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Symptoms of Giardiasis

Giardiasis, caused by the parasite Giardia intestinalis, showcases symptoms affecting the digestive system and overall well-being, often requiring medical attention for proper management.

  • 22 Nov 2023
  • 2 min read

Giardiasis is a prevalent disease worldwide, caused by the protozoan parasite Giardia duodenales. It is most commonly found in low socio-economic regions where clean water is scarce. This parasite can infect both animals and humans, who can then spread it through their faeces.

As a result, water supplies and food can become contaminated. Giardia can survive outside the host body for several weeks, making it easy for food and water to become contaminated. In this article, we will discuss the main signs and symptoms of giardiasis.

What are the Symptoms of Giardiasis?     

The common signs and symptoms of giardiasis include the following:

  • Diarrhoea – One of the most common symptoms of giardiasis is diarrhoea, which can cause a mild to extreme stomach upset. It can present with 5-10 loose stools (2-5 in mild cases) per day, which can progressively lead to fatigue.
  • Gas and bloating– Another common symptom is the formation of gas in the stomach, caused due to bad digestion and parasitic load. The formation of gas might lead to a feeling of tightness in the tummy.
  • Greasy stool – Giardiasis patients often pass greasy stool, which can float on water.
  • Abdominal discomfort – Abdominal discomfort, such as pain and cramping, is a common presentation of giardiasis.
  • Nausea and vomiting – Abdominal discomfort is often associated with feelings of nausea and vomiting.
  • Dehydration – Giardiasis is mostly associated with dehydration due to excessive loss of water and electrolytes from the body. It can be mild or sometimes severe, mandating urgent attention.
  • Sometimes, people will experience long-term giardia symptoms, such as arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and years of recurrent diarrhoea.

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Giardiasis can often go unnoticed, with no symptoms appearing in about half of cases. However, when symptoms of giardiasis do occur, they can be severe and require treatment. It is crucial to monitor symptoms and take precautions, particularly for infants, pregnant women, and those with chronic illnesses, to prevent dehydration.

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