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Clostridium Difficile (C. difficile, C. diff) (cont.)

What are C. diff Treatments?

If the doctor suspects that C. difficile colitis is causing the diarrhea, the offending antibiotic will be stopped. Treatment of C. diff requires the use of antibiotics which are different from the ones that cause diarrhea. The antibiotics used to treat C. diff colitis include vancomycin (Vancocin) and metronidazole (Flagyl), with newer antibiotics being studied. It is ironic that the treatment of the C. diff infection caused by antibiotics is with different antibiotics.

In cases of severe illness and dehydration, the doctor may recommend admission to the hospital in order to start aggressive treatment with intravenous fluid and antibiotics, as well as for close monitoring for any metabolic disturbances and evidence of severe inflammation and distention of the colon. In severe cases, oral intake is stopped in order to give rest to the colon and prevent further stimulation of the bowel. Admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) may sometimes be necessary if there is evidence of unstable blood pressure and disturbance of other body functions.

It may take several days for the diarrhea to stop, despite prompt discontinuation of the offending antibiotics and aggressive medical care.

It is important to note that contrary to other causes of diarrhea, anti-diarrheal medications are discouraged in C. difficile colitis. This is because these drugs may slow down the removal of the bacteria and its toxins from the colon and, thus, prolong the infection.

In rare cases of severe infections with toxic megacolon, impending colon perforation, and severe generalized infection (sepsis) that may be life-threatening, surgery to remove the colon may be advised.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/2/2016
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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Clostridium Difficile (C. difficile, C. diff, Antibiotic Related Colitis):

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Clostridium Dificile Colitis »

Clostridium difficile is a gram-positive, anaerobic, spore-forming bacillus that is responsible for the development of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and colitis.

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