Mothering Forum banner
1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Mods - this is more of a special needs post than Health and Healing because it relates to my DS' issues.

Anyway, this morning I got a call from the vet that our cats have Giardia. At first I was shocked because our cats just don't fit the profile (I'm a vet tech and have seen lots of cases of Giardia) but then the wheels started turning in my head.

A few months ago, DS1's doctor wanted to do a trial of metronidazole despite only negative stool tests (yes, I know a negative doesn't mean an individual isn't infected). I balked at the idea, because we didn't fit the stereotypical lifestyle of someone infected with giardia (we don't camp, hike, live rurally etc.) Plus, metronidazole is a nasty drug and I didn't want to put my child through that unless it was totally necessary. Also, I knew that Giardiasis was generally a self-limiting disease and since this had been going on for 3.5 years I was a bit skeptical. I didn't factor in that with his health issues (asthma, allergies) that that would make him less able to fend off something like this and he could have a chronic infection.

Then, a couple of months ago, when we saw the dietician, she felt that the elevated eosinophil level in DS1's bloodwork indicated parasites and wanted to do a trial of dewormer. I didn't disagree with her that elevated eos can indicate parasites, but when I asked her whether she felt it could also be because of his allergies, she kind of brushed that off and I started to get the impression that she thinks everyone has parasites and should be treated and wasn't interested in another explanation.

Fast forward to today when we got the call from the vet hospital. Now I'm thinking that maybe it is more likely that DS1 may actually be infected. I've been doing some research this morning and it turns out that you can basically get Giardia anywhere. He could have gotten it from some random change table in the mall. He could have gotten it from one of his friends at music class.

Interestingly, I have had some chronic digestive issues that I assumed were food intolerances but now I'm thinking maybe I'm infected too. I'll be giving my doctor a call (after I wait 2 weeks from our little oopsie on the weekend
)

Anyway, now that I'm thinking this is a possibility for us, can anyone give me any experiences they've had with chronic giardiasis and it's affect on your children. I'm thinking mostly behaviour issues. Also, if you treated, how did it go for your child? How did things change afterwards? I'm assuming (hoping) that this will clear up the chronically mushy poop and maybe (oh please God maybe) lead to potty training.

Martha
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,468 Posts
First off, the "lifestyle" for giardia lamblia infection is living. I understand it is the single most common parasitic infection in the U.S.

I got giardia when I was pregnant with DS. Actually I probably had it in my system and the pregnancy changed the pH of my digestive system, and allowed the giardia to move out of the cyst phase into an active state.

I was successfully treated with an antibiotic. My husband had chronic giardia that was not caught immediately, even by a Peace Corps nurse in the developing world who should have known that you sometimes have to take several stool samples to catch giardia.

Having giardia is not fun. I was miserable, and became lactose intolerant, and brushing my teeth, consuming any dairy or smelling any weird smell made me vomit. Everyone said, "oh, you're pregnant." But, I don't get sick when I'm pregnant and I knew it was not right. I was also exhausted.

So, I would imagine for a toddler or baby having giardia would lead to behavior issues, because you feel like crap (no pun).

My husband would get fatigued, and when he was in a full on episode of active giardia his gas emissions from either end reeked of sulfur.

Good luck with your dx, I recommend treating ... but look into milder treatments. I was told that I couldn't get the usual treatment because it is contraindicated for pregnancy. I got an antibiotic that starts with F ... can't remember it now ... Within the first 3 pills, I was eating cheese again, and no more vomiting or diarrhea.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,387 Posts
my husband was raised in a third world country and has had giardia several times.

He had giardia for over 7 years. It never completely leaves your system but it goes into stasis. Unless you do a heafty antibiotic to kill everything, it's still there (his is still in his system). He says it is painful and annoying. He says it feels like you have a softball in your stomach, lower intestine pain, loose stool (which can lead to dehydration), nausea but no vomiting. He had worms at the same times a lot, so he was always hungry then but that could be from the worms not the giardia.

He always went on a 7-14 day course of Flagyl, it was diagnosed through a stool sample each time it flared up. He reacted poorly to the treatment and he had severe mood swings, but none of the other family members got the same symptoms from the drugs.

He says they always tested stool first because which course of treatment they gave you depended on the concentration in the stool.

Once he started the Flagyl it cleared up relatively fast (5 days-ish). He said that he'd take a treatment and it would last about 6 months before he built up enough of it again to need another. But he was being constantly exposed, so you guys shouldn't have that problem if the source is treated as well.

If you have any more questions, just ask and I'll ask him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hey folks, thanks for the replies! I only have a quick second but I will post a more detailed response later.

The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that both DS1 and I have this. The only thing that doesn't fit is the weight loss (for me) but that could be the tonne of junk food I eat (I'm a stress eater
)

I've got a call into DS1's doctor to talk about treatment for him and since our little oopsie decided not to stick around
I'm going to be calling my doctor as well. Interestingly, when I was researching a bit, I discovered that something that I had several years ago (Blastocystis hominis) is now considered more serious than previously thought. Now I'm wondering if my symptoms stem from that or it's just a coincidence.

Has anyone done any natural treatment for Giardia? I found some remedies online that are suggested but now I'm wondering if a general parasite cleanse might be a good idea. DS2 still nurses a couple of times per night though so I don't know if I have to wait until he is weaned or not.

Be back later.

Martha
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Just bumping to say that we decided to go ahead with the metronidazole treatment. It's not going that great (see my other thread about hiding the taste of medicine). I'm really hoping this works.

Those of you who have experienced this - how quickly did you feel better? I've tried reasoning with DS1 that even though the medicine tasted horrible, it will make him feel better but he says he feels fine. I'm guessing he doesn't know any different than feeling yucky
. I'm hoping that if he suddenly feels better that he might make the connection with the medicine and be more willing to take it.

Martha
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, we've had two days of solid poops so far and I'm very excited!!!! This hasn't happened since he was between 12 and 18 months (he's 4.5 years).

While I'm so happy about this, I feel horribly guilty if this was his whole poop problem all along. I know I can't go back and change the past so I shouldn't dwell on it but a part of me just feels awful.

Anyway, I'm trying really hard to concentrate on how awesome this is for him to have normal poop and to be one step closer to being diaper-free. He's also heading to Senior Kindergarten in the Fall and I really want him to have the whole toilet thing down pat before that time so this is a very important move forward.

As an aside, for those who have experienced Giardia, how long did it take for the lactose intolerance to go away? I've read that for some people it never goes away and I'm really hoping that he wasn't infected for so long that there isn't any hope of losing the intolerance.

Thanks for your help!

Martha
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
347 Posts
Sorry I am a little late to this thread but wanted to add that my daughter had giardia. She is adopted from Russia and came home from the orphanage with the infection. Nine hours on a plane with horrible smelling diarrhea was NOT fun!! She had a course of metronidazole and the diarrhea gradually went away. She has had problems off and on with pooping/diarrhea. She had a lot of problems potty training (potty trained at 4+ and is not special needs).
Good luck!
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top