There are many different types of parasites that can infect humans and lead to various health issues. Some parasites are microscopic protozoa like liver flukes and giardia, and others are larger and more easily detectable parasites like tapeworms, roundworms and pinworms. Recently, there has been a lot of talk about another potential parasite, commonly referred to as “rope worm.”
What Are Rope Worms?
The term “Rope worm” refers to a worm-like material in the human body that may or may not actually be a worm at all. There is a lot of controversy around this potential parasite and what exactly it is. Some argue that it is indeed a type of worm parasite, while others say it is mucoid plaque or mucus build-up in the intestines. In this article, we are going to explore these common theories about rope worm and what researchers think it is.
The Parasite Theory of Rope Worms
The parasite theory of the rope worm is quite recent and was presented in 2013 in a non-peer reviewed research paper published by Dr. Alex Volinsky and his colleagues. According to Dr. Volinsky, the rope worm, given the latin name funis vermes, is a parasite that spends its entire life inside of the human body. Volinksy states that this parasite doesn’t fall under any other known family of human parasites and may consist of a single organism or a community of organisms. Rope worms are said to feed on fecal matter in the intestines and are usually the result of a poor diet.
According to Dr. Volinsky and his colleagues, there are five stages of the rope worm life cycle:
- Stage 1: rope worms are long strands of viscous mucus that can appear anywhere in the body.
- Stage 2: the viscous mucus develops bubbles. These bubbles later become points of attachment used by the parasite.
- Stage 3: the parasite becomes branched, like a jellyfish.
- Stage 4: the parasite has a soft, slimy body. It can form more bubbles for attachment and may be able to feed on blood.
- Stage 5: the parasite looks like human feces or twisted rope. They can appear in various shades, from pale white to dark brown or black. They appear to utilize jet propulsion to move around the body and are most active between 1:00 am and 6:00 am.
Dr. Volinsky and his team state that there are different methods of getting rid of these parasites at each stage of their development. The procedures for extraction are all different form of enemas including salt milk enemas, baking soda enemas, and eucalyptus/lemon juice enemas. According to Volinsky, if these rope worms are not flushed and removed from the body, they can release toxins that may have negative effects on the brain.
The parasite theory of rope worm is a popular one, but it is not the only theory of what this worm-like substance is. As there has not been enough research on this particular parasite, it is still uncertain what it is in reality, but another leading theory is the mucoid plaque theory.
The Mucoid Plaque Theory of Rope Worms
Within both the small and large intestines there is a single cell layer of epithelium that forms a lining. This intestinal lining serves two main functions: absorbing useful substances into the body and restricting the entry of harmful substances. As part of its protective role, the intestinal epithelium forms an important component of the intestinal mucosal barrier.
Intestinal mucus is produced as a barrier to prevent harmful microorganisms from entering the bloodstream through the intestines. As with all cells in the body, these intestinal barrier cells routinely turn over and shed. While regular or routine shedding is normal, excessive or altered shedding of intestinal mucus may be a sign of certain gastrointestinal conditions like leaky gut or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
The mucoid plaque theory of rope worm is an alternative to the parasite theory that claims the long rope-like structures are simply shed pieces of intestinal mucus. During enemas and colon hydrotherapy sessions—both of which are procedures that involve an injection of fluid into the rectum to stimulate stool evacuation—some people experience a flushing of what is believed to be a buildup of mucus. This buildup of mucus, which is sometimes referred to as mucoid plaque, actually closely resembles what others believe is the human rope worm.
As with the rope worm theory, there is no definitive scientific proof that mucoid plaque buildup even exists. However, the most critical evidence that supports this theory over the rope worm theory is the fact that when the DNA of the “rope worm” specimen was tested, it consisted of 99 percent human DNA.
These two theories—the parasite theory and the mucoid plaque theory—are the leading theories that attempt to explain what the rope-like or worm-like material is that is often found in human stool during cleansing procedures. Yet, to date, there is still no conclusive evidence that proves exactly what “rope-worm” is.
Diagnosing Rope Worms
Typically, rope worms are discovered during colon cleansing procedures like enemas, colon hydrotherapy sessions (also referred to as colonics or colon irrigation therapy), laxative therapies, etc. According to the research from Dr. Volinsky, almost all patients undergoing colon irrigation will eliminate rope worms. Once these rope-like strands have been cleansed, patients have reported relief from digestive issues. However, these claims are purely anecdotal and there is no current peer-reviewed research to support these claims.
Treating Rope Worms
As current research is lacking on what rope worm actually is, research is also lacking on how to properly diagnose and treat rope worms. There are also no current clinical recommendations on how to do so. The mucus that makes up the intestinal lining is made of cells that naturally shed and regenerate. A healthy level of mucus turnover in stool is completely normal for a healthy bowel, but an increase in mucus or the presence of long strands of material is not healthy, and may be the result of other, more serious conditions.
The potential causes of increased mucus in the stool may include:
- Chron’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Intestinal infection
- Anal fissures and fistulas
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
In some cases, the evacuation of long, worm-like structures may be the result of an undiagnosed parasitic infection from a species that is known to infect humans, such as roundworm (more information below). If you’re noticing an increased level of mucus or other unknown materials during colon cleansing, it’s best to visit a doctor or gastroenterologist for an official diagnosis. Read more to learn how to remove mucoid plaque naturally from the body.
Preventing Rope Worms
Mucoid plaque, or mucus build up, is believed to be the result of eating a poor diet rich in processed foods and artificial chemicals. While there isn’t enough data available to confirm this, the general idea is that it is important to focus on consuming a healthy diet and to focus on maintaining your gut health.
Every system in your body relies on the food that you consume for nutrients and energy. Thus, the health of your gut is incredibly important for your overall health—just as important as heart health, lung health, or the health of any other organ in the body. Here are some of the key ways that you can take care of your digestive system and keep your gut healthy:
- Drink plenty of water. Hydration is important for all the cells of the body, including the mucus-producing cells of the intestines. Hydration is also important to prevent constipation. Be sure to drink plenty of water each day and to stay hydrated.
- Focus on nutrient-rich whole foods. A diet in whole foods is ideal for humans, as whole foods are foods as they are produced by nature. Processed foods, chips, candies, soda, and other junk foods are unnatural and unhealthy for the body. Focus on eating nutrient-rich whole foods like fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are also full of fiber, which can help keep the digestive tract functioning smoothly. These foods are also good sources of antioxidants, which help to eliminate the buildup of harmful free radicals and support your gut health.
- Look out for food intolerances. Food allergies and sensitivities can affect anyone at any age. If you have gastrointestinal symptoms (such as bloating, cramps, stomach pain, excess gas, irregular bowel movements, etc.) when you eat certain foods, it may be worth doing an elimination diet or taking a visit to a doctor to check for food intolerances.
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule. A lack of sleep can have very negative effects on the body, including on our digestive health. Keeping a healthy, consistent sleep schedule and sleeping seven to nine hours per night can help support a healthy gut microbiome and can support a healthy gut.
- Practice relaxation techniques. Stress, anxiety, and other strong emotions can influence gut health and digestion. For example, IBS patients have experienced symptom flare-ups in correlation with feelings of depression. Using relaxation techniques may help to reduce the negative impact that stress, anxiety and other strong emotions may have on your digestion.
Rope Worm or Roundworm?
It was mentioned that in some cases, the evacuation of long, worm-like structures may be the result of an undiagnosed parasitic infection from a species that is known to infect humans. One common parasitic worm that looks similar to “rope worm,” and is often confused for it, is roundworm. A roundworm is a type of nematode (ascarid) that reproduces in the intestinal tract of its host.
These worms are commonly found in dogs, and they can easily affect humans as well, and actually may pose a significant risk to human health. Contact with contaminated soil or dog feces is one of the most common ways that humans become infected with roundworm. Roundworm eggs may accumulate in significant numbers in the soil where pets deposit feces. Once infected, the worms can cause eye, lung, heart and neurologic signs in people.
Life Cycle of Roundworms
Once a roundworm is ingested, it reproduces inside your intestine. The worm goes through several stages:
- Swallowed eggs first hatch in the intestine.
- The larvae then move through the bloodstream to your lungs.
- After maturing, the roundworms leave your lungs and travel to your throat.
- You’ll either cough up or swallow the roundworms in your throat. The worms that are swallowed will travel back to your intestine.
- Once they’re back in your intestine, the worms will mate and lay more eggs.
- The cycle continues. Some eggs are excreted through your feces. Other eggs hatch and return to the lungs.
Roundworms in your lungs can cause:
- Coughing or gagging
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
- Aspiration pneumonia (rare)
- Blood in mucus
- Chest discomfort
Roundworms in your intestines can cause:
- Irregular stools or diarrhea
- Intestinal blockage, which causes severe pain and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Visible worms in the stool
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Weight loss
- Growth impairment in children due to malabsorption
Some people with a large infestation of roundworms may have other symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, or extreme discomfort. You may have all or many of the above symptoms if you don’t receive prompt treatment for roundworm.
How to Get Rid of Roundworms and Other Parasites
While there are numerous types of parasites, the methods for treating parasitic infections and removing parasites from the body are all very similar. Among the most effective methods for getting rid of parasites is to do a parasite detox cleanse. This involves consuming a parasite detox supplement that kills the parasites, and supporting the elimination of these parasites with dietary and lifestyle methods.
An ideal parasite detox supplement will contain natural herbs with anthelmintic (worm-killing), antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Three plants that are naturally high in anthelmintic compounds are wormwood, cloves, and green black walnut hulls:
- Cloves contain unique compounds that help kill parasites, including eugenol, a powerful germicide, as well as caryophyllene, which has antimicrobial properties.
- Wormwood, as the name implies, has long been used for killing parasitic worms. It contains numerous bioactive compounds known to kill parasites, including thujone and artemisinin.
- The outer shells, or hulls, of green black walnuts contain unique antioxidant and antibacterial compounds, such as juglone and ellagic acid, that make them useful for naturally treating parasitic and bacterial infections.
Together, these three herbs may help to kill the adult, larva and egg stages of over 100 different types of parasites, including amoebas, giardia, worms, and liver flukes.
While the subject of parasites is complex, and our understanding of parasites is also limited, the solution to getting rid of parasites from the body is simple. There are proven and effective methods that have long been used for getting rid of parasitic infections.
The important thing is to diligently follow the protocol for getting rid of parasites, which involves taking a parasite detox supplement for the recommended period of time (usually 1-3 weeks depending on the supplement and the type of cleanse), cleansing the colon simultaneously with a lot of water and fiber-rich foods, taking a binder like fulvic acid to support detoxification, and eating anti-parasitic foods to further support parasite cleansing.
Zuma Nutrition’s Parasite Detox Formula
Our Parasite Detox formula is a unique handcrafted herbal tincture composed of therapeutic dosages of Green-Black Walnut Hulls, Wormwood and ground Cloves. These three herbs are essential to any good parasite detox supplement. However, the thing that really makes this formula stand out is the quality of the herbal ingredients we use and the method of extraction method that we perform.
The dark green hull surrounding the black walnut loses its potency when it turns black. We make sure to harvest the hull at the time of greatest potency to get the most of the anti-parasitic compounds that it contains. The clove used in this formula is also freshly ground and immediately added to the tincture because exposure to air evaporates the desired properties, which are preserved in the liquid tincture. The wormwood that we use is also wild-harvested and prepared freshly after harvesting to preserve its potency.
We use a therapeutic dose extraction method that not only maximizes the bioavailability of these herbs which are typically difficult to digest, but also offers very potent dosages of these herbs for maximum effectiveness. One full dropper of this tincture is equivalent to about 10 capsules of cloves, 10 capsules of wormwood and 10 capsules of green-black walnut hulls. Whereas a traditional parasite detox is composed of about 15-30 capsules a day, the Zuma Nutrition Parasite Detox tincture makes it easy, providing the same benefits with just one full half-full dropper of tincture a day. We recommend the Parasite Detox formula be taken on an empty stomach, mixed with a small amount of water due to its potency.
Make sure to read our guides "How to do a Parasite Detox Cleanse Safely and Effectively" and "How to Avoid Parasite Die Off Effects".
Rope worms are a worm-like material in the human body that may or may not be an actual worm. More research is needed to confirm what this substance is, but there are currently two leading theories about rope worm.
The first theory, often called the “parasite theory” is that rope worm is a type of parasitic worm that lives its entire life inside the human body. The second theory often called the “mucoid plaque theory” suggests that rope worm is really just strands of mucus build-up being released from the intestinal lining.
Whether rope worm is an actual worm or mucus build-up, it is not a good sign of health to discover these long strands. Excessive mucus build up in the intestines can point to a gastrointestinal health condition, whereas worms obviously point to an underlying parasitic infection.
In both cases, taking care of one’s gut health is important. A healthy gut relies on good diet, hydration, regular sleep, and low stress. However, one of the greatest things that one can do for gut health is to cleanse the gut of parasitic infections that pose a threat to our gut health.
This can be done by doing a parasite detox cleanse using parasite detox supplements that contain potent anthelmintic properties like cloves, wormwood, and green black walnut hulls. Parasites are a common health issue that is often underdiagnosed. It is important to treat parasitic infections early, and a good health measure is to do a gentle and natural parasite detox cleanse a few times a year to keep a healthy balance in the gut microbiome.
Rope worms are commonly found during colon cleansing procedures, but there is still not enough evidence to say what they actually are. If you’re experiencing an increase in mucus or notice the presence of worm-like strands during colon cleansing, it’s recommended to schedule an appointment with a doctor or gastroenterologist to find out what is causing it.