Giardiasis: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
September 23, 2021 | Farah Jassawalla

Giardiasis: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

The medical condition called giardiasis, also known as giardia, gets its name from the parasite Giardia lamblia which is the cause of this disease. It is an infection in the small intestine. This disease is highly contagious and spreads through contact.

Giardiasis is more prevalent in crowded and underdeveloped countries in Southern Asia, South Africa, and South America. It is because this parasite is present in contaminated areas, and attacks the human body through the ingestion of unhygienic food or contaminated water.

Animals and pets are also a source of dispersal of this parasite, which is why it is common in people who have pets in their homes. countries that lack sanitary control are prone to this disease.


There are multiple ways an individual can come in contact with this parasite which can lead to infection: through contaminated food and water, soil, animal skin and feces, through human feces such as diapers, through unprotected sex, etc. This parasite is found in animal and human feces and can survive without a host for a long period.

Drinking contaminated water is the most common way to develop giardiasis. Sometimes, ingesting water containing this parasite indirectly or accidentally, such as from swimming pools, parlors and spas, lakes, ponds and puddles of water can also become a source of developing this condition.

Even though ingesting food is a less common source of getting this parasite as the heat kills it, ingesting unhygienic food, handling food with dirty hands, or washing hands with contaminated water before eating food, all can lead to giardiasis.

Unprotected anal sex is a form of personal contact that plays role in the spread of this contagious disease. Similarly, coming in contact with human feces, especially infants in their potty training stage or when dealing with infants at home or in daycare, leads to causing this infectious sickness to both children and adults.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Giardiasis does not show symptoms instantly; its symptoms appear after 10 to 14 days after contact with the parasite. Some people may not show all the major symptoms. This leads to difficulty in the diagnosis of the infection.

The common symptoms of giardiasis include headache, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, bloating, gas or bloated stomach, abdominal pain, and most of all, diarrhea or greasy stool.

Bloating and diarrhea are the major symptoms of giardiasis that lead to an easy diagnosis. The stool samples are submitted to the doctors before and during treatment; they look for the occurrence of G. lamblia in the feces. Enteroscopy is performed by the doctors where they put a tube down the patient’s throat to the small intestine to extract tissue samples for the examination of the digestive tract.

Treatment and Prevention

In most cases, the infectious disease of giardiasis clears up on its own, but doctors prescribe anti-parasitic drugs or antibiotics to cure the infection and kill parasites, especially if the infection prolongs the usual time. You can acquire high-quality medications at Shifa4U.

As the cause of this disease is contamination, its preventive measures include hygiene and cleanliness. This parasite is not visible to the naked eye, so it is almost impossible to avoid it voluntarily. The only way to prevent it is by being cautious.

Recommended Packages

Farah Jassawalla

Farah Jassawalla is a graduate of the Lahore School of Economics. She is also a writer, and healthcare enthusiast, having closely observed case studies while working with Lahore's thriving general physicians at their clinics.