Symptoms of Clostridium Difficile Infection and Its Treatment

Clostridium Difficile Infection

When a patient develops diarrhea while on antibiotic therapy, or within a month of being on antibiotics, a diagnosis of Clostridium difficile infection must be considered. A patient may pick up the spore-forming bacteria after visiting hospitals, nursing homes, nurseries, clinics, and other care facilities. Once a person acquires the bacteria on environmental objects, such as linens or telephones, its anaerobic spores can lie dormant within the intestine, and become activated only after antibiotic therapy.

The pathogen belongs to a group of bacteria responsible for the notorious diseases such as botulism, tetanus, gas gangrene, and pseudomembraneous colitis. Clostridium difficile alone is the causative agent responsible for antibiotic-associated pseudomembranous enterocolitis, which is a severe form of diarrhea.

Clostridium Difficile Infection Symptoms

This infection usually occurs after administration of broad spectrum antibiotics.

These antibiotics tend to devoid the colon of its normal intestinal flora, allowing Clostridium to grow in abundance. This pathogen releases 2 toxins. The first causes diarrhea, while the second toxin can kill normal cells in the intestines. Although this infection can be best confirmed by sending stool samples to the laboratory for a Clostridium difficile toxin test, it can be characterized by the following debilitating symptoms:

  • Mild to severe diarrhea.
    Around 5 to 10 stools a day characterizes Clostridium difficile infection. Blood may be present in the stool. This can cause further complications such as electrolyte imbalance and dehydration.
  • Abdominal cramping and tenderness
  • Low to high grade fever
  • An examination by colonoscopy can reveal a red inflamed mucosa and areas involving white exudates called pseudomembranes on the surface of the large intestine. It can also reveal necrosis, or death of mucosal surface underneath these pseudomembranes.

Clostridium Difficile Infection Treatment

Below are some natural remedies that can help allay the symptoms of Clostridium difficile infection:

  • Withdrawal from initial antibiotic therapy may be done to eliminate the cause of infection.
  • Probiotics which contain acidophilus, bifidobacterium, saccharomyces boulardii, fructooligosaccharides, and lactobacillus may be consumed to nurture the growth of the intestine’s normal flora. Sources of probiotics, such as yoghurt, brewer’s yeast, and buttermilk can be taken daily on an empty stomach on divided doses.
  • Enemas may be done to cleanse the colon.
  • Essential oils are potent alternative which can be used for colitis. It supports the body’s natural pH and immune system.
  • Garlic and allicin extracts have been indicated in the treatment of different infections. These can support the intestine’s natural flora.