Giardiasis is an intestinal infection caused by unicellular parasites that causes inflammation and functional restriction of the small intestine.
This can cause diarrhea and nausea. The pathogens are transmitted through the excretions of infected humans and animals. Often Giardiasis is found in developing countries as a result of poor hygiene.
In our latitudes are mainly smaller children and people who take contaminated water. Many sufferers become infected with Giardiasis when traveling to developing countries.
The cause of Giardiasis is the parasite Giardia Lamblia. Therefore, the disease is also often referred to as Lambliasis. The same pathogens can cause Giardiasis in dogs and cats. Consequently, these animals can also transfer giardiasis to humans.
Affected persons may have been infected by feces, contaminated water or foods that have been linked to the pathogen. The Giardiasis pathogen occurs in two forms. Cysts can survive outside the body and are considered to trigger giardiasis. Even people who remain symptom-free themselves excrete the pathogen over several months and can thus become a high risk of infection with Giardiasis.
Already the admission of ten cysts can cause an infection with Giardiasis. It is estimated that up to 30% of the population is infected with Giardiasis in countries with poor hygiene.
Giardiasis is usually a harmless disease. Many people do not develop any symptoms. However, these people still retire for a long time the pathogen over the chair and can thus continue to transmit the disease. However, when it comes to discomfort, the most typical symptom is a long-lasting and recurring diarrhea.
In addition, sufferers often suffer from unclear abdominal pain and bloating. Not infrequently, the pain is colicky abdominal pain. In addition, there are often nausea and vomiting. The diarrhea has a foamy-watery consistency. Partly the diarrhea is also bloody. Constant bloating is also one of the typical symptoms.
In protracted cases, it can lead to water retention in the tissue (edema). In particularly severe diarrhea, the nutrient uptake in the intestine may be disturbed. As a result, a malnutrition is possible. Rarely pancreas and bile ducts can also be affected. In particular, in a massive infestation with the parasite Giardia lamblia or in immunocompromised individuals sometimes acute pancreas or bile duct inflammation occur, leading to severe discomfort.
Also typical is a contagion during a trip. If the traveler's diarrhea is caused by the pathogen Giardia lamblia, it persists as a weak diarrhea several weeks after the return home. In extremely rare cases, mainly in immunocompromised individuals, giardiasis can also be fatal.
For the most part, people infected with Giardiasis remain symptom-free. When symptoms occur, this happens about two weeks after the infection. Giardiasis is characterized by diarrhea, bloating and nausea. Less common are fever and vomiting.
If giardiasis is suspected, a doctor should be consulted immediately. This will first try to prove the pathogen on the basis of a stool sample. If this fails, several fresh stool samples are used.
Safety also brings about a reflection of the small intestine. At this endoscopy, a special instrument is inserted through the mouth. It is also possible to take a tissue sample in this study to detect giardiasis.
If the infection is left untreated for more than a week, it may damage the mucous membrane of the small intestine and hinder nutrient uptake.
Weight loss and anemia can be the result. In people with a weakened immune system, giardiasis usually takes a more severe course. When treated by medication, the symptoms disappear two to three weeks after infection. In some cases, it is possible that the Giardiasis occurs again.
In most cases, giardiasis does not cause any special complications. This disease can be relatively well limited and treated with the help of antibiotics and leads in most cases to a positive disease course. The sufferers suffer from complaints in the region of the stomach and stomach. It comes to severe abdominal pain, stomach cramps and diarrhea.
Flatulence can also occur, with nausea and vomiting associated with it. Not infrequently, patients also suffer from an anorexia and thus take less food and fluid. This results in most cases to an underweight or deficiency symptoms. Dehydration also has a very negative impact on the patient's health. Furthermore, it can also cause a fever.
Due to the Giardiasis the quality of life of the person affected is extremely reduced. It comes to a lethargy and to a general malaise. The immune system is weakened, so that the person affected can also get other infections or illnesses. The treatment of giardiasis with antibiotics does not cause any special complications. The symptoms disappear relatively quickly and there is no reduced life expectancy.
In most cases, giardiasis can be treated relatively easily and quickly with the help of antibiotics. It should be consulted quickly a doctor, since it does not come to a self-healing and taking antibiotics can prevent further complications and complaints well.
Patients should consult a doctor for diarrhea or severe stomach and abdominal pain. Flatulence or severe nausea with vomiting may indicate giardiasis and should be investigated if they persist over a long period of time.
Likewise sufferers often suffer from loss of appetite and thus also from a weight loss. Even with fever, general fatigue and fatigue the conversation with a doctor should be sought. Giardiasis can be treated by a GP or a pediatrician. Only in a few cases the examination with an internist is necessary. An early diagnosis and treatment always leads to a positive course of the disease.
If the diagnosis is confirmed and there is a giardiasis, antibiotics are used. The drugs kill the bacteria and prevent their reproduction. In most cases, the doctors prescribe the drug metronidazole for giardiasis.
The active substance contained in it is converted by the pathogens of giardiasis into an intermediate which attacks the DNA of the parasites. The tablets should not be crushed by the patients before ingestion because they are very bitter in taste. Metronidazole should not be used in people with blood disorders and pregnant women.
Alcohol consumption should be avoided during therapy, as severe side effects have to be expected. Albendazole or mebendazole are prescribed as alternative medicines.
In people infected with Giardia lamblia, the pathogens adhere non-invasively to the mucous membrane of the intestine. The mucosal cells are therefore not destroyed. Their function, however, may suffer from the infestation. Also inflammations are possible.
If the disease is severe, malnutrition may occur. The course can also be wholly unspecific. There are people who carry the pathogen in their digestive tract, but still show no symptoms of disease. However, they also shed cysts for months.
These put other persons in the case of poor hygiene. Most of the time, however, the immune system succeeds in killing the pathogen within a few weeks. Weak individuals are susceptible, be it by a previous illness or by a bad general or poor nutritional status. Here, the prognosis is usually about worse than in humans with an intact immune system.
The first means of treatment is the antimicrobial drug metronidazole. Even with a successful treatment can occur over months gastrointestinal problems. Giardiasis probably causes irritable bowel syndrome and sometimes even food intolerance. Overall, the treatment options at Giardia lamblia are well developed today.
Especially germicidal drugs achieve good success rates. Important for a positive prognosis are careful, accompanying hygiene measures. Above all, they should prevent re-infection and have a preventive effect.
Special risk groups for giardiasis infection are children aged between one and three years, persons with reduced gastric acidity and people with blood group A. Particular caution is advised when traveling abroad.
You should often wash your hands and always heat food sufficiently. Water should be boiled for at least ten minutes. Drinks should be drunk only from factory sealed containers. In Turkey, India or Egypt, the risk of becoming infected with giardiasis is particularly high.
As a general rule, Giardiasis requires no follow-up care. However, the trigger should be identified as soon as possible so that the disease does not recur. The contact with the trigger is of course quickly abort. In general, an early diagnosis has a positive effect on the further course of this disease.
Giardiasis is usually treated with antibiotics. The affected person must pay attention to the correct use of these drugs, antibiotics should not be taken with alcohol, so as not to lose their effect. In case of interactions, a doctor should always be contacted first to prevent it.
If the person is pregnant, this should be mentioned in the treatment, if necessary to choose another drug for treatment. A high level of hygiene can also prevent the Giardiasis and should always be kept.
Drinks should be drunk only from completely closed containers. The immune system should not be unnecessarily burdened during this infection to speed healing. It is also important to look for light food, so as not to overburden the stomach. As a rule, giardiasis is completely cured.
The antibiotic treatment of giardiasis can be supported by some hygienic measures. Those affected should wash their hands regularly and avoid contact with other people. Appropriate precautions prevent the pathogens from being carried or transferred to other people. In high-risk areas, infection can be avoided by boiling water and not eating uncooked fruits and vegetables.
During therapy should be dispensed with alcohol, since the active ingredients contained can cause severe interactions. Generally, a gentle diet without stimulant should be considered. Foods such as white bread and rusks, as well as chicken broth and soft-boiled vegetables, have proved their worth.
It is also important to protect, since the body and especially the immune system during the acute phase of the disease is heavily loaded. Any fluid loss from vomiting and diarrhea should be compensated by drinking plenty of clean water. In case of severe deficiency symptoms, dietary supplements such as electrolyte solutions or vitamin tablets are recommended.
If the giardiasis has not subsided after one week at the latest, a doctor must be consulted. Possible complications and unusual symptoms should also be discussed with the responsible physician to avoid a difficult course.