Giardiasis – What is it, Symptoms and Treatments!

Giardiasis – What is it, Symptoms and Treatments of this intestinal infection . Also, Giardiasis is an infection in your small intestine . It is caused by a microscopic parasite called Giardia lamblia. Giardiasis spreads through contact with infected people. Pets like dogs and cats also frequently contract giardia.

You can also get Giardiasis  by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. Giardia can be found all over the world, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). However, it is more common in overcrowded developing countries that lack sanitation and water quality control.

Giardiasis occurs worldwide and is most prevalent in areas with poor water treatment and poor sanitation. Seroprevalence in developing countries ranges from 20 to 30 percent. Most infected people are asymptomatic.

A serum prevalence rate as high as 35 percent has been reported in children. Although many of these children are asymptomatic, they can pass the infection on to family members.

Causes of Giardiasis: Giardia is found in animal and human feces. They also thrive in contaminated food, water and soil. They can survive outside a host for long periods of time. Accidentally consuming these parasites can lead to an infection .

The most common way to get giardiasis is to drink water that contains giardia. Contaminated water can be in swimming pools, spas and bodies of water such as lakes. Sources of contamination include animal feces, diapers and agricultural runoff.

Contractual food giardiasis is less common because heat kills the parasites. Handling food with poor hygiene or eating products rinsed in contaminated water can allow the parasite to spread. Giardiasis is also spread through personal contact. Unprotected anal sex is one way this infection passes from one person to another.

Symptoms of Giardiasis: Some people can carry Giardia parasites without experiencing any symptoms. Symptoms of Giardiasis usually appear a week or two after exposure. Common symptoms include:

  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • Diarrhea or fatty stools
  • loss of appetite
  • vomit
  • Abdominal bloating and cramping
  • weight loss
  • excessive gas
  • Headaches
  • abdominal pain

Giardiasis Treatments: In most cases, Giardiasis eventually clears up on its own. Your doctor may prescribe medication if your infection is severe or prolonged. Most doctors will recommend that you be treated with anti-parasitic drugs rather than letting it heal on its own. Certain antibiotics are commonly used to treat Giardiasis :

  • Metronidazole is an antibiotic that can cause nausea and leave a metallic taste in your mouth.
  • Tinidazole often treats giardiasis in a single dose and is as effective as metronidazole.
  • Nitazoxanide is a popular option for children because it is available in liquid form.
  • Paromomycin is less likely to cause birth defects than other antibiotics, although pregnant women wait until delivery before taking any medication for Giardiasis .

Complications of Giardiasis:  Giardiasis can lead to complications such as weight loss and dehydration from diarrhea. The infection can also cause lactose intolerance in some people. Children under five who have giardiasis are at risk of malnutrition, which can interfere with physical and mental development.

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