February 23, 2005 3:21 PM   Subscribe

This is incredibly disgusting, I know, but has anyone on here ever had giardia, and how were you treated? Was it successful? Any info would be appreciated because I think I may have it.
posted by fabesfaves to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I got it drinking tainted water while hiking. It wasn't fun. I didn't know it was giardia until after it had mostly run it's course though (it took maybe 2 months) because I'm a pinhead and don't go to doctors when I should.
posted by substrate at 3:27 PM on February 23, 2005

i got it when i was living in south asia, but i think the symptoms manifest themselves differently in different people. after witnessing several people contract it, i knew i that it was giardia when the nausea and general ill-feeling hit me. if it is giardia, you'll almost immediately (within 5 hours) feel better after taking tinadazole or metronidazole. though i did know a guy who had it recur, and the only way he got rid of it was eating a rice-only diet for a week.
posted by ch3ch2oh at 3:37 PM on February 23, 2005

Tinidazole is the recommended therapy for giardiasis. Pretty easy to get (Tindamax is the brand name in the US), but prescription-only, so go visit your doctor.
posted by me3dia at 3:37 PM on February 23, 2005

Thanks for the quick replies--I just wondered about personal experience because the "lab tests"/ways of determining infection I'm reading about don't sound very fun or exciting.
posted by fabesfaves at 3:48 PM on February 23, 2005

Ditto me3dia's i.d. of tinidazole. For a resume of the current treatment options, this article from PubMed (by the deliciously named researcher W.A. Petri!) goes into more details.

My microbiology prof mentioned something recently about a new diagnostic for giardisis but (sorry!) it's slipped the brain.
posted by docgonzo at 3:55 PM on February 23, 2005

I was given metronidazole/flagyl when I got giardia (from brushing my teeth with tap water while in a mountainous region of china). This seems to be the recommended solution here. No idea if this is any diferent to Tinidazole mentioned above. Relief from symptoms was dramatic & immediate, thank god, as it's *not* a pleasant thing to have.

If you have got it, make sure you complete the course of medication: it took me about three goes as I kept on prematurely thinking I was cured.
posted by chrispy at 4:03 PM on February 23, 2005

I've had giardia in India, so it was maybe a different strain. The main identifiable symptoms, besides rapidly losing the content of my intestinal tract, involved the emission of enormous belches and farts of absolutely indescribable foulness. Rotten eggs and then some.

Flagyl did for it, I think. I talked with an english nurse while travelling there, and she recommended doubling up on the first dose (i.e. two tabs rather than one), which I did, to no apparent ill effect.

Recovery included a diet of steamed rice for a few days, fresh yoghurt/curd if available. Psyllium (flea seed husk) can gum you up real good; follow directions on the box.
posted by carter at 4:09 PM on February 23, 2005

Flagyl, though necessary and effective, can be considerably less than fun sometimes. Stay ten miles away from any alcohol at all whatsoever when you're on it. I get shivers thinking about it.
posted by jennyjenny at 4:25 PM on February 23, 2005

I had either giardia or cryptosporidium (I never found out) after I climbed Katahdin at the end of my '96 Appalachian Trail hike. I wasn't treated, because I was used to my body being fucked up (broken feet, shinsplits, etc.), and after six months in the woods, I'd forgotten about going to the doctor. In retrospect, it seems silly, but I'd gotten so used to my body being my problem that it just didn't cross my mind.
posted by waldo at 4:55 PM on February 23, 2005

Beaver fever. The most common parasitic infection in the US. Pretty easily treated with metronidazole (Flagyl). Lots of flatulence, some diarrhea.

Animals poop in the water, humans drink the water, ba-da bing, infection.
posted by gramcracker at 5:56 PM on February 23, 2005

One thing, go see the doctor. I was close to do lasting damage to myself because of the length of time I went. Fortunately I was still a teenager and healthy as a horse otherwise.
posted by substrate at 6:58 PM on February 23, 2005

Do see the doc, because the entire time your body is rebelling against you, you're absorbing next to no nutrients from the food you do manage to eat.

Also, follow the advice about taking the complete course of treeatment. Giardia is a parasite with a longish life cycle. You have to take the drugs long enough to kill the bugs you currently have, plus the next generation that hasn't hatched yet, plus the one after that. Otherwise the infection will recur.
posted by Miko at 8:20 PM on February 23, 2005

You can shed infectious organisms for far longer than the course of the acute illness, so do go get tested, and treated if appropriate.

Don't drink alcohol while you're on metronidazole. The result is extraordinarily unpleasant.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:10 AM on February 24, 2005

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