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Tapeworm Symptoms in Children

By Sara Ipatenco ; Updated August 14, 2017

Children can get a tapeworm infestation by drinking water or eating food that is contaminated with tapeworm eggs or larvae, reports the Mayo Clinic. A tapeworm will reside in your child's intestines and grow into an adult. The Mayo Clinic says that an adult tapeworm can live for up to 20 years. Knowing the symptoms can help you seek medical treatment for your child as soon as possible. An untreated tapeworm infestation can cause larvae to migrate to other parts of the body, where they can form cysts.

Nausea and Vomiting

A tapeworm can cause your child to be nauseated and vomit, writes Simeon Margolis, author of "The Johns Hopkins Complete Home Guide to Symptoms and Remedies." As the tapeworm grows inside of the intestines, your child may feel the effects of a foreign body and begin to feel sick to her stomach, which often leads to vomiting.

Weight Loss

According to Margolis, an adult tapeworm attaches itself to the intestine and then feeds on the nutrients. The Mayo Clinic adds that your child may begin to lose weight as the tapeworm grows and robs his body of the nutrients that he needs to grow and thrive. As the tapeworm sucks more of the nutrients your child needs, signs of fatigue may be seen in your child, says Margolis.

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Abdominal Pain or Discomfort

The Mayo Clinic indicates that your child may feel pain or discomfort in the abdominal area. Your child may feel the tapeworm moving about and attaching itself to her intestine, which can cause inflammation and irritation. Margolis writes that your child may also begin to feel more hungry than usual or may lose her appetite as the tapeworm grows. Excess gas, diarrhea and bloating may also occur as your child's body reacts to the infestation of a tapeworm.

Appearance of White Worm Segments

You may notice small, moving segments of the tapeworm in your child's stool, clothing or bedding, according to Margolis. As the tapeworm grows, pieces of it may detach and be eliminated through stool. The mobile body segments of the worm look like small pieces of white ribbon and can also cause your child's anus to become swollen and itchy.

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