Giardiasis is a tummy bug that causes symptoms like diarrhoea, farting and bloating. It usually goes away in about a week if it’s treated, but can sometimes last much longer.

How giardiasis is spread

There are lots of ways you can catch giardiasis, such as:

  • drinking water that hasn’t been treated to kill germs (usually while travelling in developing countries)
  • water getting in your mouth while swimming in places like lakes, rivers or swimming pools
  • eating food that’s been washed in untreated water or handled by someone with the infection
  • touching surfaces that have been touched by an infected person
  • having sex – especially unprotected anal sex

You can become infected if small bits of poo from an infected person get in your mouth.

Symptoms of giardiasis

The main symptoms of giardiasis are:

  • smelly diarrhoea
  • tummy pain or cramps
  • farting (flatulence)
  • smelly burps – they may smell like eggs
  • bloating
  • weight loss

You can also have it and be able to spread it to others without having any symptoms.

Call your GP surgery or 111 if:

  • you’ve had diarrhoea for more than a week
  • you have bloody diarrhoea or bleeding from your bottom

It’s best to call rather than visit your GP surgery as you might have an infection that can spread easily to others.

Tell your GP if you’ve recently travelled abroad.

Treatment for giardiasis

Your GP may send off a sample of your poo for tests to check if you have giardiasis.

It’s treated with antibiotics for a few days. Your symptoms should stop in about a week, but they can sometimes last longer.

How to look after yourself at home

A pharmacist can help if you’re dehydrated

Speak to a pharmacist if you have signs of dehydration, such as peeing less than usual or having dark, strong-smelling pee.

They may recommend using sachets that you mix with water to help you stay hydrated, called oral rehydration solutions.