The words “colon infection” can cover a range different colon problems.
When used by doctors, however, it usually refers to a disorder caused by the Clostridium difficile bacteria – more commonly known as C. difficile or simply C diff.
Older adults who are living in a long term care facility or staying in a hospital are among those most likely to get a C. diff colon infection. This is due to the fact that they’re usually taking antibiotics.
In addition to killing harmful bacteria, antibiotics may also kill bacteria we need to process and digest our food efficiently. These helpful bacteria live in our intestines. When there are not enough helpful kinds of bacteria in the intestines, it’s easier for Clostridium difficile to get established. Once C. diff gets established, it causes an infection by producing a toxic substance that attacks the lining of the cells and intestines. The resulting inflammation causes abdominal pain and discomfort.
Sometimes a colon infection caused by C. diff is mild. If so, your infection may subside when you stop taking the antibiotic. In cases wher the colon infection is more severe, however, a different type of antibiotic may be necessary to kill C. diff.
The antibiotics that seem more likely to produce Clostridium difficile infections are fluoroquinolones, cephalosporins, clindamycin and penicillin.
There’s C. diff bacteria almost everywhere in nature: in plants, water, and dirt. This bacteria floats in the air and can also be found in the metabolic wastes of humans and animals. Therefore it prospers in area where there’s poor sanitation.
The best means of avoiding C. diff germs involves keeping surfaces in your environment clean and washing your hands often.If you’ve been taking antibiotics and want to protect yourself against a colon infection, there are two critical procedures you must follow. Wash your hands frequently and keep all surfaces in your environment clean. This is because C diff bacteria produce spores that can spread throughout a room and live for weeks or even months. By touching a place where C. diff bacteria is located, then touching your mouth, you could be starting a series of events that produces a colon infection.
Just have Clostridium difficile in your system doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be sick. But individuals who have C.. diff can certainly spread them to other people who will then develop a colon infection in turn.
In the last few decades, an increasing number of colon infections caused by C. difficile have been reported. There are reports that a new, more aggressive strain of C. diff has developed and is spreading. The new strain is more capable of resisting traditional medications.
It may take months for a colon infection to develop and symptoms to appear after C. difficile germs invade your digestive tract. Once symptoms begin to present themselves, you can expect one or more of the following.
Abdominal cramping, along with tenderness and discomfort in the lower digestive tract.
* Watery diarrhea that continues for more than two days, with at least ten trips to the bathroom daily.
* Inflammation in the colon (also referred to as colitis).
* It’s possible that you’ll see pieces or raw tissue in stools, along with blood and pus..
* Fever and nausea.
* Decreased appetite and sudden weight loss.
* Signs of dehydration
If you have these symptoms for 2-3 days, it’s time to call your doctor.
Once you’ve been diagnosed with a C. difficile colon infection, your physician will probably discontinue prescribing the antibiotic that brought on your problem. But even though this will reduce the severity of your symptoms, other treatment steps will probably be needed.
The good news is this. There are other antibiotics you can take that will kill Clostridium difficile without destroying the helpful bacteria in your system. Metronidazole and vancomycin are the ones that are most frequently prescribed. Side effects from both – including nausea and a bitter aftertaste – are possible with both. Be sure never to take metronidazole at the same time as you drink alcohol.
Certain probiotic supplements may also be useful in restoring the colon and intestines to normalcy. A type of yeast known as Saccharomyces boulardii can also help when combined with a range of other medications.
Surgery isn’t often needed. It is only done in the most severe cases.
Not all colon infection treatments mentioned above will work every time. When a colon infection returns, it’s usually because the Clostridium difficile bacteria was not completely removed in the initial treatment. It can also come back because the individual has been exposed to a different strain.