What is C-difficile?

Clostridium difficile (also called C. difficile) are bacteria that are widespread in our environment and also exist, usually harmlessly, in our intestines. They can be ‘caught’ from another person or overgrow in your intestine if you have been taking antibiotics or your immune system is compromised. These bacteria cause inflammation of the colon (colitis).

What are the symptoms of C-difficile?

The irritation caused by the C-difficile in your large intestine can result in:

  • abdominal cramps
  • watery diarrhea that occurs several times a day
  • fever

More serious C. diff infections can cause: Watery diarrhea that happens several times a day is one of many signs of a C. diff infection. You can have diarrhea and abdominal cramping even with a mild infection. If you have C. diff, your diarrhea will have a very strong, unpleasant odor. In more serious infections, there may be blood in the stool.

  • excessive diarrhea (more than 10 occurrences a day)
  • severe abdominal cramps
  • nausea
  • loss of appetite
  • dehydration
  • weight loss
  • accelerated heart rate
  • in severe cases, problems with blood pressure and kidney function, and a risk of bowel perforation or toxic megacolon (a condition in which your colon can no longer release gas or stools, and can potentially swell and rupture if left untreated).

What is the medical treatment for C-difficile?

A specific group of antibiotics are active against C-difficile, including Metronidazole, Vancomycin, Fidaxomicin. If your C-difficile infection returns or proves resistant to medication, a fecal transplant may be recommended. Where serious damage to the intestine has occurred, surgery to remove the affected areas may be required.

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