If a woman wanted to lose weight fast 100 years ago, her options were basically cocaine and tapeworms. It seems not that much has changed. An Iowa doctor has spoken out on the dangers of tapeworms after a patient admitted to ingesting a tape worm she had bought online. Tapeworms do, in fact, lead to weight loss. Tapeworms may also make patients sick or kill them.
When a tapeworm “pill” is swallowed, the head of a Taenia saginata – also known as a “beef tapeworm” – uses its facial hooks to latch onto the intestines in the stomach and will soon begin to grow. A tapeworm eats food in the stomach leading to weight loss. An average tapeworm can grow to over 30 feet before its death.
The tapeworm is no longer the weight-loss fad it once was, but concerns of women using tapeworms still exist. Chinese women are still known to buy and use the worms for weight loss, and in 2009 Tyra Banks hosted a special episode of her show regarding the abuse of tapeworms.
Tapeworms can lead to a number of stomach illnesses and infections. While some women eat the tape worms voluntarily, the vast majority of tape-worm infections happen after third-world-living humans eat undercooked, contaminated meat.
The idea that American women would still consider taking a tapeworm to lose weight speaks volumes to the pressure for women to stay thin in America. The urge to be thin is so overwhelming that women are willing to put their own health as risk – and grow a tapeworm baby in their stomache – that this kind of procedure is still happening.