What is clostridium difficile?

Clostridium difficile is a bacterium capable of infecting the bowel and trigger episodes of diarrhea. The infection is common among individuals who were recently treated with antibiotics but can spread to others easily.

An infection can be unpleasant and oftentimes result to serious issues with the bowels but can be managed with another course of antibiotics.

Indications

clostridium-difficile

In some cases, serious complications might arise such as damage to the bowel or severe dehydration that might lead to drowsiness, rapid heart rate, confusion and fainting.

The indications of a Clostridium difficile infection typically develop when using antibiotics or when completed within the last few weeks.

The usual indications include:

  • Watery diarrhea that might be streaked with blood
  • Feeling sick
  • Painful abdominal cramps
  • Fever above 38 degrees C
  • Appetite loss and weight loss
  • Indications of dehydration such as headache, dry mouth and increased frequency of urination

In some cases, serious complications might arise such as damage to the bowel or severe dehydration that might lead to drowsiness, rapid heart rate, confusion and fainting.

Management of clostridium difficile infection

The doctor will decide if hospitalization is required. In case the infection is mild, it can be managed at home.

In case the individual is hospitalized, he/she might be transferred to a separate room during treatment to lessen the risk of the spread of infection to others.

The management of clostridium difficile infection might include:

  • Stopping the intake of antibiotics believed to be the cause of the infection if possible. In mild cases, it might be the only treatment required.
  • A 10-14-day course of antibiotics that can eliminate the C. difficile bacteria
  • Serious infections that might necessitate surgery to remove a damaged region of the bowel.

Generally, clostridium difficile infections respond well to treatment where most can recover in 1-2 weeks. Nevertheless, the symptoms might recur in some cases and treatment might be repeated.

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