Giardia Infection, Symptoms & Causes


Giardia infection is an intestinal infection marked by stomach cramps, bloating, nausea and bouts of watery diarrhea. Giardia infection is caused by a microscopic parasite that is found worldwide, especially in areas with poor sanitation and unsafe water.

Symptoms: Some people with giardia infection never develop signs or symptoms, but they still carry the parasite and can spread it to others through their stool. For those who do get sick, signs and symptoms usually appear one to three weeks after exposure and may include:

•    Watery, sometimes foul-smelling diarrhea that may alternate with soft, greasy stools

•    Fatigue

•    Gas

•    Nausea

•    Weight loss

Signs and symptoms of giardia infection may last two to six weeks, but in some people they last longer or recur.

Causes: Giardia parasites live in the intestines of people and animals. Before the microscopic parasites are passed in stool, they become encased within hard shells called cysts, which allows them to survive outside the intestines for months.

    Courtesy: Mayo Clinic