Celiac Disease or Giardiasis | Allergy

Celiac Disease or Giardiasis

by Allergy Guy

Celiac Disease or Giardia

Celiac disease symptoms may appear similar to giardiasis symptoms in some cases.  This can lead to a diagnosis that may correctly catch giardia but miss celiac disease.

According to some anecdotal evidence, a mild case of giardia may trigger celiac disease.  In this case, your doctor may treat the giardia but miss the celiac disease.

It may be that the opposite works better: treat the celiac disease and the giardia may take care of itself.

Giardia Description

Giardia is a single celled organism.  It may exist as an active trophozoite, which spends its time swims around in your gut, multiplying and causing trouble.

At other stages in its life cycle, it take the form of a cyst, a sort of inert package that can leave the body in feces, infect water, and be taken in by another host.

The spread of this disease is frequently blamed on beavers in some areas of the world.  In these places, it is called ‘beaver fever’.  I think this is unfair, since it is almost certainly humans that infected the beavers in the first place.

Giardiasis Symptoms

Click to enlarge

Giardia usually has the following symptoms about one or two weeks after infection:


  • Diarrhea
  • Excess gas
  • Stomach cramps
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea

These symptoms can result in weight loss.

How Long do Giardiasis Symptoms Last?

Symptoms usually last for two to six weeks.

However, for those with a weak immune system, including those with celiac disease, symptoms can persist for months or years.

Celiac Disease and Giardia

The symptoms of celiac disease are many, but include the same symptoms as listed above for giardia.

Because celiac disease can manifest it self in many different ways, and because many doctors are not very familiar with it (with the possible exception of the classic symptoms), it is possible for a doctor to see only the symptoms of giardiasis and miss the symptoms of celiac disease.

This is especially true if you have recently been travelling to countries known for poor sanitary conditions.

It is quite possible to have celiac disease without any symptoms, then get infected with giardia, triggering celiac disease.

This may be mistaken for a persistent case of giardiasis.  It may also be that the giardia is persistent, but the main problem is celiac disease.

Going on a gluten free diet will clear up the celiac disease, and may be all the body needs to clear up the giardia on its own.

Celiac Disease Links

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Silvia February 6, 2018 at 02:08

I had giardia last September. I was really ill and lost 1 kg per week during 6 weeks. I had metrodinazol and began a gluten free diet because of celiac desease suspection due to my IgA deficiency and other symptoms compatible with celiac desease all my life. At last I have my endoscopy results. It shows Marsh 3a lesions, with mild atrophy (with 52/100 linf.)
I have a doubt, could it be that my gut is still not recovered from giardiasis? Or I should be histologicallly recovered if I were not celiac? (it’s bee 4 months since a took metrodinazol, no giardia in biopsies..)
Should I ask for genetic tests?


2 Allergy Guy February 9, 2018 at 23:32

Keeping in mind that I don’t have a medical background, I have a low opinion of diagnosing celiac with endoscopy. The biggest problem is false negatives, depending on where the biopsy is taken and the severity and location of celiac-induced damage. In your case, there is the confusion with possible giardia damage.

Further testing might be helpful. You mentioned starting a gluten-free diet: has this helped? It may take weeks or longer before you notice a difference, and if you cheat, you have to restart the clock but if you can stick to it for a couple of months and if you feel better, that too is a strong indication. Given your long history of celiac-like symptoms (sounds familiar!) you should know if you consistently feel better than before your giardia encounter.


3 loredana November 8, 2010 at 19:59

can mold cause celiac disease


4 Allergy Guy November 9, 2010 at 22:40

No, mold does not cause celiac disease.

Celiac disease is a genetic condition triggered by gluten.

Some people do not experience symptoms until later in life, and it could be that mold exposure or other stresses on the immune system could push someone with celiac disease over the edge as far as manifesting symptoms.

Even if this is not the case, many types of mold are toxic.


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