If you have any of the signs or symptoms of a tapeworm infection, see a general physician for a diagnosis. The doctor may recommend the following tests:

Stool sample analysis: Adult tapeworm infection is diagnosed by finding larvae, eggs, or segments in the faeces. If the infection is caused by beef or pork infection, the segments in the stool may be moving. A sterile container will be given to collect the sample of the stools, which may be sent to the laboratory for some tests. The stools are microscopically examined to detect the presence of eggs or segments in the stools. As the segments or the eggs are passed irregularly, two or three samples may be collected.

The area around the anus may be checked for the signs of tapeworm eggs or larvae. A piece of transparent adhesive tape may be pressed to the anus to take the eggs for microscopic analysis.

Blood test: If it is suspected that the cysts may have travelled to other tissues or organs, blood tests may be performed to detect any antibodies produced to fight the tapeworm infection. If the antibodies are present, it indicates tapeworm infestation.

Imaging exams: Cysticercosis may be diagnosed by computed tomography scans, magnetic resonance imaging, X-rays, or ultrasounds of cysts.

Preparing for appointment

Discussing about the stools may be uncomfortable for some people. The best way to get over the awkward feeling is to be prepared.

Usually, one may see a primary physician if tapeworm infection is suspected. The physician may refer to a doctor who specializes in infectious diseases or gastrointestinal diseases.

Below are some tips to prepare oneself for the appointment:

  • List down the symptoms, which may be unrelated to tapeworm infection.
  • Note down travel history (particularly to other countries), foods eaten or water consumed from unhygienic places.
  • List all the medications, vitamins and supplements that are taken currently.
  • Make a list of questions or queries regarding the symptoms, diagnosis or treatment.