Clinical Presentation


*Gastrointestinal Symptoms:
--Sudden onset of explosive, watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, foul flatus, vomiting, fever, and malaise
--The majority of patients experience a less severe onset of symptoms, but rather suffer from more subtle maladies which are recurrent or resistant.
--Stools become malodorous, mushy, and greasy. Watery diarrhea may alternate with soft stools or even constipation. Stools do not contain blood or pus.
--Upper GI symptoms, including cramping, nausea, lack of apetite, bloating, substernal burning, and acid indigestion.

*Constitutional symptoms:
--Anorexia, fatigue, malaise, and weight loss are common.
--Weight loss occurs in more than 50% of patients and averages 10 pounds per person.
--Chronic illness may occur with adults presenting with long-standing malabsorption syndrome and children with failure to thrive.

*Lactose intolerance

*Miscellaneous: Unusual presentations include allergic manifestations such as urticaria, erythema multiforme, bronchospasm, reactive arthritis, and biliary tract disease.

--Physical examination not revealing.
--Abdominal examination may reveal nonspecific tenderness .
--Rectal examination should reveal heme-negative stools.
--In severe cases, evidence of dehydration or wasting may be present.


source: adapted from article by Andre Pennardt, MD, FACEP (14)
Also note:
  • The average incubation period between ingestion of cysts and first symptoms is about one week (13)
  • If left untreated, the average duration of infection is 2-6 weeks (13).