--everything started to taste weird and surface of my tongue felt strange, so I gave it up. The weight came back, but no more suddenly than it had gone on.

That said, the tapeworm treatment doesn't sound that crazy--I heard on Public Radio, I kid you not, about a guy who had such horrible allergies they were making his life almost not worth living, and he deliberately infected himself with hookworms, and after that he was able to lead a normal life. It required a bit of experimentation to achieve the right balance--enough worms to work on the allergies, but not so many they were debilitating.

craft... craftycatVT

I remember hearing about him too, Paula!

Teletha McDonald

And lets not forget, that this was/ and apparently is a way for women to whittle their waists. Don't make jokes. I've read many a story of the Ingalls' girls encouters with "strange people" and the French did so too. Tape worms were and apparantly still are a weigh control "device." Next to come back: Fainting couches and opiate eye drops to make you eyes "more doe- like"  Well, as a child the worms inticed me, but EWWW. Dammit, I should have held out before making judgemenet.

nonmember avatar MB

Curious - how much weight did she lose? Was it worth it to her?

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