What You Need to Know About Giardiasis
When a person becomes infected with Giardia, the parasite begins to multiply within the intestines. After one to two weeks (the average is seven days), symptoms of giardiasis can occur. Symptoms may begin gradually or come on all of a sudden. Symptoms will also vary among individuals.
Common symptoms of giardiasis can include:
- Gas or flatulence
- Greasy stools that tend to float
- Abdominal pain
- Stomach cramps
- Upset stomach or nausea.
These symptoms may lead to weight loss and dehydration.
(Click Giardia Symptoms for more information about symptoms associated with this condition.)
In order to make a giardiasis diagnosis, the doctor will generally begin by asking a number of questions, including information about symptoms, current medicines, and medical conditions, along with your recent travel history. The doctor will also likely perform a physical exam and recommend certain tests.
As part of testing for Giardia, your healthcare provider will likely ask you to submit stool samples. Because giardiasis can be difficult to diagnose, your provider may ask you to submit several stool specimens over a period of days.
Several prescription medicines are available for giardiasis treatment (see Giardia Medication). These medicines cure giardiasis in about 80 percent of people. If a person's symptoms do not improve with treatment, the doctor may recommend another medication or the same medicine for a longer period of time. Treatment for giardiasis also involves staying well hydrated and possibly treating people who have had close contact with the infected person.
(Click Giardia Treatment for more information on treating giardiasis.)