Symptoms and Signs of Clostridium Difficile
(C. difficile, C. diff)

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 7/2/2021

Doctor's Notes on Clostridium Difficile
(C. difficile, C. diff)

Clostridium difficile colitis is an infection of the colon by the bacterium, Clostridium difficile (C. difficile). Colitis refers to inflammation of the large intestine (colon). The inflammation of C. difficile colitis is due to its production of toxins that damage the lining of the colon. The most common cause of C. difficile colitis is treatment with antibiotics, because the antibiotics likely suppress the normal colonic bacteria that keep C. difficile from growing.

Signs and symptoms of C. difficile colitis are diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever. In severe cases, associated complications can include dehydration, rupture of the colon, and spread of the infection to the abdominal cavity or elsewhere in the body. Severe infection may be life-threatening.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.