Understanding giardiasis

Giardiasis is a huge problem in the world of medicine at the date. Giardia infects millions of people all over the world. Two-thirds of them are children under the age of 14 years. The number of cases varies depending on compliance with health standards and social conditions, the adequacy of diagnosis. Giardiasis is difficult to identify, since there is no clinical symptoms, clearly indicating the disease.
Nevertheless it can be treated with anthelmintic drug Albenza (albendazole).

The main clinical manifestations of giardiasis:
functional disorders of the digestive tract
syndrome of excess intestinal microflora
malabsorption in the small intestine
recurrent urticarial
diffuse neurodermatitis
gastrointestinal allergy

If you observe such symptoms you should promptly seek the advice of a doctor. The above symptoms can become relapsing without proper treatment.

Giardia are single-celled flagellate protists that live in the upper part of the small intestine. These pathogenic parasites have harmfull effect on the human body. Localized in the villi of the small intestine, Giardia attach and detach many times to intestinal epithelial cells, leading to their structural damage. In addition, they produce excrement, which have toxic effects, and reduce the intake of micronutrients. This may lead to:
disruption in the recovery of epithelial cells (as a result of frequent regeneration dominated by young, functionally defective cells, the villi do not reach the required length, disrupted the formation of certain enzymes, resulting in a deficiency of lactase)
increase of the permeability of the walls of the small intestine for a number of immunogens and the creation of conditions for the formation of a food allergy
sensitization of the organism metabolites, as well as substances produced during the destruction of Giardia
the launch of the mechanisms leading to the development of abdominal syndrome
changing the chemical properties of the chyme and the imbalance of microflora in different parts of the intestine (the development of dysbiosis)
disruption of the liver as the primary organ of detoxification by prolonged giardiasis

The treatment of giardiasis is no less complicated than diagnosis. In this case, the goal is not only the destruction of protists, but also mitigation of clinical symptoms – acute stomach toxicity, allergies and metabolic disorders.

In the last years deworming agent albendazole (benzimidazole derivative) is often used in the treatment of giardiasis. Albendazole (brand name: Albenza) is a broad-spectrum medicament that affects the worms at all stages of their growth (egg, larva, matured worm). Albendazole inhibits absorption of glucose that causes a glycogen deficiency in the worm and inhibits ATP production leading to the death of the parasite. Albendazole is the most promising agent in the treatment of giardiasis. The systemic action of the drug is provided by its primary metabolite – albendazole sulfoxide that excels by the liver during the initial filtration. Laboratory studies have shown that albendazole is 40-50 times more effective against giardia than metronidazole and tinidazole.

The dose of albendazole for the treatment of giardiasis:
children older than 12 years of age and adults – 0.4 g per day for 5 days
children under 12 years of 0.015 g per kilogram of body weight per day for 6-7 days

Albendazole is highly effective in the treatment of strains of giardia resistible to metronidazole.

Treatment of giardiasis should be accompanied by a special diet: plenty of drink, food rich in fiber (viscous cereals, dried fruits, etc.), the exclusion of sucrose from the diet, meat broths, spicy and salty food.

15-20 days after the completion of a causal treatment the test samples for the presence of parasites are required. The absence of Giardia cysts in control tests does not mean a full recovery. In this situation, a main goal is complete elimination of the clinical manifestations of the disease. We should not forget about the probability a re-invasion, because up to 30% of children are highly vulnerable to this parasitic disease. Children with the disappearance of clinical symptoms must undergo examination by a pediatrician with a regular analysis of feces.

Taken from The treatment of giardiasis