We received a slightly disturbing and confusing message from a reader. Here is the message (edited slightly to make a little more sense): “How do I get hair horse out of my body. It comes out when I urine. It travels all over inside my body. I find long black or brown thin hair in my toilet. Please help me.”
First, let’s do some decoding. We assume that our reader is curious about horsehair worm, not “hair horse” but simply mixed up the name. Horsehair worms are free-living organisms as adults, but at immature stages they are internal parasites. Immature horsehair worms develop inside their host’s body. When they are mature enough to lay eggs, they eject themselves out of their hosts and into water, killing their host in the process. Hosts include a wide range of arthropods, including crickets, beetles, cockroaches, and grasshoppers. Horsehair worms are not harmful to humans, domestic animals, or pets. According to the University of California Cooperative Extension page on Horsehair Worms, if humans ingest horsehair worms they may experience some mild discomfort in their intestinal tract, but infection does not occur.
Therefore, we aren’t sure if what our reader is dealing with is horsehair worms. Although horsehair worms can resemble thread or hair, we are not convinced that the brown and black hairs our reader has discovered in her toilet are horsehair worms. Our reader is clearly concerned about her health and experiencing some strange symptoms. We encourage her to see a doctor as soon as possible! Since we are not medical professionals, we are not licensed to give medical advice of any kind.
To conclude, one of our readers believes that she is infected with horsehair worms. We can’t offer any medical advice to our reader, but we encourage her to see a doctor immediately. We wish her the best of luck and hope she finds herself in good health soon.