What Is C. Diff?
C diff refers to a bacterium known as Clostridium difficile, which is found in several environments, including feces, water, food products, and soil. While it’s possible to have C. diff in the large intestine on a regular basis and not show signs of illness, this only occurs in a small number of people. In most people, accidentally being exposed to C. diff can lead to a bacterial infection that ranges from mild to life-threatening. Symptoms of C. Diff People with a mild or moderate C. diff infection might have watery diarrhea a few times a day, as well as mild cramping in the abdominal area. Those with a severe infection might experience the following symptoms:
- Watery diarrhea several times a day
- Dehydration caused by frequent diarrhea
- Moderate to severe abdominal pain and cramping
- Bloody stool or stool with pus caused by raw tissue patches that form when the colon becomes inflamed
- Appetite loss
- Abdominal swelling
- Weight loss
- Antibiotics: Antibiotics destroy both good and bad bacteria in order to fight an infection. When the amount of healthy bacteria decreases, a C. diff infection is more likely to occur.
- Healthcare facilities: C. diff easily spreads on several surfaces in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities. It can also spread from person to person in these types of settings.
- Serious illnesses: People with certain types of illnesses, such as inflammatory bowel disease or compromised immune systems due to medical conditions, have a higher risk of having a C. Diff infection.
- Surgery: People who have had a gastrointestinal procedure done or abdominal surgery have an increased risk of an infection from C. diff.
- Age: Those who are 65 years old and up have a higher chance of having a C. diff infection.
- Until recently, C. diff was felt to be acquired at a hospital or by recent antibiotic use but an increasing number of cases have been shown to be “community-acquired”, without the above risk factors. So an index of suspicion and accurate testing is necessary to get an accurate diagnosis.