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Adrienne Dellwo

Five Years Later: Giardiasis Linked to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

By February 22, 2013

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Research Brief

A newly published study shows that people exposed to the intestinal parasite giardia are at elevated risk of having chronic fatigue syndrome that persists for at least five years.

This is the second follow-up study after a large waterborne giardiasis outbreak in a Norwegian town. The first study, conducted three years later, showed an elevated risk of both chronic fatigue syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS.) The article on the five-year follow up did not address IBS.

However, the most recent data show that obstructive sleep apnea, depression, and anxiety all were at higher rates than in the healthy population.

Researchers say that while chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms did persist, fatigue had become significantly less severe over the prior two years.

(Please note that this study is not suggesting that giardiasis is the only cause of chronic fatigue syndrome. Most researchers agree that the paths to that illness are many.)

Have you had giardiasis? Do you believe it contributed to your chronic fatigue syndrome? Has it improved over the years? Leave your comments below!


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February 22, 2013 at 4:09 pm
(1) Jeff Roy says:

As a matter of fact, I was diagnosed with giardiasis in 1986 and was given atabrine (an anti-malarial drug developed just before WWII) to deal with the infestation.

The side-effects of atabrine were brutal. I became lactose-intolerant for 3 years and suffered a permanent reduction of the body lubricants that make your fingers sticky enough to grasp objects. To this day, things will go flying out of my hands when I attempt to take hold of them.

It would be another 20 years before I was diagnosed with CFS, so the correlation does not confirm causality.But it may have been a factor.

February 22, 2013 at 5:42 pm
(2) Bridget says:

How does one go about getting tested for Giardiasis?

February 22, 2013 at 7:09 pm
(3) ROSEMARY says:

I was diagnosed with giardiasis back in the mid 80s and had to take 2 different rounds of the med. I forget name of it. But wihin 5 yrs I was wiped out whenever I did much of anything. But I was working a job cleaning house and taking care of a baby plus going hone and doing the cooking,cleaning,laundry,etc for a family of 4 at that time. I was told the pain that I was having later was in my head………yess and went clear through my body with fibro which was diagnosed in 2008. The pain meds do not work all the time.

February 23, 2013 at 12:19 pm
(4) gail says:

I too had giardiasis while traveling in Asia 25 years ago. ALso took anti malarials. I have been diagnosed with FMS, but fatigue is my biggest complaint. I started having IBS when I returned from Asia. Not a coincidence that IBS and FMS/CFS are related, with all those neurotransmitters in the gut.

February 24, 2013 at 12:55 pm
(5) A taylor says:

I got giardia 1 1/2 year ago. Was diagnosed on 1st sample. Took metro, tinidazole, metro/albendazole and still symptoms remain. I have done more stool samples norm and ELISA and had a duodenal biopsy all are negative. I guess I just have to hope time is kind and I eventually return to normal. The results of this latest study give me some hope

February 24, 2013 at 5:30 pm
(6) Fiona says:

I suffered from giardia, salmonella & e-coli after travelling through Vietnam about 5-years ago. I was in & out of hospital for 5-months after until I finally “healed”. I was never 100% well afterwards. 2-years later I was diagnosed with ME/CFS & developed Fibromyalgia about 12-months later. Further testing has also shown that I am now lactose & gluten intollerant (when I was ill with giardia i lost the lining to both my bowel & stomach).

February 28, 2013 at 7:29 am
(7) Dana says:

Contracted giardia the year prior to being diagnosed with FMS. Also suffer from anxiety, depression, and obstructive sleep apnea. Weird.

March 2, 2013 at 2:56 am
(8) Michael Wu says:

I have no more pain anymore! I try so many supplements that didnt work.I have a remedy for anyone suffering from ibs.if anyone is interested let me know! I’ll be glad to help you!

December 8, 2013 at 9:38 am
(9) web site says:

What a data of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious knowledge on the topic of unexpected feelings.

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