Doctors in China removed a tapeworm from a woman's breast, five years after she swallowed live frogs as part of her "traditional treatment" for rheumatism in her legs. According to local reports, the 59-year-old Chinese woman from Jiaxing in eastern China’s Zhejiang province ate three live frogs but instead of relief she found herself in more discomfort than before.

The woman, who has not been identified, experienced aches and pains in her stomach, breasts and eyes, but was unaware what was causing her the discomfort. Initially she thought that the traditional treatment might cure her body pain that she suffered for rheumatism — a condition that causes pain in body joints and connective tissues. However, things got worse as she contracted a serious parasite infection.

The woman reportedly underwent a breast lump removal surgery on March 7 at Jiaxing's Tongxiang Second People's Hospital.

"I found an object that resembled a worm's head in her breast. I tried to clip it out, and then pull out a 13-centimetre-long (five inches) tapeworm," Dr Zhang Yun told local media. 

Doctors said the parasite found in the woman's breast was a Sparganum mansoni, often found in the intestines of cats and dogs, but rarely in humans. 

The woman reportedly told the doctors that she had swallowed live frogs as part of a traditional treatment. After hearing the woman’s story, the doctor concluded that the tapeworm most likely grew from larvae that had been inside the frogs she had eaten.

Eating raw or uncooked meat might lead to a similar condition when a tapeworm enters the human body, or sometimes grows from larvae.

Last month, a Florida man had a brain-eating parasitic pork tapeworm removed from his eyeball that threatened to turn him blind. The tapeworm reportedly entered the man's body after consuming raw meat. The man had said that he did not feel any discomfort as the worm lived inside his eye. 

In another case in January, a sushi lover discovered a tapeworm coming out of his body when using the bathroom. The man reportedly got the parasitic worm inside his body from his daily consumption of salmon sashimi.