I looked down in the toilet and noticed some little white things, almost worm-like. What on earth is going on? -Paul from the Ask Oprah's All Stars studio audience
DR. OZ: I think this might be hook worms. All right, here's what happens with hook worms, and this is why it's so common, especially in the South. So, you're walkin' along and this little worm in the dirt gets up into your skin and bores a hole in the bottom of your foot, into your sole. It gets into the bloodstream through a little vein coming from your foot up towards your body. There it is, coming up. And it wiggles its way up into the bloodstream, and from there it flies up towards the heart. Once it's in the heart, it's pumped in to this cool area called the lungs. When it's pushed into the lungs, it sits there and of course, what happens in the lung? You breathe you, you breathe out. When there's a little worm inside your lungs, you don't like it so you begin to cough it up. These guys, they know where they're goin'. They climb up into the throat. This is the back of your throat.
It climbs over your uvula and then down into your - over your trachea and into your intestinal system. Once it's in your gut it sets up shop and bangs a little hole in there. See it's little biting things there? Those little teeth then suck in there and actually takes your blood and it lives there for months, sometimes years. So, when they come out, they often come out, they're about an inch, maybe a little shorter than that long. They'll often be alive when they come out.
Here's the deal. You've got different kinds of worms. There's hundreds of millions of people with hookworms. People argue actually that the South lost the Civil War because they had so many of their population that had worms from the dirt that had gotten into their body and made them anemic. Because the main way you know you got worms of this type is you have low blood counts, you just feel completely washed out. That's one thing you watch out for.
There are also round worms: probably a billion people on the planet with those. There are little pin worms. They're the ones that make your bottom itch. You have little kids that are itching' their bottoms, you know what to do, right? Put a piece of tape on their bottom. When they go to sleep at night, the worms climb out, get stuck on the tape. Pull the tape off the anus and looked at it, and you will see little itty bitty pin worms. They're the smallest of all the kind we talk about.
Good news in worms is they're easy to treat, not a big deal. And they don't usually kill ya, they just weaken you. Worms don't wanna kill ya - most bugs don't wanna kill ya, they wanna live on you, they wanna leech on you; they wanna suck your blood, which is what these guys do.
Get a little bit of poop, take it to the doc. We look at it, we can diagnose what it is by looking' at it. And take the antibiotics.
Next: It was so heartbreaking to hear that this dog ate a Sego Palm. What is a Sego Palm?