Anyone who's seen Dr. Oz on The Oprah Winfrey Show before knows that one of his favorite topics is…poop. Just when we thought there was nothing left to say on this topic, we received this anonymous e-mail:
"Dr. Oz: I'm so embarrassed. This morning I had a B.M. [bowel movement], and I looked in the toilet to see if it was S-shaped. I saw what looked like dozens of tiny long worms. How could worms get in my poop? What do I do?"
"That's why Anonymous wants to remain anonymous," Oprah jokes.
Dr. Oz says Anonymous most likely has pinworm—the most common worm parasite in North America and Europe—which he says affects 20 percent of the kids in the United States. "By the way," Dr. Oz says, "[pinworm] is not dangerous."
"What happens is the little eggs get in your mouth, they hatch, they become active worms in the colon, and then the mothers go out of your anus at night when you're sleeping. They secrete little eggs and a chemical that makes your bottom itch. So you itch your bottom, you get the eggs on your fingertips, you put it on the toys you're playing with or a dish, and then it gets converted to someone else."
If you think your child has pinworm, Dr. Oz says there's a very easy test. "Take a piece of tape. Tape it over their [anus] at nighttime, and when the mother comes out and lays the eggs, you'll capture the eggs in the tape. Then take the tape to your doctor," he says. "It sounds spooky. It's very effective. You catch the eggs, you make a diagnosis, it's a simple treatment [of oral pills without many side effects]—not a big deal."
Parasites are incredibly common and not just found in children. Dr. Oz says 90 percent of humans will have a problem with parasites in their lifetime.