View Full Version : IBS or Parasite?

08-29-2002, 10:21 AM
For the past 2 months I've exhibited symptoms of IBS...primarily bad NAUSEA, diarrhea and an all-around feeling of fatigue and feeling rotten! My doctor did many tests and did one specifically for Giardia, which is a parasite. That test came back NEGATIVE (they very often come back negative but are really POSITIVE) but she decided to treat me with Flagyl (an antibiotic for parasites, among other things) anyway because I was SO miserable and she wasn't convinced it was IBS. Well, it's almost one week since I started the medcine and I feel SO much better. The way I explain it is like something took a hold of me two months ago that I couldn't explain. I am ALWAYS stressed so it's hard to tell if it was IBS as the cause.

So, the point to this is that if you are not convinced you have IBS...that is you have had tests and nothing has been found...and maybe you haven't been diagnosed with IBS in the past and know you probably DON'T have it, it may be a parasitic infection causing so many of the same symptoms.

I read an article that said: “so many people were calling suffering with chronic gastro complaints. Most of them had been given a diagnosis of IRB by their physicians. The standard treatment for IBS had not helped them. The majority of them had been found to have intestinal parasites, food intolerance or a lack of healthy intestinal bacteria.”

Hope this helps someone out there!

Super Sarah
08-29-2002, 04:02 PM

Thanks for sharing. That's great. I also had stomach problems and when I first went to see my doc I had loads of tests, that like yours all came back negative and the doc diagnosed me with IBS and that was it. I did start taking Acidophilis caps though and began to feel better, but I still was not happy so went to see another doc who sent me for food intolerance tests. I have since discovered that I am intolerant to lactose, gluten, wheat and yeast and since cutting these out of my diet, I have had not more stomach problems and have ten times more energy also.

I am really glad now that I didn't just take the diagnosis of IBS as gospel.

09-14-2002, 10:54 AM
This is EXACTLY the information I was looking for! My first instinct when I first came down with symptoms was that I had some sort of parasitic or viral infection. But neither my gastro or my gp even suggested that could be the problem or suggested antibiotics. Instead I wound up with over $2000 in medical tests that were inconclusive, and I'm still so damn miserable. I'm so glad I came to this site. I'm going to bring up the Giardia with my physician on Tuesday.

thanks -

09-15-2002, 12:44 PM

Please let us all know how it works out for you. The Flagyl prescribed for my parasites (although the tests were "negative") caused many of the same side effects that my original illness presented (nausea, dry mouth, loss of appetite, feeling totally terrible), and a few side effects of its own! It took two weeks after I finished the Flagyl (getting it completely out of my system) to feel normal again. I feel 100% better after having felt totally miserable for the past two months.

My doctor knew something was up and guessed at the parasites. Now, the big question is will they ever come back???

09-17-2002, 04:55 PM
I went to the doc this morning and she agreed to do testing for Giardia. However, I'm worried that if the tests come back negative, that she won't suggest prescribing the antibiotic even with the possibility that it could be positive. She gave me an rx for Raglin to help with the nausea in the meantime. I also have Graves Disease (hyperthyroidism) and she thinks that the medication that I take for it could be the cause. But I highly doubt it.

Thanks for the info.

09-19-2002, 11:52 AM
I have been diagnosed with IBS since around March 2001 and have had symptoms for years that just kept getting worse. Last year around August I noticed parasites in my bowels and actually, when I thought about it, have had symptoms since February/March but never thought to mention them to my GI doctor. My family doctor put me on a really heavy duty antibiotic. The crazy thing is my culture came back negative and I know what I saw plus my boyfriend also had them (so I am living proof that the testing is inaccurate). I was so freaked out I asked for more antibiotics than I needed so I know they are gone. However, I still have IBS symptoms. My doctor said it is from nothing I am eating but I'm not so sure I agree. The next step for me is getting some food allergy testing done. I'm on muscle relaxer, which I don't want to be on for the rest of my life.

09-19-2002, 08:05 PM

Even if the test comes back negative, let her know that you know if a case (mine) where the stool tests came back negative, I was treated with Flagyl, and the results were that I'm now 100% back to normal! I don't even think about the two months of nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, aches and pains!

Stool tests, unless done by a lab specializing in analyzing these types of samples, come back negative too much of the time! I'm glad my doctor decided to try something because I was so absolutely miserable.

Keep me posted!

Super Sarah
09-20-2002, 05:10 AM
Have you tried cutting certain foods out of your diet? Yes, I would definitely go for food allergy tests or food intolerance more specifically if you have a bad stomach due to this. Intolerance tests that look for an IgG reaction to the substance are more accurate if you have stomach problems. If you have other symptoms such as skin problems, then it may be worth having IgE skin tests performed. It is just that IgE will show up as a reaction on the skin, but does not work on the gut. If you have IgG tests done however, it is more accurate for your stomach problems, as IgG has a direct effect on the gut.

It may also be worth asking your doc for a lactose intolerance test too.

I say yes, go for it, as I had stomach problems and my doc told me that I had IBS after tests and I too have had high dose antibiotics, Ciproxin. I was still having stomach problems and was not happy at all, so went back to my doc and he then referred me for food intolerance tests and I discovered that I was intolerant to a lot of foods that I was eating a lot of. The dairy has had to go and also wheat and since doing this my stomach is a lot better.

Go for it and find out for sure.

09-26-2002, 11:24 AM
As predicted, my stool tests came back negative. However, my gp was willing to try the antibiotics anyway. I've been on them since Tuesday and I honestly don't feel any better. In fact I feel slightly worse. BusyMommy - did the Flagyl make you feel worse too? I am CONSTANTLY nauseated. Even despite the Raglen medication. I'm like ready to lose my mind. I can hardly function at work (on the days I do make it), and I just want my life back to normal. 5 months of this is ENOUGH!
Any suggestions on curbing the nausea at least would be great. I'm really really praying that these antibiotics do the trick. How soon before I start feeling better???

09-26-2002, 01:32 PM
Amy -

Hang in there. I didn't start to feel better on the Flagyl until at least 4 days into the treatment (total of 7 days at 250 mg.) Then, I felt better for about 3 days then, back to feeling lousy for about 2 weeks after that. If you have what I had to begin with (and I don't really know for sure it was a parasite), this may be the course you're taking. The Flagyl had many side effects of its own...many of them mimicking the original reason you're taking the stuff...nausea...loss of appetite...I had some hand shaking...white tongue...dry mouth...back pain...headache...it sounds really bad but once the Flagyl gets out of your system, and it can take up to two weeks like me, then you're SO MUCH BETTER!

I've had a few trying moments since the Flagyl got completely out of my system, but I just visited the Gastro doctor today and she said once you have something wrong with the gut, it can take awhile to get back to "normal." She advocates Metamucil or Citrucel each and every day and a probiotic to replace good bacteria killed by the antibiotics.

As for the nausea, it was terrible. The only thing I would do is take Pepto Bismol and when it was really bad, Compazine.

Hang in there and keep me posted. You may need to feel lousy for a while before feeling good again...I hope!

Super Sarah
09-26-2002, 02:53 PM
I would not advocate the use of Pepto Bismol. This contains aspirin and can aggravate the stomach lining even more and just make matters worse. It can also turn your stools black.

09-26-2002, 03:33 PM
My gastro doctor recommended taking Pepto Bismol. I've taken it in the past with no ill effects...actually it made me feel much better and the darkening of the stools is no big deal.

When you feel absolutely miserable and nauseous, I believe it's worth a try.

09-30-2002, 02:25 PM
To BusyMommy -
Thanks for all of your informative help. Unfortunately I've been on the Flagyl for 6 days now and I am not feeling even remotely better - in fact I've been home from work since Friday, laid up with the constant nausea (of which nothing seems to subside). Last night I woke up with extreme perspiration around my neck and a temperature of 97.2. Something is definitely wrong. I've decided to try and get into a diagnostic center, about 4 hours from where I live, and pray that they find what the heck is wrong with me. I also am gonna check out the thyroid board (since I have hyperthyroidism) and see if anyone has any ideas there. Thanks for all your support and information. Hope you continue to feel better.


Super Sarah
09-30-2002, 03:15 PM
Have you been taking Acidophilis caps or a Probiotic supplement with the Flagyl? If not, then I would advise you to start as soon as possible. Flagyl is a very strong antibiotic and will kill off all the good bacteria in your intestines. Probiotics will help to restore this balance and it could be that you are feeling unwell because of this. Start the Probiotics and take them on an empty stomach twice daily but at different times to the antibiotics if you are still taking them and see how you fell then.

You can easily get a yeast infection from taking strong antibiotics and Probiotics should help to avoid this.

10-01-2002, 12:13 PM
Thanks Sarah.
Yes, I have been taking acidohphilus - liquid form - and sucking down the yogurt like mad. I don't have a yeast infection, but my urine has been as brown as earl grey tea. I don't know if thats the result of the flagyl or whatever the heck is wrong in my body. Cos I think it was dark before I started the antibiotics. Thanks for the tip tho.

10-01-2002, 03:07 PM

The Flagyl has so many side effects...darkening of the urine is one of them. I'm trying to believe you still feel lousy because of the side effects of the Flagyl. Actually, I'm really hoping because I know how awful it is to feel constantly nauseous!

Have you been back in touch with your primary doctor? I wound up with a referral to a gastro doctor (after I felt better, of course), so maybe instead of a clinic you should go back to your primary and make her responsible for your health!

10-02-2002, 10:44 AM
I'm sure hoping that you're right - that this is just side effects of the flagyl. Did you also have a constant burning/bile taste at the back of your throat?
I also have upper abdominal pain that comes and goes. But those are all symptoms I had BEFORE I went on the Flagyl. My general physician was the one who prescribed it for me, and I think she's running out of things to screen me for, so thats why I was considering the diagnostic center. Apparently they do a whole gamut of tests over several days. But unfortunately it's also a 4 hour drive from my home, which means more time off work (thank god i have great employers cos I've only been working part-time). I really have NO idea what to do if these antibiotics don't work. I've thought about having the VitaScan done (which includes the whole body and virtual colonoscopy), but I'm not sure if thats any better than the ultrasound I had done already. I'm thinking maybe I should just call my gastroenterologist back, who says the next option would be a CAT Scan (of my head or gut, I don't know). I really can't afford to have all these humongous tests done, but I'm so desperate to find an answer to this and start feeling like myself again. It's gotten to the point where I've developed a phobia about driving and going just to the grocery store cos I feel like I'm gonna get sick while I'm there. It's created anxiety in me that I've NEVER had before. It is SO completely unlike me. I'm normally such an active and outgoing person. Now I'm just completely miserable. Maybe this IS all in my head. If it is I wish somebody would give me a pill so I can just move on with life.
BusyMommy, did your symptoms come on very suddenly? Mine started with several episodes within 2 weeks where I just had a sudden attack of severe nausea. I'd be fine all day and then it would just hit me. Then the fatigue kicked in and then it all never went away. Even motion (walking/driving) or vibration tends to make me nauseaus, but I'm not dizzy.

Anyway sorry for rambling and thanks for letting me vent.


10-02-2002, 10:47 AM
I called the pharmacist to ask about the dark urine. He said - according the the pharmaceutical guide - that 1 in 100,000 people get it while taking Flagyl. If anyone is gonna have those kind of odds, it's me. I should go play the lottery.

10-02-2002, 03:35 PM

I'm rooting for you. I want you to get better!!

The Flagyl caused so many side effects (read my post above). If you look up Flagyl on a search engine, you'll see all the side effects it can bring on...many mimicking your original symptoms, which made you take the stuff in the first place. I had a horrible taste in my mouth...and so dry. So, let's assume, 'cause we're desperate here, that many of your current symptoms are the Flagyl. How long did you doctor prescribe the Flagyl? I would take it all, definitely...unless you have MAJOR side effects...like seizures, tingling in hands, arms, legs, etc.

Now you just need to wait it out (since we're theorizing here that it's the Flagyl) and see what happens. In the meantime, if you have the time/money/energy to spend in more diagnostic testing, go for it. I had so many tests I knew how every organ in my body was fairing. Everything, of course (and thankfully) was working fine. I was just nauseous and exhausted all the time and had diarrhea. Is diarrhea one of your symptoms?

So, the rest is up to you. Let me know when you're finished taking the Flagyl. With me, it really took about three weeks after the last dose to feel better.

Keep us posted, Amy.

I am taking a probiotic twice a day. Definitely try this.

10-02-2002, 04:42 PM
Hi thanks for all the support - I greatly appreciate it.

I got a hold of my gastroenterologist and he really wants me to have a CAT Scan done of my abdomen. I told him how I was on the Flagyl and I don't seem to be feeling better, and he said typically with bacteria or parasitic infections you have diarrhea - which I've never had. So it makes me (and him) think that this could be something else. Unfortunately stomach problems mimic what seems to be dozens of ailments. I'm praying this is the last test I have to endure.
He's prescribing some Compazine suppositories that will hopefully help curb some of the nausea till I get the test done (I canceled the diagnostic center). Prolly in about a week or so. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks again for all your support, good thoughts, and information.

10-18-2002, 09:37 AM
Amy -

Let us know how you're doing.

10-20-2002, 03:03 PM
Hi - I've been doing a little bit better the last week or so, but still not 100%. I had my CT scan done on Friday and will have results by Tuesday I hope. My gastro had given me Compazine for the nausea, but I stopped taking it cos it just drugged me out so bad I couldn't concentrate for a day and a half. I haven't been taking anything at all and the nausea has been a little better, but still comes and goes. I still also have the occasional upper abdominal pain.
Even though I've been tested for pretty much every cause to this, there is still one avenue that hasn't been explored and it seems to make the most sense. When I was 3 weeks old, I had pyloric stenosis surgery. The incision was made at the exact site of my pain. I'm thinking I may have scar tissue which is causing all my problems. In researching it, I've found that people who have abdominal scar tissue have the EXACT same symptoms as I do. It is a little odd that it would create a problem nearly 30 years later, but I remember my gastro saying that it could be a possibility. Unfortunatley, the only way to know for sure is if I have exploratory surgery (laproscopy). If nothing shows up on my CT then I'm really going to look into this. I was talking with a good friend of my parents who is a PT and he recommended doing some deep tissue massage to help break up the scarring and see if that helps, so I'll give that a try for a coupla weeks. If that doesnt work then I'm game for the laproscopy. At this point I don't care if they wanna do a stinkin autopsy on me - I just want to be well again.

Thanks for thinking of me. I'll keep you posted.

10-23-2002, 07:14 PM
Just an update...
I got the results of my CT scan. And as predicted, everything looked normal. Except for one thing. I guess my lymph nodes around my aorta are enlarged. But still within "normal" range. My gastro didn't seem to think this was any need for alarm because it wasn't exceeding "normal", but anything close to being "abnormal" seems to give me a red flag. It could be nothing, or it could be something.
His explanations for now is that I could still be "A-typical" IBS (which I don't have symptoms of - no diarrhea or constipation), or adhesions from my surgery as an infant. After that, he really has no clue and would either refer me to get a second opinion, or to a surgeon for possible exploratory laproscopy.
In researching some info on para-aortic lymph node enlargement, all I seem to find is how it relates to cancer. I'm not trying to freak myself out, cos it very well could NOT be. But then again, how many times do you hear about how doctors look over early symptoms of it. Many. I'm still gonna try the deep tissue massage and see if that helps. After that, who knows.

Thanks -

12-13-2002, 01:52 PM

It's been awhile since your last post. If you're still reading this board, let us know how you are doing.

12-13-2002, 05:37 PM
I have abdominal adhesions from multiple laparoscopies, and the pain from them is different to the IBS pain. When my adhesions are bad, they sometimes make the bowel spasms worse, I think due to the bowel not being able to move properly and "bits" get stuck. But after I have them "clipped", I just go back to the "normal" pain.

Isn't it amazing, they can put a man on the moon, yet they can't fix these sorts of problems!


12-25-2002, 02:29 PM
Merry Christmas...

Just an update...
Still suffering with illness. After CT scan, underwent testing for ovarian cancer (had pelvic and transvaginal ultrasound) just to rule it out. Nothing was found except a common 1"cyst over one of my ovaries, but not the cause of my stomach problems. Several more weeks went by with still not changes so went back to my general physician who wanted me to have a stomach emptying test done.
Did that and results came back positive for Gastroparesis (delayed stomach emptying). However, when I spoke to my gastroenterologist about it, he said the results were only "slightly" abnormal and he thinks the test was done wrong (I was lying down the entire time of digestion). Plus theres no real reason for me to have it since it's more seen in people with Diabetes or Parkinsons - of which I have neither.
So back to square one.
Spoke with my endocrinologist who suggested I go off my thyroid medication temporarily to see if problems are resulting from it. Have been off of it almost two weeks and still feel sick.
Square one again.
At this point I'm debating whether to ask for valium cos I'm so anxiety ridden from this stupid illness and no diagnosis. I'm supposed to go back for another CT scan in January to see if my lymph nodes have enlarged any further. If so, then they will prolly be biopsied. At this point, I think that's the only clue as to whats causing this.

Anyway, thanks for letting me get that off my chest. I'll keep you posted.
Happy new year.

02-09-2003, 06:33 PM
busymommy, I know how you feel about Flagyl cause it healed my symptoms back in 94. I had unstoppable burning at about my rectum after bowel movement going for 6-8 hours everyday. One doctor said it might be psychological! I searched like mad for information. It started after I returned from holiday so I suspected that it might be due to giardia lamblia found in pool water. I suggested my doctor to have tests. 3 came negative, 1 last one came positive. And Flagyl got the job done. But unfortunately I didn't take it as I supposed to take and the problem (and many other problems) came back with a vengeance, trying to recover for the last 3 months.

miss acne
02-10-2003, 05:19 AM
coral calcium by dr barefoot helps stomach problems and yes definitely cutting back on lactose does reduce the acidity. coral calcium helps put you back in the ph balance your body needs

06-29-2005, 10:14 AM
I ran across this board while doing a search on Flagyl. I've had chronic diarrhea off and on for 2 years now. I suspected IBS, but have had significant weight loss which I'm told isn't a symptom of it. I've had all the other symptoms, gas, bloating, diarrhea, certain food intolerances. I finally went to a GI doc and he said he didn't think I had IBS, to eat what I wanted and tested me for Crohn's, Celiac, parasites and bacteria. He says I have something called CDT (a search on this has come up dead) and prescribed Flagyl. I'm on day 2 and while the gurgling and gas are gone, the diarrhea is worse and more sporatic than before. Now, I'm terrified to leave the house because the diarrhea is so spontanious. I'm taking the proibitics..oh, however you spell it, and 2400 mg of coral caltrate calcium a day. Over the counter diarrhea meds do NOT work. I'm going back on my intolerance diet (I started eating real food again since the doc said I could) until these pills are gone.

06-29-2005, 10:15 AM
didn't mean to post twice.

06-29-2005, 02:21 PM
Hi, Jeanie

I am so sorry to hear about how you are feeling. Your message brought back memories of my "parasitic-summer" as I call it. I was miserable for months back in 2002. Although the doctor never found evidence of parasites, she treated me for them because I was totally miserable...like you.

The thing with the Flagyl, as I remember, it takes a while to work. Once it does work, however, until the stuff gets out of your system, you still have symptoms and think you're still sick. I was feeling unwell for a few weeks AFTER I stopped the Flagyl. How long has your doctor prescribed it for? What strength?

It's hard to determine what is causing your symptoms, as you have seen, but I'd give the Flagyl time to work and then time to get out of your system to see if it did the trick. I really hope so.

Please let me know more.

07-06-2005, 05:00 PM
Thx for the response, busymom. The doc prescribed one 500 mg flagyl 4 times a day for 10 days. I have about 2 days worth left. Been trying to take them faithfully. Overall, everything is better. I still have some diarrhea attacks, especially in the evenings. The urgency isn't as bad as it was but its still there. Mornings seem to be the best time for me and things seem to be 'almost but still not quite' normal. I have to call him next week and report how I'm doing.


03-16-2006, 08:35 PM
Hi. I have searched and searched the internet for answers or if anyone has a similar story. I am 26, and have dealt with constipation for over 10yrs. I used to be unhealthy, but for the past 3ys, I have been excersizing and eating lots of fruits and veggies daily. Here is my huge concern: A few years ago, I took laxatives and my BM looked like intestines!! Sometimes I see that wrapped around my BM (without laxatives). I've went to a doctor twice, she detected nothing. I was doing research 3 days ago on fiber suppliments and came across the PARASITES!!!! The pictures looked just like what I saw! I ordered DrNatura's Colonix, I stayed up for a day reading everything I could. I am really scared to take medicines, scrared about my BM and scared about parasites.
Has anyone had similar stories?
Has anyone taken Colonix?
Any information will help. :confused:
Thank you.

08-03-2007, 11:06 AM
Hi, Amy;

For some reason, decided to check old messages I sent and came across this thread. I remember this time! Are you still out there? Whatever happened with you and these symptoms that were pretty much taking over your life?

10-26-2007, 06:33 AM
Hi all. I am new to this board and have been recently fighting Giardia. I was told by the ER from stool tests that I had it and I was told by my doctors tests that I didnt. However the ER is treating me for it. I have been on the Flagyl for 3 days. How long does it take for the medicine to really kick in and start working? I have had every test under the moon done. Ultrasounds of my abdomen all negative. All my blood work comes back normal. My doctor had decided to send me to a GI when I decided the diahrea was enough and the pain and went to the ER. They said Giardia. After taking the Flagyl for just a few days I feel better but still fighting stomach pain and loose stools. Thoughts?:confused:

10-26-2007, 09:34 AM
Hi, Rod:

So sorry to hear what you're going through. If you can sort through all the messages, you can see I went through this around 4 years ago. I will never forget that miserable time in my life! All I remember is that the Flagyl gives you symptoms of Giardia at the same time as helping. What strength has the doctor given you and how long are you taking it? Give it the full amount of time to work and I also remember after I completed the cycle of medication, it stays in your system and you still will experience the same type of symptoms as your Giardia, so you think you may still have the parasite. Give it plenty of time to get out of your system, a week or two, before you decide whether it's worked or not. I think you are on the right track. I remember my doctor remembering I was so miserable she treated me even though my stool tests came back negative. Hang in there, take all your medication and cross your fingers!