Taenia solium, also known as pork tapeworm, is not a common infection but it can be a hidden cause of illness. Let’s check in with Debbie who had this infection at the root cause of her weight gain, stress, food allergies, constipation, and insomnia. We’ll also discuss some very important warning signs that need to be addressed before treating this pesky infection.
Dr. Michael Ruscio, DC: Hey, everyone, this is Dr. Ruscio. I’m here with Debbie, who has done really well, and she had some interesting stuff that you don’t really see every day, so I thought we could share some of that.
Debbie, could you maybe give people a little bit of understanding in terms of what you initially came in with, maybe a little bit about what you had done before and how you were kind of struggling, and then what you were struggling with? Then we can kind of go from there.
Debbie: Well, I’ve struggled with a lot of different problems. My main problem most of my life has been weight gain, and that was kind of the goal of my life, was to lose weight, but the more I chased after that, the more I had problems such as fibromyalgia, digestive issues, constipation, and that just progressed to having brain fog, nervousness, just an inability to cope, and that’s kind the of the end of when I found you!
DrMR: There was the weight, there was the inability to cope, and there were also some digestive symptoms.
Debbie: Yes. Basically there were certain things I just could not eat, and if I tried to eat fats, if I tried to eat certain kinds of vegetables, I would either gain weight or I would have constipation and stomach upset and gas… like a big dog!
DrMR: And some bloating and constipation.
Debbie: Yes, bloating and constipation, and I thought it was normal. That was my problem. I didn’t realize that that’s an abnormal thing that can be fixed!
DrMR: Sure. And insomnia.
Debbie: Yes. I wasn’t sleeping, which I chalked up to menopause. I didn’t realize that actually was a thing that could be fixed too. And sleeping all night is awesome!
DrMR: I have suffered from insomnia myself, and it is not fun.
So a lot of these were things going on, and you had been kind of dabbling with some alternative medicine or functional medicine work and not really able to get the traction and the results that you were looking for.
Debbie: Yes. I was trying to work on my digestion, trying to get my gallbladder to work, and also using some HCl, and I’d hit a wall. There was nothing that I could do. It just wasn’t working for me, and my trainer referred me to you.
DrMR: Gotcha. So when we looked under the hood, so to speak, we found a very, very mild case of SIBO, which I’m not even sure if it was the main factor or not, but what was a little bit more interesting is that we did see a pork tapeworm.
And this kind of freaked you out a little bit—and rightfully so. I should mention that the pork tapeworm can be a serious worm because it can get into the brain, and it can cause neurological symptoms. And then when you go to treat it, the cyst can actually swell and exacerbate any neurological problems. Especially, it can be dangerous if someone is having seizures. You didn’t have any of that history.
DrMR: There were no really frank neurological symptoms to be concerned about. We did have you check in with a doctor locally to make sure that we had another set of eyes and ears on this. Everything seemed to be OK, suggesting that the worm wasn’t in a neurological area that would preclude us from wanting to start treatment, and so we worked our way through some treatment. We’re still kind of working through some treatment. We’re not fully out of the woods yet, but you’ve responded really well to using some antiparasitics.
You’ve reacted a little bit to some others in terms of maybe a die-off reaction, but all that stuff aside, in the process of getting rid of this worm, which we’re preparing to retest for that now to verify, your insomnia is gone.
Results of Treatment
DrMR: I’m just reading from what you just told me here. Anxiety is better, rosacea is better, energy is better, mental clarity is better, you’re starting to lose some weight, and constipation is clear. There’s still a little bit of lingering gas and bloating, which we’re taking some steps to remedy, but overall, you had said you’re about 80 percent better. Is there anything there that you would like to share with people?
Debbie: Well, again, it’s interesting. When you don’t feel well, you really don’t focus on some of these things, or you think that you’re perpetually caught in them. So when I started being calm in groups and I stopped sweating when I would get in stressful situations, when I wasn’t stressed by the things that had been upsetting me, when I would go to bed at 9 o’clock and wake up at 6, it was just amazing, because I honestly thought this is going to be the way I am the rest of my life.
And exercising. I just had no energy at all to exercise. If I did exercise, I would have to have a nap afterwards.
Debbie: And I volunteer once a week at a little surgical center, and I take people back for surgery. I do that from 6 until 10, and I would come home and take a three-hour nap after that, and today I was still going! It’s just a real blessing, and again, the whole focus of my world all my life has been weight loss, and now to have this stuff fixed, yay!
DrMR: Maybe I should elaborate a little bit because I know people are going to be asking what we did specifically. We did use a course of antiparasitic, deworming agents. We did use some herbs that help support female hormones. We then used some adrenal support, which I think all helped with some of the sleep. Poor sleep can be caused by hormone imbalances, and it can be caused by the gut, so we addressed these things together, and this really seemed to kind of tip everything in your favor, where now you’re improving, and I anticipate with every passing month you’re going to continue to get better and better until you get that 80 percent improvement that you’re at right now maybe a little bit closer to 90. That 100, I think, is sometimes hard because I don’t know if we can ever feel 100 percent, because as soon as you feel 100 percent better, then you forget that you feel 100 percent better, so it can be a little bit of a mind trick there.
Debbie: Well, and I’m an old lady! But yeah, previous to finding you, in a week I could do maybe two things, and that was it. And the rest of the time I had to recover from them, both emotionally and physically. Being able to go out to lunch with my friends and go shopping and do more than two things in a week is amazing. I don’t know if anybody else has that problem, but fatigue just closes you in.
Your life gets very small, your world. It’s just been wonderful, and again, it was kind of gradual. All of a sudden, I was like, hey, I have energy to go shopping at Target! Woo! It’s great.
DrMR: You said something a moment ago. This is maybe a quick, interesting thing to reiterate. Your husband is a CPA. And he was very happy with the cost-effective nature in which we did this.
Debbie: Oh, my gosh. Yes. Again, if you’re self-pay, you can make it. You just have to be diligent, and you have to shop around, but it can be very, very expensive, and he is very happy to invest in you! Because you’ve given me back to him!
DrMR: That’s why the tagline on our website is “Get Healthy—And Get Back to Your Life.” That’s what we do. And to be able to do that without breaking the bank, which I think is another important thing just to reiterate.
Debbie, you’ve been awesome. You’re doing great. You’ve been a pleasure to work with.
Debbie: You are a huge blessing to me, and I’m just so thankful. I’m going to get teary. I’m so thankful that you are around and that you help people. Thank you so much.
DrMR: Well, thank you. And thank you, everyone, for watching. If anything changes with Debbie, we’ll keep you guys posted, but I’m pretty sure you’re going to be out there, loose in the world, having fun.
I care about answering your questions and sharing my knowledge with you. Leave a comment or connect with me on social media asking any health question you may have and I just might incorporate it into our next listener questions podcast episode just for you!
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