C. Difficile Infection


This is an intestinal infection. It's caused by a bacterium known as Clostridium difficile. We also call it "C. diff." It lives in the intestines of some people. For most who carry it, C. diff. doesn't cause problems. But it can spread to others, especially in places like hospitals and nursing homes. And when it infects someone new, it can grow out of control.


A C. diff. infection can be triggered by antibiotic use. Antibiotics kill harmful bacteria in your body. But they also kill the helpful bacteria that live within you. If you take an antibiotic that kills the helpful bacteria and then C. diff. gets inside you, C. diff. may begin to take over. It then releases toxins, attacking the lining of your digestive tract.


A C. diff infection can cause pain and tenderness in your stomach, and watery diarrhea. You may have nausea, fever and loss of appetite. You may have blood or pus in your stool, along with other symptoms, depending on the severity of your infection.


To treat a C. diff. infection, your doctor may tell you to stop taking your antibiotic. You may need to begin taking a different one. You'll also need to drink plenty of fluids and change your diet as you recover. Your doctor will create a care plan that's right for you.