Known as clostridium difficile or C. difficile, this bacteria can cause a wide range of problems 1. These may be simple, such as diarrhea, or they may be life-threatening problems, such as colon inflammation. The Mayo Clinic states infections from C. difficile often occur in elderly people, particularly those in hospitals and nursing homes 1. In these cases, the infections often occur following antibiotic use. The rate of infection is on the rise in the United States.
Diarrhea and Cramps
When the C. difficile bacterium infects you, it typically causes your bowels to become unbalanced 1. With moderate and mild infections, you may experience watery diarrhea. You may need to defecate more than three times each day, and the condition may last more than two days, the Mayo Clinic reports 1. You also may feel mild tenderness and cramps in your abdominal area. If you have a more severe infection, your watery diarrhea may send you running to the bathroom 10 to 15 times in one day. You also may get severe pain and cramps in your abdomen. Severe diarrhea may cause your body to lose too much liquid and lead to dehydration.
- When the C. difficile bacterium infects you, it typically causes your bowels to become unbalanced 1.
- You also may feel mild tenderness and cramps in your abdominal area.
Diverticulitis Flare-Up Symptoms
If you have a severe C. difficile infection, it can affect your eating habits 1. It may be hard to eat normally if you are forced into the bathroom as much as 15 times in a day, so you may lose your appetite. You also may feel queasiness or nausea if you have a severe infection. Because of these problems and the fact that you may be flushing your system because of the diarrhea, you may lose weight, the Mayo Clinic reports 1.
Stool Problems and Fever
C. difficile infections also may cause other problems with your system 1. Because it can induce inflammation in your colon—called colitis—or create patches of raw tissue that bleed—called pseudomenbranous colitis—you may see blood in your stools. There also may be a component of pus in your stools. The infection also may cause a fever, which may make you feel warm all over, make you sweat or give you the chills.
- C. difficile infections also may cause other problems with your system 1.
- There also may be a component of pus in your stools.
Diverticulitis Flare-Up Symptoms
Home Remedies for Diarrhea Caused by Antibiotics
Parasites & Weight Loss
The Side Effects of Potassium Chloride 10 mEq
Symptoms of Lymphoproliferative Disease
How to Treat an Infection After a Cut
How to Know If a UTI is Gone
Urinary Infections Caused by Klebsiella
Which Is Best: Psyllium or Unprocessed Wheat Bran?
Benefiber & Bloating
- Mayo Clinic: C. difficile
- National Institute of Health: Clostridium Difficile Infections
- Rajilić-Stojanović M, de Vos WM. The first 1000 cultured species of the human gastrointestinal microbiota. FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2014;38(5):996–1047. doi:10.1111/1574-6976.12075
- Di Bella S, Ascenzi P, Siarakas S, Petrosillo N, di Masi A. Clostridium difficile Toxins A and B: Insights into Pathogenic Properties and Extraintestinal Effects. Toxins (Basel). 2016;8(5):134. Published 2016 May 3. doi:10.3390/toxins8050134
- Henrich TJ, Krakower D, Bitton A, Yokoe DS. Clinical risk factors for severe Clostridium difficile-associated disease. Emerg Infect Dis. 2009;15(3):415–422. doi:10.3201/eid1503.080312
- Nitzan O, Elias M, Chazan B, Raz R, Saliba W. Clostridium difficile and inflammatory bowel disease: role in pathogenesis and implications in treatment. World J Gastroenterol. 2013;19(43):7577–7585. doi:10.3748/wjg.v19.i43.7577
- Navaneethan U, Mukewar S, Venkatesh PG, Lopez R, Shen B. Clostridium difficile infection is associated with worse long term outcome in patients with ulcerative colitis. J Crohns Colitis. 2012;6(3):330-336. doi:10.1016/j.crohns.2011.09.005
- Binion D. Clostridium difficile Infection and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2016;12(5):334–337.
- Issa M, Ananthakrishnan AN, Binion DG. Clostridium difficile and inflammatory bowel disease. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2008;14(10):1432-1442. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2006.12.028
- Surawicz CM, Brandt LJ, Binion DG, et al. Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Clostridium difficile infections. Am J Gastroenterol. 2013;108(4):478-98; quiz 499. doi:10.1038/ajg.2013.4
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Clostridioides difficile Infection. National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. Updated February 25, 2015.
- Anderson JL, Edney RJ, Whelan K. Systematic review: faecal microbiota transplantation in the management of inflammatory bowel disease. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2012;36(6):503-16. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2036.2012.05220.x
- Ananthakrishnan AN, Issa M, Binion DG. Clostridium difficile and inflammatory bowel disease. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2009;38(4):711-28. doi:10.1016/j.gtc.2009.07.003
- Ananthakrishnan AN. Clostridium difficile infection: epidemiology, risk factors and management. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2011;8(1):17-26. doi.org:10.1038/nrgastro.2010.190
Carole Anne Tomlinson is a registered nurse with experience in rehabilitation, nutrition, chemical dependency, diabetes and health problems related to the elderly. Tomlinson holds a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice and is presently working on her master's degree in nursing. Her screenplays have been viewed by Merchant Ivory, Angela Lansbury and Steven King's associates.