I’m not a big fan of hiding stuff behind a cut, but since this post has some amount of grossness, I thought I’d warn anyone to either skip it, or at least put down your sandwich first.
So last Sunday night I ending up vomiting twice. At that time it looked like food poisoning. I was able to keep down water after that and wasn’t feeling seriously dehydrated, so I let it go at that. Then I started having a watery yellowish diarrhea. I tried treating it first with Seirogan, a Japanese anti-diarrheal that is popular here and has worked for me in the past. When that didn’t work, I moved up to Loperamide (Immodium). That still didn’t work.
I found a neat diagnostic chart that helps explain the possible causes of diarrhea. Working down through the chart, option six looked like the most likely, which is bacterial or parasitic infection. Some further searches show that Giardia and Cryptosporidium parasites are common in Taiwan.
So it was off to the doctor. Normally for internal problems I’d go to Dr. Liu, but his local clinic is only open at night, so went to another clinic around the corner. The doctor wouldn’t say for sure what it was, but here’s what he prescribed:
Berberine – Herbal intestinal anti-parasitic/anti-bacterial
Pinaverium – Relieves bowel irritation
Gascon – Google fails me on this one but sounds like an anti-acid
Loperamide – anti-diarrheal (which I was already taking)
My own investigation on the web had already come up with Giardia as a possibility, but I didn’t want to bias things, so I just told the doctor my symptoms over the week and let him use his best judgment. So when looking up the medicines it was nice to find that Berberine is used the treat Giardia, so apparently he has the same suspicion, even if he was non-committal in his diagnosis.
I was somewhat concerned about the “herbal” part of it though. I know that there’s a lot of herbal remedies that have actually been proved quite effective, but I also know that Chinese culture tends to have a bias in favor of herbal remedies even without any proof of effectiveness. Some further searching turns up medical studies that show that Berberine is nearly as effective as the medicinal treatments of Giardia though. So if that’s what I actually have, it should fix things up.