Giardiasis

Giardiasis is an intestinal infection caused by the parasite Giardia. You may become infected by ingesting contaminated food or water. Exposure to the stool of someone who`s infected can also cause infection.

Woman holding stomach and entering restroom.

When to seek medical attention

Get medical help for severe symptoms that include:

  • Diarrhea

  • Stomach bloating or fullness

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Unplanned weight loss

  • Blood in your stool

  • Dehydration

When to go to the emergency room

Go to the emergency room if you have: 

  • Uncontrolled vomiting

  • Severe belly pain

What to expect at the healthcare provider's office

You will be examined and will likely have a stool specimen examined in a lab. This checks a sample of your stool for the parasite that causes the disease. If giardiasis is suspected or confirmed, you may be prescribed medicine that you take for 5 to 7 days. In many cases, this clears the infection.

Preventing giardiasis

Take these steps to help prevent infection with Giardia:

  • Wash your hands after using the bathroom and before eating.

  • Wash your hands each time you change a child's diaper.

  • Avoid drinking from rivers and streams, and use a water treatment kit when camping. 

  • Wash or peel raw produce before using.