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Giardiasis Diagnosis And Treatment

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Giardiasis The diagnosis of giardiasis is based on the following:

Medical history or physical exam. If they suggest symptoms of giardiasis, some doctors prescribe one type of treatment or recommend other tests including:

Stool tests

Antigen tests that detect proteins (antigens) of Giardia

Direct collection of samples from the intestine, which is made if the stool test is inconclusive. A sample from the small intestine is taken so it can be examined to see the parasite. This test is rarely done. Liquids from the upper small intestine (duodenal fluid) may also be examined under a microscope to see the parasite or is a test to identify parasite antigens. Duodenal fluid is collected by endoscopy.

Other tests that can diagnose giardiasis or other similar diseases will be performed if fiardiasis symptoms persist for a long period of time, especially if problems arise from malabsorption. These tests are done for examining the small intestine (upper gastrointestinal tract) or to take a tissue sample (biopsy) of the upper small intestine to isolate microorganisms that cause infection.

When outbreaks of giardiasis occur in nurseries or foster care will be a screening of those infected. Those infected have no symptoms but can transmit the disease to others.


In some cases the symptoms of giardiasis disappear without any medical treatment. It is better to follow a treatment if the symptoms are present because it relieves discomfort and avoids spreading the infection. Some doctors recommend giardiasis treatment even though there are no giardiasis symptoms. This prevents spreading the disease and decreases the risk of chronic infection with this parasite. Treatment consists of administration of antiparasitic drugs (such as metronidazole or tinidazole) that kill the parasite. The recommended treatment depends on age, if additional treatments for giardiasis in history or pregnancy. Giardiasis treatment is started in the following condition:

  • People who work in kindergartens and child care centers
  • Affected people working with the preparation, handling and distribution of food
  • Brief episodes of diarrhea that can cause dehydration and loss of absorption for nutrients in the intestine, which can aggravate associated health conditions
  • Regular diarrhea episodes that occur over several months or longer (chronic giardiasis). Many cases get better eventually, but giardiasis treatment relieves symptoms and prevents the spread of infection to others.



If no symptoms are present the starting the treatment decision is based on the current risk of transmitting the infection. You do not need treatment of an infection that produces no symptoms, although most doctors recommend treatment. Drug treatment may not be effective for all patients.

Giardiasis Home Treatment

In the case of exposure to giardiasis and present diarrhea, drug therapy may relieve symptoms immediately after they are administered. Adjuvant treatment is also necessary to treat the disease at home.

Treatment of giardiasis diarrheal episodes

You can avoid episodes of diarrhea and dehydration through the following measures:

  • Calming the stomach by drinking only clear liquids until giardiasis symptoms improve. If diarrhea lasts more than 24 hours, take small sips of rehydration drinks to prevent dehydration. A glass of water mixed with rehydration substances for each stool.
  • As diarrhea usually helps recovering after a disease (especially one caused by a viral infection), avoid antidiarrheal medication for the first 6 hours. Diarrhea treatment will be started  in case of cramps and discomfort and other signs of illness such as fever
  • Easy to eat and digest foods such as rice, bread and dry biscuits, banana and apple juice from the second day or earlier. Avoid spicy foods, other fruits, alcohol and coffee for 2 days and dairy products for 3 days after giardiasis symptoms disappear.
  • Children with diarrheal episodes, especially those younger that 4 years, require attention to avoid dehydration. Children will be given small portions of food or liquids at short intervals. For older children, give half or a rehydration drink each hour accompanied by light food.
  • Continue feeding or feeding your baby breast milk or breast formulas as long as possible. changing to soy milk for a short period of time can be very useful.
  • Supplements are consumed in small sips along with rehydration drinks every few minutes. Do not drink carbonated, soft, fruit beverages. They usually contain too much sugar and not enough electrolytes, nutrients lost through diarrhea.

Digestive problems that occur after treatment of giardiasis

Some people with symptoms of giardiasis will notice a short-term milk intolerance and milk products (lactase deficiency). Their consumption produces similar symptoms as the giardia infection such as diarrhea, flatulence and cramps. Problems last more than a month after finishing the giardiasis treatment. If these symptoms occur during giardiasis treatment, avoid drinking milk or milk products for at least one month. Then gradually reintroduce them into your diet. Infants and children who suffered from giardia infection had poor growth compared to normal kids. It takes several weeks for them to recover to normal after the end of giardiasis treatment. Generally giardiasis does not cause any permanent problems in adults or children.

Medication Choices

Medication usually cures giardiasis in adults with a succes rate of 80% ato 95%. The remaining patients may not be cured after the first giardiasis treatment and need to repeat the same treatment with other drugs. If the symptoms and medical history suggest the diagnosis of giardiasis, some doctors prescribe drugs before a closer examination. This depends on whether they more family members were exposed to giardiasis or if there is risk of spreading the infection to other people.

  • Metronidazole (Flagyl, Noritate)
  • Tiniazol (Tindamax).