Because there are so many possible causes of diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms, diagnosis of cyclospora infection requires a laboratory test to identify the parasite in your stool. There are no blood tests to diagnose a cyclospora infection.
Treatment for cyclospora infection is a combination antibiotic known as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra). If you're unable to take trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, your doctor may prescribe ciprofloxacin or nitazoxanide (Alinia).
Lifestyle and home remedies
To prevent or treat mild to moderate fluid loss from the severe diarrhea associated with cyclospora infection, it's generally adequate for healthy adults to drink water.
For children and infants, you may want to use an oral rehydration solution, such as Pedialyte. Sports drinks and carbonated beverages don't offer the right balance of nutrients that children need.
Preparing for your appointment
If you have a mild case of cyclospora infection, you may not need to seek medical treatment because it will clear up by itself. However, call your doctor if the illness lasts more than a few days or if it appears to be causing dehydration.
What you can do
- Symptom history. Write down any symptoms you've been experiencing and for how long.
- Recent exposure to possible sources of infection. Be sure to describe any international trips or any exposure to potentially contaminated foods.
- Medical history. Make a list of your key medical information, including other conditions for which you're being treated and any medications, vitamins or supplements you're currently taking.
- Questions to ask your doctor. Write down your questions in advance so that you can make the most of your time with your doctor.
For cyclospora infection, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- Will I need any tests?
- What's the best treatment approach? Are there any alternatives?
- Will I need to take medicine?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
- What can I do at home to help ease my symptoms?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor will need to know certain details about your illness to make a diagnosis. Be prepared to answer questions such as:
- When did the illness begin?
- Are your symptoms continuous, or do they come and go?
- How often do you experience vomiting or diarrhea?
- Can you tell whether the vomit or diarrhea contains bile, mucus or blood?
- Do you have a fever?
- Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?