Clostridium Difficile Infection

Clostridium Difficile Infection


Clostridium difficile is a bacteria that infects the intestine. Some patients with clostridium difficile in their system are merely carriers, never exhibiting any symptoms.

Signs and symptoms

Mild infections usually present with symptoms like watery diarrhoea and abdominal cramping and tenderness. More severe cases may, also, experience fever, rapid heart rate, blood in the stool, increased white blood cell count and kidney failure. Extreme cases may experience intestinal inflammation, enlargement of the colon, and sepsis.

Causes and risk factors

The infection typically affects older adults. It can also flare up due to prolonged use of antibiotics.


Clostridium difficile is more complicated in older patients who are more prone to dehydration and kidney failure. The infection could cause toxic megacolon and bowel perforations which could turn fatal.


Clostridium difficile infection is diagnosed using a gamut of stool tests. These tests detect the presence of the Clostridium difficile toxin in the stool and hence confirm the diagnosis. The doctor may also check the status of the colon and the bowel if the infection is severe.

Treatment and Surgical Interventions

The infection is treated with a course of antibiotics which inhibit the growth of the clostridium difficile bacteria. Other medications may also be prescribed to keep the diarrhoea, dehydration or fever under control. In critical infections, where the colon is severely damaged, surgery may be performed at the doctor’s discretion to remove the diseased portions. It is very important to finish the course of antibiotics exactly as prescribed by the doctor, as the risk of reinfection is high.


Clostridium difficile infections are prevented in the same way as most other bacterial infections – practice good hygiene. Wash your hands often, and especially before eating. Avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics, and follow the course exactly as prescribed by your physician.


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