Rope worms are a ropey substance present in human intestines that occasionally appear in poop, typically after undergoing an enema treatment.
As the name suggests, rope worms have a rope-like appearance and are believed by many to be a type of intestinal parasite or worm.
However, there is a lot of debate about what rope worms actually are and if they’re even a real thing.
Many think they are a parasite like a tapeworm or pinworm, while others believe they are simply an intestinal mucus called mucoid plaque.
So, what exactly is a rope worm?
- Rope worm theory is the belief that these worms are a type of intestinal parasite called funis vermis
- There is lack of concrete scientific evidence supporting the rope worm being a living parasite
- Evidence of this viscous mucus which this “worm” resembles shows it consists of 99% human DNA
- Nobody knows the cause of this mucus in the feces for sure
The below guide has all the info you need to make an informed decision for yourself.
What Are Rope Worms? Fact or Fiction?
The rope worm theory is the belief that rope worms are a type of intestinal parasite called funis vermis.
Rope worms look like small strands of rope and live inside the human intestines throughout their life.
In 2012, Russian scientists out of Florida reported seeing these worms in poop after the public were undergoing routine enema treatments.
One of their two studies was titled “Human anaerobic intestinal “rope” parasites” (1)
The scientist proposed that these worms undergo a five-stage life cycle (2) and explained the development stages of a rope worm life cycle as the following:
- Rope warms are initially a slimly material that form throughout the body.
- The slimly material develops into a thicker mucus that has gas bubbles, allowing the parasite to migrate throughout our bodies.
- The mucus develops branches that produce in various directions
- Small rope worms begin to develop from the mucus structure as intestinal parasites
- Small rope worms develop into adult rope worms with the ability to attach themselves to parts of the intestines and intestinal lining, making them parasitic worms.
It’s also claimed that rope worms infect the body with harmful toxins if not flushed from our bodies.
There are various methods for extracting rope worms, namely enema treatments.
While these research findings were published in an online journal in 2013, the study has not been peer-reviewed.
So, there is a lack of concrete scientific evidence supporting the rope worm theory, leading many to believe that it is simply a myth.
Following on from that, there is actually evidence of this viscous mucus with a rope like shape that shows it consists of 99% human DNA (3).
This is the most critical evidence in medical science against the theory the potential intestinal inhabitant called rope worms in the human body.
Mucoid Plaque Buildup
One theory for rope worm is that the excreted slimy mucus and long rope like structures are actually a mucoid plaque buildup in the body.
The mucoid plaque theory proposes that rope worms aren’t an intestinal parasite but rather a type of intestinal mucus called mucoid plaque.
Intestinal mucus plays an important role in human health, helping absorb healthy substances while forming a protective barrier that prevents harmful substances entering the bloodstream through the intestines.
It is proposed to create intestinal barrier cells and, like any cell within the body, intestinal mucus naturally sheds over time and often ends up in human feces.
While minor amounts of shedding are normal, people suffering from gut problems like diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may shed higher volumes of mucus.
So, the mucoid plaque theory claims that rope worms are nothing more than intestinal mucus buildups passing from our guts to our poop.
Because the rope-like substance typically appears in poop after an enema, the mucoid plaque theory believes that these extraction methods flush out intestinal mucus buildups.
However, like the rope worm parasite theory, there is a lack of scientific evidence to support the existence of mucoid plaque buildups or that treatments like popular coffee enemas or salt milk enemas work to release toxins to improve gut health.
The Verdict? Rope Worms are a Myth
With the evidence that the intestinal debris and worm or rope like strands that come out of our feces sharing 99% DNA with humans, it’s unlikely that these are real worms or a life form.
The worm like strands are likely to be mucus build up but even that needs to be studied more.
Whether these are harmful microorganisms that aren’t simply routine shedding of your intestinal lining and may cause a health concern also needs more research.
It’s also unlikely that popular enema treatments like coffee or baking soda enemas will prevent harmful microorganisms or benefit gut health conditions, though there is always anecdotal evidence that it may help with gastrointestinal conditions.
Ultimately, there aren’t any peer reviewed studies confirming the existence of the rope worm as a living entity in your small or large intestines, unlike other parasites.
What Causes Rope Worms?
Due to a lack of evidence explaining what rope worms are, we don’t really know what causes these rope-like substances to appear in our poop.
Some claim they develop due to a poor diet (for example, a diet high in processed foods), while others believe it could be by-products of certain health treatments, such as taking psyllium to treat gut problems.
Can You Poop out Rope Worms?
Yes, rope worms appear may appear in your poop.
However, rope worms are usually only present in poop after a cleansing treatment like a colon cleanse or enema.
Whether these gooey, rope-like substances are rope worms or mucoid plaque buildups remains open to debate!
As are the proposed benefits of colon cleansing for the intestinal tract, intestinal blockage and the human gut overall.
What Worms Can Actually Come out In Your Poop?
The below are actual parasitic worm species and are considered human intestinal parasite species as they live in the intestines, that can come out in your poop and how they end up there:
Pinworms are the most common intestinal parasite in the world.
The parasite is a thin white worm that grows anywhere between ¼ to ½ in length.
Infection occurs when a female pinworm lays microscopic eggs in the skin area around the anus.
Pinworm infections often have no symptoms, although some occasionally feel mild itchiness or discomfort around the infected area.
Most people affected by pinworms are school children, with the eggs easily passing from person to person.
Tapeworms are an intestinal worm caused by eating food or drink infected with tapeworm eggs or larvae.
Tapeworm eggs and larvae grow inside the body, developing into adult tapeworms that infect the intestines.
Certain types of tapeworm eggs may also lead to an invasive infection, resulting in larval cysts on skin and organs.
When suffering from an intestinal infection, tapeworms stick to the intestinal wall, growing and laying eggs for up to 30 years!
Symptoms for tapeworm infections are varied, including nausea, diarrhea, weight loss, poor appetite, and dizziness.
What Do Worms Look Like in Your Poop?
It depends on the type of parasitic infections you have, as well as the worm species that can be a human parasite and infect humans.
Most intestinal worms are easy to spot in your fecal matter, as they have a worm-like appearance, typically being thin and measuring a few inches in length.
For example, pinworms are small white worms that often appear in the infected person’s poop.
Similarly, rope worms – while possibly not even worm – have a long and thin rope-like appearance.
Only parts of tapeworms may appear in your poop – usually something that looks like a head with small suckers or hooks.
If you think you have worms in your poop, it’s a good idea to visit your doctor to arrange a stool test!
Rope worms are a gooey, rope-like substance that appears in human poop, usually after a cleansing treatment.
We still don’t know what these substances are, with some believing it to be an intestinal worm called rope worm, while others think it’s a type of intestinal mucus buildup called mucoid plaque.
However, it’s highly unlikely that rope worms are a parasite due to a lack of scientific evidence.
While there is no proof that we pass mucoid plaque buildups in our poop either, intestinal mucus is real, so it’s the more likely of the theories.
(1) https://arxiv.org/abs/1301.0953 – “Human anaerobic intestinal “rope” parasites”
(2) https://arxiv.org/abs/1301.2845 – the development stages of a rope worm (initial stages through to the fifth and final stage)
(3) https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1301/1301.2845.pdf – rope worm consists of 99% human DNA