Clostridium Difficile (C Diff)

Have you ever heard of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI or C Diff)? If you have suffered from diarrhea with a crampy abdominal pain and have been on antibiotics, then you may have experienced this infection.

When a person takes antibiotics, good germs that typically protect against infection are destroyed for several months. During this time, a person can get sick with C. Diff.

About 10 – 20% of the time, diarrhea is a side effect of antibiotics, but it usually gets better when the antibiotics are stopped. According to the College of Gastroenterology, C. Diff occurs when toxin-producing bacteria causes an antibiotic associated severe diarrhea, colitis and even colon inflammation that can be fatal. Recently, there has been a dramatic increase in the number and severity of cases of C. Diff.

People who have other illnesses or have conditions that require prolonged antibiotics are at greater risk of this disease. Any surface that becomes contaminated may serve as a breading reservoir for C. Diff, and the bacteria can live for long periods of time on the surface.

Risk Factors:

You may be at higher risk if you have the following: weakened immune system, older age, illness, and being in a hospital or long-term care facility. Even healthy individuals who have not been on antibiotics can still develop C. Diff, so you’ll just need to monitor the symptoms.


If you notice any of the following symptoms, you may be at risk. Diarrhea is the most common. It is typically watery and rarely bloody. You may also experience abdominal pain, fever, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. Severe signs include fever and abdominal tenderness.

Steps to Take:

You should always contact your doctor first if you notice any of the above symptoms. Some of the common steps taken are stopping the antibiotic that led to the infection in the first place, but this may not always be possible since some medications are needed for a long-term basis. If you can stop the antibiotics, sometimes the diarrhea may go away.

You should never take antidiarrheal drugs to stop C. Diff because slowing an inflamed colon may results in other complications such as toxic megacolon.


American College of Gastroenterology (

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (