Okay, I'm not going to go into the details here, but I'm pretty sure I contracted an intestinal parasite while in Guatemala. The problem: the tests have all come back negative. I go back to the doctor on Tuesday and try to figure out where to go from here.
I recall reading at least one post in the past of someone whose spouse came back with a parasite (I think it was giardia) and it took a couple of times testing because the first one or two were false negatives. The nurse said that while she was surprised at the negative results given my symptoms, she thinks the test is reliable and would have detected it if it was there.
So my question is...anyone have someone in their family have negative tests for parasites only to later find out it was a false negative? Any information would be helpful at this point. I've felt good the last couple of days, but it seems to cycle and hit me really bad every 9-12 days. So I'm afraid this may just be yet another "upside" time, the "downside" of which will come sometime next week.
Hi, Devora,
I think it is pretty well acknowledged that Giardia is elusive and it can take up to four tests or separate samples to detect it.
The bad news is, there are other things out there that also are elusive ... I think cryptosporidium is one ... you might want to take a look at the CDC website.
I hope you feel better soon!
Thanks, Linda -- I've just be browing the web, including the CDC and I keep reading that it can take multiple tests. So I don't know why the nurse at the international travel clinic (I went there rather than our primary care physician because I figure they know more about this kind of stuff) was so confident in the test.
I'm going to my primary physician on Tuesday and will talk about our options, including treating even without a positive test.
On the positive side, if it's giardia, it looks like sometimes it can run its course with no treatment -- a few sites said within 6 weeks. I'm coming up on 6 weeks, so maybe I'll get lucky. Or maybe in the middle of the week I'll be unable to function again. :(
Oh, well....this will get worked out, one way or another!
Ah, yes. Tummy troubles brought home from overseas.
Giardia is the most likely culprit, especially if your stools seem unusually foul, as well as loose. I mean "nose-holding" foul. Remember that the doctor must specifically request a test for Giardia, not just the generic stool test for ova and parasites.
There are some "wormy" sorts of intestinal parasites that people get occasionally -- especially Ascaris, a type of roundworm. With adoptive families, they are more commonly found in the children than in the parents, however. Sometimes people actually see a live worm deposited into the toilet, or in a child's diaper. While gross, worms are more easily detected than Giardia, by the ordinary ova and parasites test, especially in a sample composed of three stool specimens, collected over a one-week period.
If you have symptoms, in addition to loose stools, such as yellowish color of the skin or whites of the eyes, abdominal pain, nausea, fatigue, etc., and if you didn't take any shots for travel, your doctor may want to think about water- and food-borne micro-organisms, such as Hepatitis A. If you drank tap water, ate raw fruits and vegetables without peeling them, ate rare meat or fish, ate food from street vendors, etc., you may have picked up something of this sort. Forget hotel advertisements that their water is filtered.
E. coli, which you can also get in the U.S., is a common cause of travelers' diarrhea. Salmonella is another possibility, especially if you have eaten seafood or undercooked poultry or anything containing eggs that were not well cooked.
I wish you a speedy diagnosis and recovery.
My daughter came home with 7 bugs (including E. coli, Salmonella, Giardia, H. Pylori, round worm, whip worm, and the Chryis..something I can't remember). We got rid of 6, but whip worm still remains (she's been home for a year). It is sometimes very hard to detect these buggers in a stool sample. And some of these critters are very hard to get rid of. The 6 of the 7 we treated nauturally without medication. Then she got scabies 6 months after she came home and we had to treat twice with the topical medication and so I have not yet treated her with more meds for the whip worm, but we are going back to doc on Tues. to try a different approach. But after several stool tests and no positive results her doctor wanted to drop it and not treat for anything. But I knew from her stool there was much going on. I won't go into details. We ended up going to a nutritionist who does a different kind of testing and discovered what all she had and prescribed a nautural remedy to begin with (since her immune system is so weak). The primary thing we used for her was Oil of Oregano. And that seemed to do the trick for them all, but the one that still remains.
Sorry, probably way more info than you were looking for. You know your body best. Even with my daughter's bright green (almost floresnt) stool the many stool samples did not detect the Giardia or the h. phylori. Good idea to go back to your doctor.
Good luck.
After my last trip, I had severe stomach pains, among other symtoms. They were worse at night and in the evening. After going to the Dr., she said she thought it was Giarda and gave me orders to get the stool samples taken. But said hold off, since they were so expensive to have done, also the amount of time they take to come back- She said some take 2 weeks. Anyway, she had me do a clear liquid diet for 1 day, at the end of the 1st day eat cultured yogurt (any flavor). Then for 2 days do a bland diet. If it was viral, this would take care of it. If it came back- have the tests done.
Guess what it worked! It went away.
Good luck.
Ten yrs ago DH and I came home with giardia. My DS and DD had everything under the sun pin worm, giardia, tape waorm, round worm. Anna
I was just in with my my hep a, hep b and tetanus the flu shot recommended for when the baby comes home...I feel like a pin cushion. She told me that if we came down with something a week or more after coming home call her because it was probably Giardia
Now a good friend of ours got really sick after visiting costa rica and had a negative giardea test. It cycled for him too and took him about 2 months to get well and they never figured out what it was.
Good luck and feel better soon!
Giardia requires an extremely fresh specimen, and many American labs are not adept at picking it up. It may require several tests.
You have not described your symptoms so I cannot tell you the likelihood you have it.
Most common hitchhikers home from Central America are
Shigella (fever with diarrhea)
Hookworm (anemia)
Giardia (crampy stomach pain with poor absorption and gas)
Amebas (cramps after stool, with small amounts of mucous)
Hepatitis (nausea and jaundice)
Ascaris (not usually much symptoms but it will give your kids a big belly)
If you think you have something and it is not turning up you might want to try a different lab.
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