C Diff Symptoms: 4 Key facts you should know

C Diff symptoms – If after reading this page you feel you may have a c difficile infection seek medical confirmation as the symptoms described may also cover other illnesses. C Difficile symptoms often occur after treatment with antibiotics for another condition. You should consider that when checking the symptoms below.

What causes c diff symptoms

As many as 1 in 6 people may carry c difficile in their intestine but not have an active infection. The active infection often happens when antibiotics or medical prescriptions taken for other conditions also impact  gut bacteria that were not the original target. These ‘good’ bacteria will have been holding the c difficile in check. They now interact with contents of the intestine and their toxins provoke the diarrhea that is a common c diff symptom.


Other indicators from your medical history may also help clarify your symptoms. Protein pump inhibitor medications prescribed for acid reflux issues are believed to make you more vulnerable to c diff infections because of the changes they have already made in your gut bacteria. Statins, often prescribed for a variety of conditions are thought to make you less vulnerable to extreme c difficile.

What are the most common c diff symptoms

The first c diff symptoms may include diarrhea and cramping. This might occur up to 15 times a day. Usually however the diarrhea happens between 3-5 times a day. C Diff infection often produces foul smelling stool. This is a distinctive symptom and many medical staff can make an initial diagnosis on smell alone – find out more here. Extreme cases can cause blood in your feces.

What other symptoms might follow

Flu-like symptoms of weakness, dehydration, fever, nausea, vomiting can follow. C difficile infections are a major assault on your body and may therefore make you more vulnerable to other conditions you have.

Get a c.difficile test

There are several strains of c difficile. New tests mean that you can now have a diagnosis in hours rather than days. This will help ensure you get the right medication to deal with with the strain you have. Find out more here

Take action

Not every c difficile infection becomes a major illness. Some mild cases resolve themselves when you stop taking the antibiotics. But you need to take action or seek advice nevertheless. Left untreated, sufferers can die – especially when they have other conditions that the c difficile complicates.


More c difficile answers

64 thoughts on “C Diff Symptoms: 4 Key facts you should know

  1. Jen

    That’s not how I got it. I got it because I was on anti biotics for 10 months straight. It’s been a year and a half since I have had it and all is good. No re-occurences…been feeling great. I hope I never get that shit again, pardon the pun.

    Reply
  2. rebecca

    I just want people to know this:

    Several years ago, I was in the hospital for depression. At one point, I became ill. The staff moved me into a single room, and gave me clindamycin. I was allergic to the clindamycin, and became severely ill at that point. I had awful smelling diarrhea about every 15 minutes, could not get myself clean, and whenever I ate, I vomited.

    The doctor, in his infinite wisdom, discharged me, telling me my symptoms were psychosomatic.

    A day or so later, I tried to eat, and vomited my food immediately after swallowing. At that point, I was very weak and dehydrated, and decided to go to a health clinic.

    The point is:

    This was supposedly a “top-notch” hospital in the middle of a major city. The doctor discharged me with symptoms that, even if they had been psychosomatic, needed to be treated. The experience was one of the worst I’ve had in my life, and includes how I was treated during the infection, not just the infection itself. The C. Diff culminated in a two-week+ hospital stay where i was in isolation, and everyone who came into the room had to wear gowns, gloves, and booties. I was not allowed to eat, was on IV antibiotics, and couldn’t see my family (my grandparents lived in the area, and letting older people in was too much of a risk).

    This C. Diff infection went untreated for about a week. It was a bad infection from the beginning. Hospitals in this city were known to have resistant strains of C. Diff at that time—which leads me to wonder what the doctor was thinking in letting me out into the community. He was a resident psychiatrist, and even though I asked to see a doctor, one never came to see me.

    I was healthy and in my 20’s, and I shudder to think what would have happened if there had been other complicating factors.

    Please don’t let yourself be the guinea pig that I was. I wish that I had had someone to advocate for me at that time. Normal, healthy people do not vomit and have almost constant diarrhea.

    Reply
  3. Jen

    My doctor seems to think I have C diff but he didn’t tell me it was contagious. He prescribed Metronidazole 500 milligrams 3 times a day for 7 days. Prior to the Metronidazole, I was experiencing Diarrhea about 10-15 times a day off and on for a 7 day period, no fever, no blood in the stool, sever stomach cramping that only happened at night that made me feel as if I was dying, along with chills and muscle spasms. Over that 7 day period, the first day I had diarrhea once, the 2nd day I felt like a million bucks and had no problems. The 3rd and 4th day nor diarrhea, the 5th day, had diarrhea at least 6 times, the 6th day no diarrhea but the 7th day it started and lasted for 2.5 days about 10-15 times a day. I also have IBS which I don’t usually have too much issues with. I have been on antibiotics off and on for at least 9 months out of the last 12 months for urinary tract infections that wouldn’t go away, sinus and upper respiratory infection and for a salivary gland infection. I took antibiotics for the Urinary Tract infection for 6 of those months but not consecutively. I keep reading that C Diff is contagious and I am curious to know how long it’s contagious for and if I should be going to work around others? The diarrhea has stopped since I started taking the Metronidazole. I am on my 3rd pill of this antibiotic while waiting for my test results to come back. I am curious about it being deadly as well. Can anyone give me their thoughts on this please? Should I be concerned about it still being contagious? Should I throw out my blankets on my bed or just wash them in really hot water? Am I over thinking this?

    Reply
    1. Infection Watch

      C Diff is usually only deadly to people already seriously ill with other conditions and also elderly. It can damage the colon and start a serious illness but this is rare.

      The contagion is often low. Disinfect high touch areas such as door handles, light switches and bathroom surfaces near the toilet. Always close the lid when flushing. A hot wash for linens. Domestic infection is rare and carriers may never develop an active infection.

      Your are right to be concerned but the risks are low.

      Dave
      Cdifficile.org

      Reply
    2. Michelle

      Yes it’s deadly and the CDC has it on their list of bad diseases as the first thing. My mother has it and is absolutely sick beyond belief. She had heart surgery and came out with this. It’s passed by an infected person not washing their hands after coming in contact with feces then touching someone else. It’s spread through hospitals and other facilities like nursing homes, etc. It’s something that can be prevented but people are irresponsible and don’t wash.

      She has a UTI, gall bladder is infected and God knows what else.

      Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Have you had medication recently. Can you tell us what it was if so. Seek medical help if the condition persists

      Dave

      Reply
  4. Michael

    My mother-in- law is being treated for c- diff. In addition to the usual symptoms, she has transient changes in her mental status including hallucinations. Is this common and if so, what is the genesis of the change in mental status?

    Reply
  5. jchakey

    My six year old was just diagnosed with c-diff. She has had diarrhea for 7 days. Some days it was as many as 10-15 times a day, Others were only 3-5 times. She lost her appetite, lost 4 pounds in 4 days, and has times when her stomach hurts. The dr. said she tested positive for the antigen but not the toxin. She started a probiotic and Flagyl today. She already had her appetite back before starting the meds. She still had 3 bouts of diarrhea today and a time when her stomach hurt. How concerned should I be? I’m freaking out.

    Reply
  6. Bobbi Law

    Recently I was takingCephalexin-500mg for an infected big toe. I am a non-insulin diabetic.I was on this med for 3 1/2 weeks. About a week after discontinuing its use I have developed cramps,pain in my rectal area, loss of appetite, tiredness & an unwell feeling. After some research I went to a Health Food Store & bought a bottle of the pro-biotic Acidophilus Ultra.
    My Question…Could this be C-Difficile & is the pro-biotic a good thing to take?
    I thank you for your anticipated response.

    Reply
  7. Joyce

    My friend has recently finished a round of chemo for lymphoma. Her prospects are looking quite good. However she has a cdiff infection and diareha. I seem to get that quite easily. Can I get the cdeff from her? Her doctor told her that she has it because of the chemo and it is not contagious.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      There is a risk but it is quite low. especially if you both exercise good hand hygiene when you meet. Wash you hands at beginning and end of visit

      Dave
      cdifficile.org

      Reply
  8. Kimberly

    I was just diagnosed with C. diff and started on Flagyl. Two weeks ago I was on clindamycin and flagyl for a dental reasons. Although the symptoms got worse over the last to weeks, I feel I have been suffering from some GI troubles since last Sept. My BF has had loose mucousy stool with a lot of gas for 2 yrs and I started the same symptoms last Sept. Constant loose stool with mucous and gas. My question is can someone have c diff for a long time and not know it?
    Thanks

    Reply
  9. Steph

    I work in a health care setting and my boss has been out of work for two weeks with c.difficile. The last time I was in contact with her was a day before she started getting the symptoms. That same day she began having diarhea I was not in contact with her but I begin to feel nausea different times throughout the day. It has been two weeks now where I have been getting nausea off and on and I cannot think of anything else it could be. (And I know I am not pregnant so that is not causing the nausea.) I went to the doctors last month for a physical and was fine and healthy but the feeling I have been feeling the last two weeks is awful. I am wondering if it could be a milder form of c.difficile because I am only experiencing nausea and occassional cramping, no diarhea.

    Thank you!

    Reply
  10. Michelle

    I was on clindamyacin for 10 days a few weeks ago for a serious gum infection, recently I have noticed that I have to go to the bathroom more often, and my stools are starting to become softer and softer. there is also mucous when I go to the bathroom. I have no cramping but keep feeling like I have a fever (I had a hysterectomy 5 years ago and everyone keeps telling me they are ht flashes fever flare-ups do not feel like the hot flashes I had). Does C. Diff come on gradually or does it hit with diarrhea immediately? I hope I am only being paranoid. I have IBS so know what it is like to have hours on end of diarrhea, I am not certain I could handle weeks or months of it.

    Reply
  11. Carol

    I have tested positive for c.diff however I do NOT have any of the major symptoms…no diarhea, no cramping, no fever…..only bloating. Could it have been a false-postitive? I should mention that I was taking care of my elderly father last month who had c.diff. My doctor prescribed flagyl and cipro because it was origionally thought that I had a flare-up of diverticulitis. At this point, I am so confused. Could it be that I am simply a “carrier” of c.diff? What would be causing me to be so bloated?

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      It is possible to be a carrier and return a positive without having an active infection. There is also a spectrum of c diff with some cases being quite mild.

      Dave
      cdifficile.org

      Reply
  12. Ellie

    I was just diagnosed with C Diff at the Mayo Clinic.Have been suffering from a kidney infection for a month and have been on 3 different antibiotics. Before I got the kidney infection, had been suffering from severe diarrhea and weight loss. In the hospital twice for dehydration. Was initially diagnosed with
    Malabsorption. Finally, after losing so much weight, 5’4 and 92lbs, Mayo admitted me. While in the hospital, was diagnosed with C Diff in addition to kidney infection. Symptoms of C Diff occurred before kidney infection, but told by Dr that C Diff occurred because of all the antibiotics? Very confused. Dr still treatingme with antibiotic for kidneys and also put me on Flagyl. If I am still talking antibiotics for kidneys, how will the C Diff improve?? Again, very confused. Was released from hospital after 4 days, but still very sick. This treatment of both antibiotics doesn’t sound productive to me, seems like the C Diff can’t get properly treated until I am completely off everything except the Flagyl?? Any advice??

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Any treatment with antibiotics in last 3 months can trigger C Diff. The Flagyl may help keep the c diff from getting too bad while you are waiting for other medication to finish.

      If it persists, ask what strain it is and ask about Vancocin or Dificid which are stronger

      Dave

      Reply
  13. Pam

    If you’re having C Diff problems or recurring problems, try drinking Stonyfield Farms yogurt smoothies. It was the only thing that finally helped me.

    Reply
  14. Allison

    Hello,

    I have been prescribed Clindamyacin, which I hear causes C. diff. I have Crohn’s and an ileostomy. Is this drug safe for me to take? The drug has been prescribed to treat an infection not related to my Crohn’s, and I am in remission. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Clindamycin and may other drugs can be a c diff trigger, if you have c diff in your intestine. It is thought that 97% of people do not. There is a small risk that your are a c diff carrier and that the drug could trigger an episode.

      Dave
      cdifficile.org

      Reply
  15. amber

    my mother was just told she has c-diff after being in the hospital 6 week ago
    i was at her house and washed her bedding and used bathroom before we knew this, can i get c-diff…

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Theoretically yes, but many of us carry C Diff anyway rather than catching it. 70% of babies have it present in their intestine before the body deals with it. 3% carry it anyway into adulthood. Some people do catch it from a sick relative but do not suffer any active infection until they take antibiotics for some other illness.

      You were involved in washing in the two situations you mention above which will further reduce the risk of you catching c diff from her. The hotspots are her hands, high touch areas and the toilet.

      Hope this helps

      Dave
      cdifficile.org

      Reply
  16. Audrey

    I am interested in the article that you link to above in other comments regarding risk of family infection but the link is broken. Could you check that and link to the correct link? I am very interested as my husband is infected and we have 5 small children and I am pregnant.

    Thank you

    Reply
  17. corrigan

    My daughter has a serious case of cdiff. She just turned a year old. During the last three months she has been treated for cdiff 5 times. She has been treated with flagyl three times and vacomiacin twice. Nothing is getting rid of it. I am friends with several doctors and they all seem to be baffled by this. Her symptoms include severe loose stools with blood (only when she isn’t on the meds), stomach cramping, weight loss, and more fussy than usual.
    I am at a loss as of what to do…I know of a person that was battling cdiff and almost died from it..my daughter does not seem to be responding to the meds (I have even been giving her probiotics to help put the flora back in her)
    Please….if you have any advice on where to go or a different type of treament, it would be well appreciated. PLEASE RESPOND !!!!!!!

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      It may be related to the disturbance in your intestine in general. You are best to seek expert medical opinion however.

      dave
      cdifficile.org

      Reply
  18. toni

    I was in hospital for ccolitis and got c diff from all the antibiotics.4 months later and every medidicne there is flagyl cipro vanco another onee that begins with an x and now on divicid. NEXT is the fecal transplant for me

    Reply
  19. robert

    i had c-dif 6 months ago. took vanco and it was gone. five days ago i got hit by what i hope is just a bug, fever and now three days of diarrhea that reminds me of c-dif. could i relapse spantaneously without being on any antibiotic since the vanco? paranoid.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      It is rare for people to have c diff episodes that are not related to medication. The only way to know is to have a test if the condition continues

      dave
      cdifficile.org

      Reply
  20. Michelle

    I was diagnosed with c-diff and have gone through 2 treatments, with Flagyl. My question is how long until the extreme fatigue and bloating go away? My appetite is almost non-exisitent again as well??? I don’t understand… I just completed treatment, had a ferocious appetite and now as of yesterday it is gone? And can this illness affect breathing and cause CRAZY itching?? Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      The itching etc may be a drug reaction. A small number have adverse reactions. Your body has been quite depleted by the infection. It may be a while before you feel robust again

      dave
      cdifficile.org

      Reply
  21. PaGuz

    I relapsed =(
    The first time I was prescribed metronidazol for 14 days but Dr then decided to stop the treatment on day 11. Ten days later c-diff symptoms again, tested positive again. This time I went to a GI, he put me on metronidazol again but this time for 21 days. He mentioned that it is very important to finish the 21 days, no less.

    Today is my 10th day still 11 more to go! I feel better, no more mucus or diarrhea. but
    I have lost about 8-9 pounds! I’m 5’2″ and muy current weight is 94lbs!!!! Any advice on keeping weight on? Did any of you drank Boost while being treated for c-diff?

    My current diet: Chicken, rice, pasta, bananas, Cheerios, Activia, Yakult, Carrots, plain muffins, eggs, green beans, canned peaches, sweet peas, apple sause.

    Reply
    1. Linda

      I am a nurse who had surgery and antibiotics for colorectal cancer…and then nearly died when C-diff reared its ugly head one week later! It was very difficult to eat and keep weight on, but high protein Boost was literally a lifesaver! My doctors also encouraged me to eat probiotic yogurt three times a day. After several weeks and a 50-lb. weight loss, I began to recover. Drink your Boost!

      Reply
    2. K Welch

      I see you are using Activia & Yakult which are good, BUT I bombarded myself with really strong pro-biotics in capsule also, that were enteric coated. Many of the probiotics are killed by stomach acid. The enteric coating keeps the capsule from opening or dissolving until it gets nearer to the colon. That is where you want your probiotics to work and be absorbed.

      Reply
  22. amber

    my uncle just had liver resection surgery and is in icu. now the doctors are saying he could have c-diff. i dont understand how he could have contracted this, need help understanding. please

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      A small percentage of people have c diff in their bodies and it moves from benign to aggressive because of drugs used to treat other conditions. Some catch it because of poor hygiene in the hospital.

      dave
      cdifficile.org

      Reply
  23. Shelley

    After being on Bactrim for 2 weeks for tiny toe infection, I became very ill with watery diarrhea.Dr. stopped Bactrim & I tested positive for C-diff which I had never heard of. Had 1 treatment of Flagyl which did not work. Ended up in hospital for 11 days on Vanco. Big problem keephydrated. Home now 3 weeks & still on Vanco but stomach hurts& bloated. No diarrhea but small abnormal sized bm’s. At this point I’d have a fecal transplant as it sounds like that works! Anyone else having c-diff linger?

    Reply
  24. Angela

    I contracted C-diff after taking antibiotics for a staff infection. I was 32 weeks pregnant at the time. I had only completed 10 days worth of the Flagyl when I went into labor. Since then the symptoms have come back twice, the last time after completing the full course of antibiotics. The doctors keep putting me back on the Flagyl. I was told that the symptoms can persist for weeks after the infection is gone and that the test results will continue to give a false positive . Each time the diarrhea and pain has come back worse. What are my options?

    Reply
    1. Infection Watch

      The worsening of the symptoms is key. Explore that angle with them. Ask about Dificid which seems better at stopping the infections

      Dave
      Cdifficile.org

      Reply
      1. Angela

        Went back to Dr. who said my tests came back negative. Still having diarrhea and was put on dicyclomine. How long can symptoms linger after testing negative?

        Reply
        1. K Welch

          Beware, just because the stool sample doesn’t show c-diff, doesn’t mean you don’t have it. I kept doing samples-for about 2 months, and they always came back negative. Finally my diarrhea pain and cramping was so bad my daughter took me to the hospital emergency. My samples still showed negative for c-diff, so they did a colonoscopy. Bingo, my whole colon was brownish yellow and covered with c-diff (they showed me the pics). Took many days in the hospital, and 6 months of treatments before I finally got rid of it. The Doctor said it is unusual, but not unheard of for it not to show up in stool samples.

          Reply
  25. PaGuz

    My c-diff symptoms were fluffy stools, mild abdominal pain and some mucus in stools. I was on Flagyl for 10 days and I finished the treatment 2 weeks ago. Stools began looking better but the abdominal pain continued but yesterday I freak out when I passed mucus. Later on the day again, mucus but I noticed an small line of blood. Same thing this morning. I went to the doctor and she reffered me to a GI but she said I should not be to worry about the mucus or blood because it can be part of the healing process… is this true? Has this happend to any of you while recovering from c-diff? She said it can be because the body is flushing all the bad stuff and dead cells. I’m so confused. I sent out 3 stools samples today, results will be ready in about 5 days! I hope I don’t get more blood or I will have to go the to ER. Any thoughts?

    PS. I went to 2 different specialist today and they did not want me to give me an appointment because I don’t have insurance! This is frustrating.

    Reply
  26. Dave

    I had c diff back in January. I took Flagyl and it appeared that the c diff went away. But, I have had some odd symptoms that have continued. One of them is a tingling or tremor in my hands. My hands are always cold and white. Is this related to the c diff? Is it related to the flagyl?

    Reply
    1. Infection Watch

      There is a strain called 027 that seems less amenable to treatment. The new drug Dificid has a better reputation for killing it outright rather than just calming it down.

      Your situation is not helpful but it is far from rare

      Dave
      cdifficile.org

      Reply
  27. Kevin

    I recently visited my father in the hospital and did not know he has an active c diff infection before entering the room. I am on doxcycline should I be concerned?

    Reply
    1. Infection Watch

      There is a very small risk. Did the hospital have hand hygiene facilities and encourage you to use them? This will have reduced the risk even further. Seek medical advice if your stool consistency suddenly changes durig you antibiotic treatment

      dave
      cdifficile.org

      Reply
  28. Cindy

    I am wondering if a person ( elderly) has C Diff, and is very contagious, can a Cancer patient visit if they are fully clothed without any skin ahowing? I am a Cancer patient with very bad immune system but am wanting to know if it’s safe enough for me to visit a dieing elderly man with C Diff.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      The hands are the key transmission route. Wash them after visiting. Wash your clothes and wash your hands after taking them off. The risk is low, but these actions reduce it further

      Dave
      cdifficile.org

      Reply
  29. Nikki

    I have just been diagnosed with c-diff, I have two small children at home and I really don’t want to put them at risk… My littlest often would even come into take a tub with me before I was diagnosed… how do i keep them from getting c diff from me? I understand washing my hands is important but my children are 2 and 4 and thier hands are always in thier mouths or or thier toys and such??? I’m just really worried do you have any advise for me?
    Thank you Nikki

    Reply
  30. kris

    I have gone thru 3 rounds of vancocin and one round of difficd. Now going on xifaxin. Will this ever go away and what else is availabe or strain resistant c-diff

    Reply
  31. Christa

    My mother was just recently dealing with c-diff.. She is going thru recovery well except for now, her hair is starting to fall out. Could the c-diff be causing this or the medication she is taking for the c-diff? I have found your website to be very helpful and I thank you for that!! If someone could please respond, I would be even more thankful!!
    Sincerely,
    Christa Price

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      We are not aware that this is a condition related to the illness or the medication. We would encourage you to seek a medical opinion. It may be that it is a symptom related to the general trauma of being quite unwell

      Dave
      cdifficile.org

      Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Nothing in our research indicates this. The drinking might provoke similar issues but they will tend to go away when drinking patterns change. C Diff tends to persist

      Dave
      cdifficile.org

      Reply

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