Giardiasis: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Common Intestinal Infection

Giardiasis Causes

What Is Giardiasis?

Giardiasis is a common intestinal infection caused by the microscopic parasite Giardia lamblia. It is the most commonly reported form of waterborne disease in the United States and is responsible for an estimated 2 million cases each year. If left untreated, symptoms of giardiasis can persist for months or even years.

What Are the Causes of Giardiasis?

Giardiasis is typically transmitted through drinking water or consuming food or beverages contaminated with the parasite. It can also be contracted through contact with an infected person. The symptoms of giardiasis can range from mild to severe, depending on the amount of parasite present and the person’s overall health.

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What Are the Symptoms of Giardiasis?

Common symptoms of giardiasis may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Weight Loss
  • Fatigue
  • Dehydration

What Are the Treatments for Giardiasis?

The most common treatment for giardiasis is medication, which kills the parasite. The most prescribed drugs for treating the infection are metronidazole and tinidazole, typically taken for 5–7 days. It is important to note that if left untreated, Giardia can remain in the body for months or even years, so it is important to complete the entire course of medication to ensure the infection is fully cleared.

Preventing Giardiasis

Good hygiene and sanitation practices can help reduce the risk of contracting giardiasis. This includes:

  • Washing hands often
  • Boiling or filtering water before drinking
  • Avoiding raw or undercooked foods
  • Avoiding contact with infected persons
  • Cleaning and disinfecting toilets and sinks regularly

When to See a Doctor

If you experience any of the symptoms of giardiasis, it is important to see a doctor. A doctor can diagnose giardiasis with a simple stool test and provide treatment to avoid long-term health problems and complications. Early treatment is key to preventing the spread of the parasite and reducing the risk of complications.

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