Clostridium Difficile (C. Diff) Infections, Testing, and Symptoms

Clostridium Difficile (C. Diff) Infections, Testing, and Symptoms
Clostridium difficile (C. diff) is a bacterium that leads to inflammation and illness. People who spend large amounts of time in hospitals are at a high risk for the infection. C. diff spreads via spores, which are tiny microorganisms passed from surface to surface. When people do not wash their hands regularly and sufficiently, the germs spread to other surfaces, putting more and more people at risk. Without proper disinfection protocols, these germs can survive for days, weeks, or even up to five months on contaminated, inanimate objects. C. diff can stay dormant in some individuals but can cause an array of symptoms and major complications for others. To test for the bacterium, doctors require a stool sample. Antibiotics kill both bad and good bacteria in the gut, so when you take too many antibiotics (don't self-prescribe them!), healthy bacteria cannot prevent or fight against C. diff infection. This causes the infection to quickly become a major health risk. Patients with IBD already suffer weakened immune systems and are more susceptible to the contaminants of C. diff, which can further harm the intestines and bowels of anyone, especially IBD patients. Complications from C. diff almost always include diarrhea. Symptoms may also include abdominal cramps, fever, blood or mucus in the stool, distention, and nausea. More complications can arise from these symptoms: Nausea leads to a lack of appetite, distention can cause a tender abdomen, and diarrhea leads to dehydration. If you experience these symptoms, notify your healthcare team, as the complications of C. diff can be extreme. Toxic megacolon, in which the colon d
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