Signs of tapeworms in children

Updated February 21, 2017

Children contract tapeworm infections from eating food or drinking water contaminated by tapeworm eggs or larvae. The immature tapeworm resides in your child's intestines where it grows into an adult. Tapeworms sometimes migrate outside the intestines and infect other areas of your child's body. If you notice the symptoms of a tapeworm infection, immediately seek medical attention for your child. An untreated tapeworm infection can lead to life-threatening complications.

Gastrointestinal Symptoms

Since tapeworms generally inhabit the intestines, your child may exhibit gastrointestinal symptoms. This foreign entity in your child's system may cause him to become sick to his stomach and nauseous. He may also experience diarrhoea. The tapeworm attaches itself to the child's intestine, which can cause inflammation and results in abdominal pains such as cramping.


You may notice that your child is more fatigued than usual if he has been infected by tapeworms. The tapeworms prevents the intestines from absorbing the vital nutrients he needs, such as vitamins and minerals, from food he ingests. Since your child is not getting the nourishment he needs, he loses weight and becomes tired and weak.

Change in Appetite

Observe your child's appetite if you suspect he has tapeworms. According to Web MD, a tapeworm infection may cause a change in a child's appetite. He may become hungrier than usual or he may lose his appetite. This loss of appetite also can affect his energy levels and weight.

Invasive Infection Symptoms

An invasive tapeworm infection happens when the tapeworm larvae leave the intestines and infect other organs and body tissues. Symptoms depend on the type of tapeworm your child has contracted as well as which part of the body the larvae have invaded. Symptoms of an invasive infection include seizures or other neurological problems, fever, cysts, allergic reactions to the tapeworm larvae and bacterial infection, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Worms in Stool

Your child's stool can alert you to a tapeworm infection. Segments of the tapeworm detach as it grows and get expelled in the stool. Examine your child's faeces for pieces of white worms if you suspect an infection. These worm pieces may be moving. You may also see tapeworm eggs.

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About the Author

Kristen Marquette has been a professional writer since 2009 when FireLight Books published her debut novel, "The Vampiric Housewife." Since 2000 she has helped students hone their written and verbal skills in English as a tutor. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University.