Rope worm is an intestinal parasite that spends its entire life inside the human body. It feeds on the fecal matter in the intestine and is usually a result of a poor diet.
The life cycle of rope worm has 5 stages:(1)
- 1st Stage of Rope Worm: In the 1st stage the rope worms occur as long strands of viscous mucous and can be present anywhere in the body.
- 2nd Stage of Rope Worm: The viscous mucus develops bubbles that later becomes points of attachment used by parasite.
- 3rd Stage of Rope Worm: The worm becomes branched like jellyfish.
- 4th Stage of Rope Worm: The body of the worms gets soft and slimy and forms more bubbles for attachment. At this stage, it is able to feed on blood.
- 5th Stage of Rope Worm: The appearance of parasite at this stage becomes like feces or twisted rope. The color can be from pale white to dark brown or black. They can move with the help of jet propulsion and are active most between 1:00 am and 6:00 am.
There are many theories that propose to explain the presence of rope worms in the human intestine.
- Rope worms could be biofilm that forms in intestine.
- They could be the overabundance of mucus in the intestinal tract.
- Overgrowth of yeast fungus could be a causative factor for rope worms.
They could be a by-product of genetically modified organisms present in food.
Symptoms of Rope Worm Infection
Studies show that intestinal parasitic infection can negatively affect mental performance(2)
Rope worm infection would lead to the following symptoms:
The above-mentioned symptoms may not always be perceived or connected with the presence of parasitic worms and the possibility of having a rope worm could be overlooked.
How are Rope Worms Diagnosed?
- Colon cleaning procedures such as enemas and colon cleanses can discover rope worm if present.
- Enemas are generally used to ease the symptoms of constipation by evacuating waste from the colon.
- Colon cleanses are the procedure or holistic treatment to clean the entire colon.
Most of the people undergoing colon irrigation show the presence of rope worms. Once the rope strands are cleaned, significant relief is observed in the digestive issues. The claim is anecdotal and is not supported by any research.
Treatment of Rope Worms
There is a lack of research on diagnosis and treatment of rope worm and also there is no clinical recommendation for treatment.
Sometime there would be evacuation for long worm-like structures that could indicate an undiagnosed parasite infection.
If you notice excessive mucus of any unknown material in stool during colon cleansing, consult a doctor.
How To Prevent Rope Worms?
Maintaining a healthy gut can help prevent rope worm infection. Following steps can be taken to maintain gut health:
- Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water is important for the cells of the body including the mucus-producing cells. Make sure to keep up the water intake levels throughout the day.
- Eat Fresh Fruits, Vegetables, Whole Grains, And Healthy Fats: All these things are rich in fiber and keep the digestive tract functioning smoothly. These are also good sources of antioxidants that can help support gut health.
- Sleep Well: Lack of sleep can negatively affect the body including digestion. The sleep of 7- 9 hours is important to support a healthy microbiome.
- Relaxation Techniques: Stress and anxiety can affect gut health and digestion. Relaxation techniques can help relieve stress and reduce its negative impact on digestion.
- Keep A Check On Food Allergies: Food allergies can affect anyone from children to older adults. If any such allergy is noticed consult a doctor to check for intolerances.
Rope worm infestation has very little evidence to support them. They are discovered during enema or colonics. If you experience an increase in mucus or worm-like strands while colon cleansing, consult a gastroenterologist.