10 Giardia Symptoms

By james
Reviewed: Dr. Mera
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Giardia is an infection caused by the tiny parasite Giardia lamblia, which infects the small intestine. It is often contracted by people with pet dogs and/or cats and is also contagious from contact with other people who have been infected. Contaminated drinking water and food are other ways the infection can be caught.

Some people who get infected will experience no conditions whatsoever. It is a fairly common condition and is found more often in countries that have poor sanitary standards and overcrowding.

Giardia is relatively easy to treat and is not necessarily dangerous, but vulnerable people will need to be supervised closely. This article looks at 10 symptoms of giardia to look out for.

Symptom #1: Appetite Loss

We cannot live without food and most people can only go for about 14 days without it. Even people with a lot of body fat will still need food because the fat does not provide all the nutrition that they need. As such, we have evolved to experience hunger to ensure that we get all the food that we need.

When we are ill, though, we may not feel like eating as much as we usually would. Patients with giardia will often feel as though they just don’t want to eat a thing. Bear in mind, though, that it is important to eat what you can no matter how little you might feel like it.


Symptom #2: Excess Gas

Too much gas can be a little embarrassing, but it is still very natural. Gases in the digestive system are created by bacteria as they break down the food. It is also sometimes caused by ingesting too many carbonated drinks. If the gas builds up too much then the body will need to pass it out of the body. This results in flatulence and/or burping.

With giardia infecting the digestive system, the parasite will produce gas in much the same way that our healthy bacteria do. This can build up to excessive levels and it will need to be passed out of the body eventually. The symptom should pass once the infection has been dealt with.

Symptom #3: Nausea

Nausea is often the first sign that something is wrong. It is a very common symptom, one of the most common of all, and it is often put down to being something quite harmless. The good news is that it usually is harmless and will not last for long. Nausea is also sometimes a symptom of something that needs to be treated.

Nausea is a common symptom of giardia. This symptom on its own is not enough to reach a diagnosis, but it can be useful to know when combined with other symptoms. While it is something that we will often try to overlook, it should encourage you to see a doctor if it continues.


Symptom #4: Vomiting

If there is something in the body that should not be there, then our bodies will do what they can to eject it. There are various ways to do this, one of which is crude but effective: vomiting. It is a common symptom and is often caused by ingesting something that we should not ingest, such as too much alcohol.

Vomiting is a symptom among patients that have a giardia infection. If somebody is vomiting too much then this can cause further problems as the patient becomes dehydrated and malnourished. A doctor may be able to prescribe something to reduce the body’s urge to vomit.

Symptom #5: Fatigue

When we are ill, our bodies are constantly fighting against the disease. This means that a lot of the body’s resources are being used to help combat the illness. This, and other factors, can result in us feeling tired all of the time, and this is a symptom of giardia.

Giardia will also affect how we are able to absorb our food, and this can add to the fatigue. In addition, we are likely to be vomiting and have diarrhea, which would also contribute to the problem. Patients should be able to regain their strength once the infection has been dealt with, however.


Symptom #6: Diarrhea

Diarrhea is one of those conditions that you would usually prefer other people not to know about. It is very unpleasant and potentially very embarrassing. It can be caused by a wide variety of factors, from eating the wrong food to potentially serious disease. Diarrhea is also a symptom of giardia.

Giardiasis usually causes watery diarrhea at first but it can also alternate with “greasy stools”. One particular aspect regarding fat in the stool is that the increased amount of fat will cause the stools to float in the toilet.

Symptom #7: Abdominal Cramps

Patients suffering from Giardiasis will usually experience some sort of abdominal discomfort. Most patients will have abdominal cramps in the early stages of the disease.

The pain usually comes and goes as the peristaltic waves develop (normal movement of the intestines). The pain is not usually severe but it can be intense enough to cause distress.


Symptom #8: Weight Loss

It is important to note that weight loss that is unexplained and/or happens too quickly is not a good thing. It is often a sign of an underlying illness, and such illnesses can be very dangerous to us. It is also a symptom of giardia, but thankfully, it is a condition that should not be too serious.

Patients with giardia are likely to have difficulty taking nutrition from the food that they eat. With vomiting and diarrhea, they are also likely to be losing a lot of the nutrition that they might otherwise be able to use. If you do suddenly start losing weight without a good reason then you should make an appointment with your doctor.

Symptom #9: Malaise

It is normal for us to develop a range of symptoms when we have an infection, some of which are listed above. Many symptoms are quite easy to describe to a doctor, but not all are quite so easily explainable. One symptom of giardia is malaise and it often sounds quite vague.

Malaise is a condition of generally feeling unwell but without any specific symptom. It can sometimes be passed off as just having a bad day, but it can be a sign of an underlying problem. You should let the doctor know if you are feeling this way as it can help them to find out what the problem is.

Symptom #10: Bloating

The vast majority of us have felt bloated at some point in our lives. It generally comes down to a build-up of gas in our digestive system, which causes the stomach to expand. The gas will eventually be passed out through the body, but bloating can be quite uncomfortable until that happens.

As already mentioned, giardia can lead to excess gas, and this can lead to a buildup of gas. As such, bloating is a fairly common symptom of the infection. There are various other causes for bloating, and it is something that you should arrange to get checked out if it continues for too long.


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