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What causes diarrhea, recurrent fever and bloating?

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Posted on Sat, 14 May 2016
Question: I have had diarrhea, on and off fever and rumbling and bloating stomach for three weeks. Have lost 12 pounds. Can only eat very light foods and very small amounts. Cannot take anything rich or high in fat. Drinking a great deal of bottled water. My husband and good friend developed this the third week of January during a trip to Mexico. I got this two weeks later. My husband has a strong science background and believes this is a virus and we need to wait it out. He is just starting to feel better and get back to normal. Advise??
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Answered by Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
a parasite probably

Detailed Answer:
Hello,

it sounds like a parasite infection. Some parasites may cause intestinal inflammation and malabsorption (which causes his inability to digest fatty food and worsens the diarrhea). Most of them won't get over unless treated with appropriate antibiotics. Your husband should do a stool test for ova and parasites which is essentially a microscopic examination of the stool. The treatment depends on the detected parasite...

I've not considered the viral scenario because three weeks is a very long time for most viral diarrheal diseases. The infectious etiology is the most likely - I agree with your husband on that - because you've got it too and because you haven't mentioned any other factors like recent antibiotic exposure, pancreatic disease, etc.

You'd better avoid using drugs like advil particularly if you loose too much fluid in the diarrhea because it may cause renal damage among other side effects. Using advil may also mask the fever, so perhaps the "on and off" fever might be the result of this drug.

If I had to pick one diagnosis that would have been Giardia lamblia infection, although I can't do that without clinical examination data and appropriate testing.

I hope you find my comments helpful!
You can contact me again, if you'd like any clarification or further information.

Kind Regards!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :1999

Answered : 3775 Questions

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What causes diarrhea, recurrent fever and bloating?

Brief Answer: a parasite probably Detailed Answer: Hello, it sounds like a parasite infection. Some parasites may cause intestinal inflammation and malabsorption (which causes his inability to digest fatty food and worsens the diarrhea). Most of them won't get over unless treated with appropriate antibiotics. Your husband should do a stool test for ova and parasites which is essentially a microscopic examination of the stool. The treatment depends on the detected parasite... I've not considered the viral scenario because three weeks is a very long time for most viral diarrheal diseases. The infectious etiology is the most likely - I agree with your husband on that - because you've got it too and because you haven't mentioned any other factors like recent antibiotic exposure, pancreatic disease, etc. You'd better avoid using drugs like advil particularly if you loose too much fluid in the diarrhea because it may cause renal damage among other side effects. Using advil may also mask the fever, so perhaps the "on and off" fever might be the result of this drug. If I had to pick one diagnosis that would have been Giardia lamblia infection, although I can't do that without clinical examination data and appropriate testing. I hope you find my comments helpful! You can contact me again, if you'd like any clarification or further information. Kind Regards!