Colonoscopy video (with worm)

Hey look, everybody! It's Ascaris lumbricoides! How you doin'?

Sorry. I'm so sorry. It's fascinating. But I'll find something quick to take the edge off.

Video Link



  1. Oooooooh, MAGGIE!  Did it have to be a video?  A photo would have been sufficient.  I just had breakfast! 

    *giggle* Yeah, okay, it’s fascinating.  I’ve had a couple of colonoscopies and was awake to watch the monitor.  Glad the doctor didn’t find ‘The Kraken’ in there. 

  2. With that claw in the shot, it’s almost like playing an FPS.

    I read the wikipedia article, and apparently roundworms can transmit hypochondria over the interwebs. My throat tickles now. *cough*

  3. Awesome! My father is a gastroenterologist, and would occasionally bring home pictures of his “fishing trips” quite a bit like this, but never any video. I always loved the ones with recognizable objects, like a quarter or a piece of a straw. This is even better!

    1. Speaking of fishing trips, does your dad know if these make good bait? I’m  thinking of all the time I could save by not having to stop off at Gander Mountain on the way to the lake.

  4. And while we’re talking about parasites, if you want to see something really gross and cool at the same time, go on YouTube and look up the videos of people trying to get botfly larvae out.

  5. When I was in the 2nd grade there was this kid who used to pick up food off the ground and eat it all the time. Everyone thought he was gross and he clearly had other serious behavioral problems. His mom was a nurse, one day she brought in the worm that had been extracted from him and told us we might all have one of these inside us. It was fucking horrifying and bizarre. 

  6. Eh, doesn’t bother me, what’s the big deal?  After “tub-girl” and goatse and 2-girls-1-cup  this is tame.

    *sigh*. . . so jaded by the internet.

    Actually the “big deal” would be having one squirming around in your colon.  I’m curious: can you feel those f%$kers in there when they are moving?

    1. You can sure feel pinworms, which are a type of roundworm. Nastiest itching/tickling sensation ever around the anus.
      Two things that led to my incident as a child were having an indoor/outdoor pet combined with thumbsucking.

      If I ever felt like playing CIA, I’d torture my victims by giving them pinworms and shackling their hands against the wall. I can’t think of anything more excruciating. It even beats having my big toenail torn out.

  7. For a few months, Chrome + Google Reader has been doing something weird with embedded Youtube videos, showing me the still frame from the previous video instead of the intended embedded one. 

    Still, I was rather surprised to go to James Fallows after this, where he says “On the other hand, here is a great video! It’s been around for months, but even if you’ve seen it before it’s worth re-noticing. And if it’s new to you, all the better” followed by Colonoscopy Demonstrating a Moving Worm.

  8. Excellent! Fascinating too. I could watch a lot more of that.

    Doesn’t gross me out at all, I guess because I’ve seen videos of even more invasive parasites?The colon itself looks pretty healthy, far as I can tell.

  9. This is life for 15% of the human population so there’s nothing to get up in arms about.  We evolved along with many of these parasites.

  10. Haha. I’ve seen a similar video before, so this time I knew not to click Play before getting some breakfast into me ;P

    It is indeed fascinating to see that the human body is just another ecosystem…

    1. That’s right. It’s important to get some food into your system regularly, or the roundworms start complaining.

  11. I think we can all be grateful that the patient did the colon cleansing necessary before the colonoscopy.

  12. Just had my 1st colonoscopy last week; ah, the joys of turning 53! 

    No worms, but he did find a set of car keys…

    My father worked on developing the 1st heart pacemakers; we used to watch film cartridges of installation surgery at the dinner table and later, I worked as a medical photographer. This shit is fascinating and not disgusting in the least. This is what we look like, people. Say “cheese”! 

  13. Well, I won’t be visiting for the rest of the day now. Gotta give this stomach-churning post time to migrate downwards to “Older Posts.” Gaaahhh.

  14. I was hungry before I started watching this.  I’m still hungry.  I think I took way too many biology classes in college; after all that, I’m effectively immune to visual gross-out.

  15. Gotta say, I don’t see what’s so gross about this. I think it’s fascinating from a couple different perspectives. I had no idea the interior of the colon was so well ordered and ridge – it’s really quite fascinating visually. And the concept of a parasitic worm is itself fascinating, as an exercise in thinking about how much adaptation and specialization is embodied there. It also makes me wonder what happened for it to get there, and about whether it’s a routine thing to have to go in and drag those suckers out.

    Very thought-provoking.

    1. You don’t have to go in there and drag them out. That’s what antihelmintic drugs are for – just like deworming your dog!

  16. Mark Li-cheng Wu and Vanessa A. Jones

    (2000) Ascaris lumbricoides. Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine: January 2000, Vol. 124, No. 1, pp. 174-175.

    A 69-year-old Ecuadorian woman complained of a 4-month history of severe
    nuchal pain. Her past medical problems included long-standing rheumatoid
    arthritis requiring the replacement of multiple joints. She had moved
    to the United States from Ecuador 1 month previously. At presentation,
    x-ray examination showed impacted cervical vertebral bodies. She denied
    any gastrointestinal or pulmonary symptoms. She was later admitted for
    corrective cervical fusion, grafting of bone, and placement of
    orthopedic hardware. On the first postoperative day, while she was under
    the influence of general anesthesia, a cylindrical moving object
    emerged from her mouth. Gross examination revealed a roundworm measuring
    22 cm long with an uncoiled tail and a prominent convoluted uterus (Figure 1, ×1). Stereoscopic examination of the head revealed a mouth with 3 distinct lips characteristic of Ascaris lumbricoides (Figure 2, lateral view, ×3.75; and Figure 3, anterior view, ×3.75). The patient is currently being treated with antihelmintic therapy.

  17. ok- i am not queasy about most things but roundworms – yes specifically roundworms gross me the fuck out big time – i’ll take a bot or a guinea or or a tapeworm any day

  18. I had one of those for a while. I mentioned it when someone criticized my eating. 

    “I’m eating for two now. I have a tapeworm”

  19. 42 comments and nobody’s said, We have wormsign?  Very disappointing.

    Maybe I’m not grossed out by this because I’m old enough to remember getting de-wormed every time one of my classmates scratched his ass and pulled one out. Little purple-brown pills.

  20. I remember the deworming pills and the sticker type thing that was placed over the south door at bedtime, apparently roundworms come out to play at night.

    1. Roundworms don’t come out to play at night; you’re thinking of Enterobius vermicularis, the pinworm.

      Technically, I suppose pinworms are roundworms too in that they’re also part of the phylum Nematodes, but the common name roundworms (“You have roundworms. That dog has roundworms.”) usually refers to ascarids.

  21. Maggie, I love you. This was great. It falls under the umbrella of ‘things I am not allowed to *show* my husband, but enjoy describing to him from the other room.’ (This umbrella heading came about after I showed him a BME blog post from the ‘Hard’ gallery in one of the ‘guess what’ games. Yeah.)

    I do enjoy seeing things like this, that you can’t see on your own. I had a colposcopy to check up on some funky cells, and had the doctor take an extra photo for me to take home. Apparently, I was the first person in his entire career to ask – though, he was quite young!

  22. Ha! Unlike last time with the picture, people can use a flash blocker to shield themselves from your squick trolling :p

  23. I had my first colonoscopy last month, a fairly unpleasant experience that I paid for. Nice to know that they then share the more interesting exams with family and on Youtube.

  24. Squeamish lot, aren’t ya?

    Worm to colonosope: “Hey, get your own intestine, you plastic freak!”

    1. Leave a plate of milk and cookies by your bed and see if it’s still there in the morning?

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