Overview Of Clostridium Difficile Colitis
C. diff is a bacterium that can cause diarrhea and more serious intestinal conditions such as colitis. You may see it called other names – Clostridioides difficile (the new name), Clostridium difficile colitis (an older name), and C. difficile. It causes close to half a million illnesses each year.
Causes Of Clostridium Difficile Colitis
C. diff bacteria are commonly found in the environment, but people usually only get C. diff infections when they are taking antibiotics. That’s because antibiotics not only wipe out bad germs, they also kill the good germs that protect your body against infections. The effect of antibiotics can last as long as several months. If you come in contact with C. diff germs during this time, you can get sick. You are more likely to get a C. diff infection if you take antibiotics for more than a week.
C. diff spreads when people touch food, surfaces, or objects that are contaminated with feces (poop) from a person who has C. diff.
The symptoms of C. diff infections include:
- Diarrhea (loose, watery stools) or frequent bowel movements for several days
- Stomach tenderness or pain
- Loss of appetite
- Severe diarrhea causes you to lose a lot of fluids. This can put you at risk for dehydration.
Treatment Of Clostridium Difficile Colitis
Certain antibiotics can treat C. diff infections. If you were already taking a different antibiotic when you got C. diff, your provider may ask you to stop taking that one.
If you have a severe case, you may need to stay in the hospital. If you have very severe pain or serious complications, you may need surgery to remove the diseased part of your colon.
About 1 in 5 people who have had a C. diff infection will get it again. It could be that your original infection came back or that you have a new infection. Contact your health care provider if your symptoms come back.