C diff infections

C diff infections, caused by bacteria known as Clostridium difficile, were once thought to be limited to hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities. Such infections can cause severe, occasionally life-threatening diarrhea.

What Do You Know About C Diff?

The bacterium was discovered as part of the normal intestinal flora in 1935. Shortly after that, doctors found that some patients developed serious diarrhea in reaction to antibiotic treatment. It wasn’t until 1974 that scientists identified C diff overgrowth as the culprit in such cases.

Clostridium bacteria can make spores that resist disinfection, making it a persistent problem in nursing homes and hospitals. Anything that moves from room to room, such as a wheelchair, can contribute to its spread (American Journal of Infection Control, online Nov. 21, 2018). Now, however, C diff is causing trouble everywhere.

C Diff Infections in the Community:

The CDC counted approximately 350,000 C diff infections in 2011. Nearly half of them had no connection to hospitals, and more than one third were not preceded by antibiotic use. In 2017, California researchers found that ten percent of emergency room patients with diarrhea had C diff.

Researchers speculate that changes in digestive microbiota may be making us more susceptible to this opportunistic infection. Presumably, it might be possible to reverse these changes with a diet full of fiber-rich vegetables and beans. That would mean eating less processed food.

Treating C Diff Infections:

The usual treatment of C diff is with antibiotics. However, when it recurs, doctors are turning more frequently to fecal matter transplants (Frontiers in Microbiology, Nov. 2, 2018). This procedure allows for the re-establishment of a healthy microbial balance in the large intestine. To learn more about this procedure, you may wish to listen to our interview with Dr. Michael Bretthauer, President of the Frontier Science Foundation in Brookline, MA. It is Show 1144: New Ways to Heal Your Digestive Tract, scheduled for broadcast 12/1/18.

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  1. Nancy B.

    I read some research recently linking xylitol use with c-diff infections. Most health-conscious people are familiar with this great tasting sugar substitute. Apparently this sugar alcohol lingers in the gut for long periods of time, feeding any microbes present. Check it out.

  2. kmm
    N.W. Ohio

    First had cdiff 5 years ago. A fecal transplant solved the problem in one day, after failure with standard antibiotic protocol. It has now come back and have had to take a heavy round of antibiotics. Am currently undergoing the usual vancomycin treatment. However, I will start looking for a fecal transplant tomorrow. Be aware, in many instances you have to have a donor who has been screened for any serious health problem that could be transferred via fecal matter. Often, that is not covered by insurance. However, this is becoming a much more accepted method of treatment. As a result, there are locations with frozen stool banks that have already been screened, and that will be included in the cost of the procedure.

  3. joe

    Had c diff in hospital, stroke, heart attack, and colonoscopy twice. No cause for c-diff identified. Had potassium for days (despite 75 years) after every solution was exhausted. 5 gallons of water was prescribed. Ordered to drink every drop. The c diff was cured and triple bypass carried out.

  4. Barb

    Does anyone have any experience with dealing with other types of infections after having C-diff? My C-diff had been in check for nearly 9 months, however I was told to avoid taking anti-biotics ever again or I might have a recurrence. Now I am battling a sinus/tooth infection that has been going on for 6 weeks. I don’t want to risk another bout with C-diff but how do I get rid of this infection?? Will herbal antibiotics, such as goldenseal and echinacea cause a C-diff relapse?

    • Ruth

      I have long avoided antibiotics by using traditional Chinese medicine with great success. I’m currently treating a sinus infection with a Chinese patent medicine. I recommend you find an experienced herbalist, often also an acupuncturist, and see if traditional Chinese medicine can help you.

    • Alice

      My reaction to a sinus infection is always for me to use irrigation pot, 5 times per day with sterile water and implements. Any infection in my mouth gets treated with a little oil of oregano in the area.

    • Fran
      Cortland, Oh

      I had a tooth infection that was not cured with antibiotics. I did eventually cure it on my own with several daily “swishings” of oregano oil in coconut oil.

    • ebm

      I had an abcessed tooth many years ago, and instead of the prescribed antibiotics, I took two or three garlic caps every two
      hours, colloidal silver, and oil of oregano (the best one) several times a day. In five days the infection was gone. Hard for the dentist to accept! I have cured staph in throat with garlic pills only before I learned about other helpers. It never returned.

  5. Hyacinth

    Dr. Stephanie Seneff has done much research on the problems that glyphosate (Roundup) cause when the foods we eat have been treated with the chemical prior to harvesting. Clostridium difficile is one of the gut bacteria found resistant to the chemical allowing it to survive in the gut. Other healthy bacteria in the gut are not so fortunate. This is a long and detailed resource – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945755/
    I would definitely eat organic foods. I had Clostridium difficile as an infection in the 90’s following back-to-back antibiotics that destroyed the healthy balance of gut microbes. And I added lots of probiotics to my diet to restore the balance.

  6. Sabrina
    San Diego

    My 90 yo mom got it too and I learned a lot from cdiffdiscuss.org
    This is a forum of people who have or still struggling with. Two important things I learned is about probiotics. The will introduce good bacteria back into the gut. Mustn’t be taken at the same time as Vanco as Vanco will kill good bacteria too. Next is cleanliness. Only a bleach solution left for 3 minutes on hard surface will kill the spores. And expect to do a lot of laundry, have lots of adult diapers and a lot of bleach on hand. Disinfect bathroom and kitchen 2 or 3 times a day. My mom also has a kidney catheter and on home dialysis so I did it more than that. Good luck and bless you both.

  7. Luke

    I had a c-diff years ago after a course of clindamycin. The infection represented as a sluffing(sic) off of intestinal lining in my stool. It was an alarming event.
    I had to think this through, and fast.
    So,… fast is what I did. My first response to any form of diarrhea is always to stop eating. My parents taught me this at a very early age.
    When I saw body parts being eliminated, my whole life focus was on the the question, “why?”
    After probably eight hours of internet research it became apparent that the clindamycin was the cause and I found myself on a clindamycin forum. Not one person of hundreds of entries by people from mostly the USA considered fasting. But they were desperate for resolution. C-dif imbalance is dangerous and the damage it does can be permanent. It may the cause in certain IBS and Crohns cases.
    I gave them my protocol for recovery. A year later I checked back and there were very few new entries. I would like to think they followed my scheme and self healed.
    Stop eating caloric food and fiber. I went plain water and tea with no sugar or milk.
    For sixty hours.
    Then I broke the fast with small quantities kefir over the next twelve hours slowly advancing into easily digested solids and liquids.
    I was on a full normal diet within 48 hours after the fast.

  8. Anna

    My mom came very close to dying from c-diff.
    A gastroenterologist was called in as a last resort.
    He put her on Align probiotics and acidophilus.
    This combination saved her life.
    Thank you,moms daughter

  9. Bridget

    This disease just about killed me. Five hospital stays for 19 days. No idea how I got it, two fecal transplants and thousands in medical bills. I never gained back any weight and my once thick curly hair is straight and thin. The doctors told me I almost died and trust me, I believed them.

  10. LaRae
    Mesa, AZ

    Could people be getting C Diff infections from our soil? Biosludge, aka toxic sewer waste is packaged and sold as soil fertilizer.

  11. Sylvia
    San Gabriel, California

    I had a severe cough that had lasted more than 4 months. In late April, 2018, I asked my doctor for for some relief and she prescribed Cefdinir which worked very well.
    A few weeks later I developed severe diarrhea that was so constant and immediate
    that I was unable to function outside my home. I thought I had some bug.
    My doctor asked for a sample and then the diagnosis was c diff, something I had never heard of. I had three courses of Vancocin.
    In researching this I became aware of fecal transplants but was told I did not qualify because this was my first occurrence.
    I am still dealing with frequentcy issues and if I have any social engagements i have to take Immodium because I don’t know if there will be a nearby bathroom.
    It is now the end of November. This has been my issue for 7 months.
    It’s all been very discouraging.

  12. C

    I remember reading years ago about a mother doing a fecal
    transplant herself with her son as the recipient from his sister. . She was suppose to have done this because after reading about this prosedure and showing her sons doctor the information and the doctor refusing to try it, she did it herself, ,successfully, as her son was in bad shape and not getting better.
    I would think that fecal transplants would be more effective between mother and children because it’s from the mother that the good bacteria are picked up in the first place when the baby goes through the birth canal.. so would using close family members make it more successful?

  13. c

    Fecal transplant. Such a simple and drug-free solution.
    We need more of these solutions.

  14. Susan
    North Carolina

    My mom has been battling this since June, and it is hellish. Her fecal transplant failed. She is on about her 5th round of vancomycin. What is next? Just giving up and letting her die? This is awful, and yet antibiotics are still passed out like candy, I believe especially in the veterinary profession. Do people think the bacteria in animals are different than the ones in humans? Resistant bacteria goes where it can live, whether in people or animals. Madness.

  15. Luke

    C. diff is commonly found on supermarket raw meat including antibiotic resistant NAP strains due to antibiotic use as growth stimulants; even while banned, factory farm animals are constantly sick from stress and abuse, living in overcrowded filthy conditions (literally in their feces–not just theirs but all others too– around the clock). So they are getting antibiotics even with legislation to ban them–which will accelerate their growth doing it in a round-about way to circumvent laws. Nobody talks about that because the meat industry is a $1.3 trillion industry a year in USA and meat has incredible lobbying power in congress. Not even The People’s Pharmacy makes any mention of this. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0740002012001700

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