A sushi enthusiast who ate raw salmon nearly every day discovered a 5-foot tapeworm living inside of him.
A man from Fresno, California, checked into a hospital's emergency room complaining of bloody diarrhea, the Daily Mail reports.
"I really want to get treated for worms," he later told doctors.
Dr. Kenny Bahn, who recounted the story on the podcast "This Won't Hurt A Bit," said he was initially skeptical that the man really had worms. But then the man provided proof.
"I take out a toilet paper roll, and wrapped around it of course is what looks like this giant, long tapeworm," Bahn said on the show.
The man reportedly discovered the tapeworm when he sat down on the toilet and felt it "wiggling out." He feared his guts were falling out of his body.
The Fresno resident was relieved to find out that the strange bodily expulsion was not apart of his actual body, but a moving tapeworm -- an astounding 5-and-a-half foot tapeworm.
"Just my height," Bahn remarked, according to The Fresno Bee.
The man confirmed that he had not been out of the country, but said that he ate sushi with raw salmon almost every day of the week.
Though the parasite that causes tapeworm, Diphyllobothrium nihonkaiense, was once thought only to occur in Asian-caught fish, doctors discovered in 2017 that it may also occur in salmon in Alaska. This means that any salmon caught on the West Coast might be infected with tapeworm, the Daily Mail reports.
The Fresno Bee reports that ordeal didn't surprise Bahn, and nor will it stop him from enjoying sushi. Fortunately for him, he prefers tuna.
Dr. Jessica Mason, an emergency room physician who co-hosts "This Won't Hurt A Bit," said that the tapeworms can grow up to 40 feet long. Treatment is the swallowing of a simple pill, which will kill remaining segments in the intestinal tract that may have not been excreted.
According to the Daily Mail, tapeworms infect humans when they ingest fish with the parasite larvae. In mere weeks, the tapeworm can grow several feet long. It may go undetected for months, but may eventually become life-threatening if larvae reaches other parts of the body.
Parasitologist Janine Caira told The Washington Post that parasites don't actually cause their hosts to waste away, contrary to popular belief. Some animals can live with tapeworms for virtually their entire lives.
"It's a super-long-term association," Caira says of the host-tapeworm symbiosis. "And not only that, it's a successful way of life."
Still, tapeworms are not particularly welcome in humans. Three species of tapeworm can infect people; if left untreated, they can cause weight loss and seizures, among other symptoms.