For a tapeworm infection, you might first see your primary physician. However, in some cases, he or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in infectious diseases or a doctor who specializes in disorders of the gastrointestinal tract (gastroenterologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what you can expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down the symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any recent travel, especially to other countries. Tell your doctor if you believe you've been exposed to food or water contaminated with tapeworm.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements you're taking.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. For tapeworm infection, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- Are there other possible causes?
- What kinds of tests do I need, if any?
- What treatments are available and which do you recommend?
- Are there any dietary restrictions that I need to follow?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor may ask that you bring a stool sample to your appointment for testing. Your doctor may also ask you questions about your condition, such as:
- When did your symptoms begin?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
- Does anything make your symptoms worse?
- Have you traveled recently? To what areas?
- Could you have been exposed to food or drink contaminated with tapeworm?
What you can do in the meantime
While you're waiting to see your doctor, try to stay well hydrated.
Dec. 20, 2011
- King CH, et al. Cestodes (tapeworms). In: Mandell GL, et al. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-443-06839-3..X0001-X--TOP&isbn=978-0-443-06839-3&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed Nov. 15, 2011.
- White AC Jr., et al. Cestodes. In: Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed Nov. 16, 2011.
- Craig P, et al. Intestinal cestodes. Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases. 2007;20:524.
- Leder K, et al. Intestinal tapeworms. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 16, 2011.
- White AC Jr. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of cysticercosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 16, 2011.
- White AC Jr. Treatment of cysticercosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 16, 2011.
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