How does C Diff make you ill?

How does c diff make you ill? The actions of antibiotics taken for other conditions can change your gut bacteria and allow toxic c.difficile to attack your stomach cell linings.

Where does it come from?

  • C.Difficile is found in the soil, in animals and the food chain.
  • It often enters our houses through the dust on our feet.
  • It often enters our bodies via the mouth.
  • It is transported there by the hand which has often picked it up from a surface.
  • The deadlier strains may have spread out from our hospitals into the community


How does c diff make you ill? The actions of antibiotics taken for other conditions can change your gut bacteria and allow toxic c.difficile to attack your stomach cell linings.

Where does it come from?

  • C.Difficile is found in the soil, in animals and the food chain.
  • It often enters our houses through the dust on our feet.
  • It often enters our bodies via the mouth.
  • It is transported there by the hand which has often picked it up from a surface.
  • The deadlier strains may have spread out from our hospitals into the community

How does c diff make you ill – The bacteria

  • C difficile bacteria can be found in human excretment. It lives in the large bowel (colon).
  • Some C. difficile bacteria produce toxins that can cause diarrhea.
  • It can also change to a tougher, harder to kill spore.
  • Spores can survive hot and cold temperatures and are resistant to the action of many chemicals, including the  alcohol-based hand sanitizers often found in hospitals.
  • Because they then ‘hang around’ the spores can infect others

How does c diff make you ill – The infection

  • A healthy large bowel has many bacteria.
  • Not all of them are destructive and in many cases they stop c difficile from growing if a person is a carrier of the bacteria.
  • Antibiotic treatment for other conditions can sometimes kill the bacteria that are holding C difficile in check.
  • If the C. difficile strains in a persons stomach are the type that produce toxins, these toxins may make you sick by attacking the mucus and lining of the stomach and intestine.  Dead cells and other toxic elements cluster together in destructive islands of infection.
  • The diarrhea and other symptoms that you may develop in these situations are called Clostridium difficile-associated disease (CDAD)
  • (Not all diarrhea while taking antibiotics is caused by C. difficile.)


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44 thoughts on “How does C Diff make you ill?

  1. Adriana

    My mother, at 80, is being treated with a second round of antibiotics for a recurrence of d diff (she had a knee replacement which went well–then this). She is suffering and very weak. I am looking for a medical facility in California that performs fecal transplants as I would like to see her well soon. She is otherwise in excellent health.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      If you google ‘fecal transplant california’ that may be the best way to track down a facility. Look for major hospitals rather than any other types of offer.

      Dave
      cdifficile.org

      Reply
      1. Adriana

        Thanks for the responses. My mother is working with the Mayo Clinic and we are looking at USF and other possibilities, but it is hard to find info on the web. I’ve tried several variations of the search terms, but there isn’t much out there. At this time, both the Mayo Clinic and my mother’s doc have said that she needs to undergo the full antibiotic protocol before being eligible for the fecal transplant. So she is miserable, and we wait.

        Reply
        1. admin Post author

          The FDA sought to more or less close down the Fecal transplant route. There was a strong backlash and they relaxed their ruling but the hospitals still need to demonstrate it is as a last resort. Many feel it should be the first line treatment but there will need to be more safety protocols in place before that happens.

          Reply
  2. Karen cowan

    My mom is in rehab for a large wound on her leg. Mom is 87 years old and has diabeties along witty kidney failure. She has had diaeriha for 5 to6 days. Today the rehab nurse told me they are pretty sure she has c-diff they did a stool sample and washed her room down with bleach water. My question is should I bring her home tomorrow as was planned? She don’t care that she is contagious she just wants to come home. They also put her on antibiotics today .

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Hygiene around the home with respect to door handles, toilets and hand hygiene for all who live there will often be enough to ensure that transmission does not happen to other family members. Studies suggest that the risk in the home is low

      Dave
      cdifficile.org

      Reply
    1. Infection Watch

      This is a quote from http://www.patient.co.uk

      Infection with Clostridium difficile most commonly occurs in people who have recently had a course of antibiotics and are in hospital. Symptoms can range from mild diarrhoea to a life-threatening inflammation of the bowel. No treatment may be needed in mild cases except drinking plenty of fluids. However, treatment with specific antibiotics is needed in more severe cases.

      Reply
  3. Shelby

    I have had c diff 4 different times in 3 months, I was on flagl for the first 3 times and vanco this last time. I am going to see a infectious disease doctor. Is this life threating, should I be concerned? What will this doctor do differently than a regular family doctor?

    Reply
    1. Infection Watch

      C diff can become serious over time. The ID specialit will have greater insight, more technology and more day to day experience with this type of infection.

      Dave
      Cdifficile.org

      Reply
  4. Ashley

    My baby, turning 1 on Saturday, was just diagnosed with C Diff. It is going to take them until tomorrow to get the medicine ready. Should I be worried, she has had the symptoms for 2 weeks now. How common is it for babies to get C Diff?

    Reply
  5. Mary

    Hello, my brother was treated with an antibiotic for a cut on his leg. It healed without stiches or even a bandage. He was perfectly fine at 3:00 pm and suddenly his stomach started cramping. He started vomiting and had explosive diarrhea. He was very weak and fainted. Went to hospital at 5:00 pm where he went into respiratory failure and had to be placed on a ventilator. Drs had no idea what was wrong. He went into a coma and multi-organ failure. He died the next morning at 11:00am. It was determined c-diff infection was the cause. He was only 51 and in good health.
    Mary

    Reply
  6. Carol

    I was tested for c.diff because my father had it and I was caring for him. It surprised me when I found that I tested positive since I do not have diahrea, cramping or fever; however I am very bloated. At the same time I was being treated for a possible flare-up of diverticultis and put on cipro and flagyl. Is it still possible that I have c.diff or should I be retested?

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Some c diff infections can be quite mild. You can also be a carrier and test positive while not having an active infection. The Flagyl you are on will help protect you from any c diff related issues

      Dave
      cdifficile.org

      Reply
  7. suzane

    My friend is convinced she has cdif. she has had stool tests more than once in the hospital but can it go un noticed? she hasnt got diareah either.how long can cdiff be present in your body before it takes action? can you die from it?

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      If there are no symptoms and the tests are negative then she is unlikely to have an active infection. C diff is carried by many without ill effect for decades. It can kill you but generally only when you are very sick anyway with other conditions

      Dave
      cdifficile.org

      Reply
      1. barb

        My mom has c-diff… again or still. The first test came back negative and the Drs. did not believe me when I asked for her to be tested because of stomach pain.

        Reply
  8. jean

    My friend has c-diff. She was on vancomycin for 6 months. She got tested and it is still positive. Her doctor told her to just leave it alone. She is 82 years old and also has a clos. bag.

    Reply
  9. Katie

    My step Dad has been having loose stools for 2 weeks now and it has a weird kind of odor 80 yrs an is refusing to go to Dr’s office has diabetes he takes insulting heart medications hypertension medication prednizone etc. Could this infection be deadly to him?

    Reply
    1. Infection Watch

      It can be deadly if you’re quite Ill and get dehydrated. It can also create colitis in a slower but also harmful fashion. Urge him to have a test to eliminate the possibility that it is c diff.

      Dave
      Cdifficile.org

      Reply
  10. Linda

    I was diag. with C-Diff 2 months ago and just stopped taking Vancomycin oral. My stool has not returned to my normal. It is soft and small in size is this normal I am so afraid it is going to come back. Anything else I can do. I eat Activia every day

    Reply
    1. Infection Watch

      Seek further medical advice if the condition persists. Chronic c diff is rare but not unknown. Dificid is thought more likely to prevent reinfection.

      Dave
      Cdifficile.org

      Reply
  11. Lpester

    I am concerned because my 92 year old mother has this. Her geriatric doc blew us off last week and she ended up at ER. She is on Flagyl but seems to to taking its toll on her. The non stop diarrhea has slow up but she is so weak and sick feeling. They gave her three bags of fluids in ER and something to raise her potassium but I am ready to take her back. We see a GI on Monday.

    Reply
  12. has anyone been treated with the antibitic called ceftarroline fosamil?

    Has anyone ever been treated with ceftarolinefozamil?

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      This is an MRSA drug. it may provoke, like many antibiotics, provoke C Diff infections by killing the ‘good bacteria’ that have been holding c difficile back in your intestine.

      Dave
      cdifficile.org

      Reply
  13. Anne

    I had been ill with C Diff for over six weeks. I had been hospitalized, and taken three sets of Vancocin. As a last resort, I did the FMT procedure at home with donor matter from my husband. I am feeling great with no recurrence of the C Diff. We spent $20 on buying the supplies to do the procedure at home in our own bathroom. BTW, I also eat one yogert everyday with Probiotics.

    Reply
    1. Liz

      Anne,
      You did this procedure at home? I need to know about this. I have never heard you can do this at home. I need more info. on this and what supplies you use to do this?
      Thanks
      Liz

      Reply
    2. GG Boone

      Do you know how you contracted c-dif? Also, if you do not mind, what is your age? Was wondering because Vancocin (or Vancomycin in my case) was prescribed for 30 days. First round of Vancomycin was for 14 days and upon the next positive test was prescribed for 30 more days. Have you had any follow up testing?

      Reply
  14. Sara J

    I went to the Dr. 3 weeks ago had flu symptoms, also congestion sore throat n such, got a z pack didnt work, tried a 2nd antibiotic, didnt work, tried a third antibotic worked for about 5 days after now I have same flue syptoms as the fue so now its been like 3 week so I am wondering is it quicker to get tested at the hospital or dr.’s and …

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Most deaths are in people over 70 years of age and quite unwell with other conditions. Death is rare with c diff alone

      Dave
      cdifficile.org

      Reply
  15. pam

    I have this c diff i am on the flagule and what happens if they dont work or what will the next step be for this problem i have never had this be for and can it heart you it sounds scarey thank you

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Most people are cured by the course of drugs they are given. Assume that you are going to recover.

      Dave
      cdifficile.org

      Reply
  16. diana

    Im confused, is it a nosocomial infection, or is it caused by antibiotics. and how does it kill you cuz my mom died from it last week

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      It can be caught in hospital or provoked by hospital antibiotics. There is growing evidence that it can also be triggered by other medications called PPis. Many who get it are already quite ill and the diahrrea and dehydration it provokes can weaken the already weak. It can also cause toxic infections in the intestine.

      Dave
      cdifficile.org

      Reply
      1. jrcole

        i had cervical back surgery and contracted mine in hospital i have been on flagyl for 5 days and my urine is dark but i do not know if it is flagyl or kidneys i am 50 and this is awful ,i cannot drink or eat much due to my throat being swollen fr surgery and meds get caught in my throat and now cdiff.why do they give u antibiotics that do this to us

        Reply
  17. samantha

    my grandpa has cbiff and was giving the meds qestran ( powder form because he’s been haveing diarreaha for quite awhile he has diabeties and his Dr knows but is there anything else he can take also ?

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      When a patient has c diff the drug you mention is usually used alongside vancomycin. The questran is not enough on it’s own to cure the c diff infection

      dave
      cdifficile.org

      Reply
  18. david

    can anyone tell me where I can have a fecal transplant done in europe ? If need be, I am even prepared to fly to the US to have it done.

    David

    Reply
  19. Tinaserio

    I am on dificid. If this doesn’t work after months of treatment I will need a fecal matter transplant. Fmt. I am worried about it. Does anyone know how long it will be in hospital. And how long recovery is

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Our reading suggests the process takes a few hours and can be often done as a day patient. The C Diff often stops within 72 hours

      Dave
      cdifficile.org

      Reply
  20. jenn

    My son has been tested for c diff and it came back positive and he was treated for it and his test came back positive for a secound time and he was treated for it again. And tested again and it came back posittive again is it possible for him to still be positive and should i really be concerened

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      There is a pattern of chronic C Diff that does emerge in some patients as Vancocin does not seem to kill it as much as smother it for a while. The new drug Dificid is thought to stop it in in it’s tracks. There is also the possibility of re infection via a variety of sources. Concern arises if the patient has other conditions that the c diff will worsen or sap the strength of the patient to fight.

      Dave Roberts
      cdifficile.org

      Reply

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