Clostridium difficile or C. Diff can infect the colon (large intestine) of patients who receive antibiotics (within 5-10 days of starting a course, possibly occurring as soon as the first day or up to 2 months later) it ranges from mild diarrhea to fatal colitis. It’s very difficult to treat, sometimes coming back after treatment with 1 in 6 patients getting it again in the subsequent 2-8 weeks. The most common treatment is taking one of these antibiotics: Vancomycin, Fidaxomicin, or more rarely Metronidazole.
Many people may have the bacteria present but it’s kept at bay by healthy gut microorganisms. When C. Diff is caused by a course of antibiotics, they simply knock too many of the “good guys” (normal flora) out of the running and leave the more resistant, bad bacteria to thrive. However, it is highly contagious and can be spread by not disinfecting properly.
There are many articles and studies regarding C. Diff and it’s link to antibiotics. Before my experience I didn’t know it was a risk or that you can ask your doctor if antibiotics are necessary, for a lower dose, or request one other than the four most often associated: Fluoroquinolones, Cephalosporins, Penicillins, Clindamycin.
Even mild cases can quickly become fatal, if you think you have C. Diff consult your Doctor right away. Especially if any symptoms are severe or persist for more than two days. Severe C. Difficile infection may cause severe intestinal inflammation, enlargement (toxic mega-colon), and sepsis requiring admittance to an ICU. In other cases hospitalization is sometimes necessary for dehydration.
- Diarrhea 3-15x a day
- Abdominal cramping/pain
- Swollen abdomen
- Rapid heart rate
- Body aches
- Blood/pus/mucous in stool
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Kidney failure
- Increased white blood cell count
A few days after my symptoms started I went to the doctor who ordered tests and told me to follow the B.R.A.T. (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) diet over the weekend. Results didn’t show anything except a high white blood cell count and there was no relief from any symptoms. I went back the next week and the doctor told me it could be C. Diff but the lab forgot to run that test! He ordered it again saying if it was confirmed treatment would be an antibiotic as I listed above. I awaited the results over the 2nd weekend and desperately began this approach, concerned about taking more of the very thing that got me into this mess. I just wanted symptoms under control. The first thing I did was down every pro-biotic I could find to try replenishing good gut microbiota, hopefully getting back to a healthy balance and fighting this off. I experienced some relief from symptoms and what felt like positive steps toward recovery/healing. Once confirmed positive, I told the doctor about the progress and he approved continuing with this approach so long as I kept seeing positive results.
NOTE: Following/doing some or everything listed isn’t guaranteed to get the results I did. It is not medical advice, anything you do is at your own risk, consult your doctor.
Restoring my gut flora and getting C. Diff under control
Probiotics are live microorganisms found in yogurt, other fermented foods, and dietary supplements. Many of them are the same or similar to the ones naturally living in our bodies. They help digest food, destroy disease-causing cells, produce vitamins and hence are helpful for your body’s immune response and help your body’s microorganisms stay or return to a healthy state.
- Yogurt- a bacterial fermentation of milk, the bacteria used to make yogurt are known as yogurt cultures. I mixed it up with different brands and some drinkable varieties, including some my mother-in-law made.
- Kombucha- a fermented black or green tea. I was lucky to have a steady supply from my mom who makes her own. There are so many brands and flavors to choose from these days, I picked some with other added benefits like ginger.
- Kimchi- consists of salted and fermented vegetables. My mom also makes fermented veggies, without the traditional spices found in most kimchi. Spicy foods can be upsetting to your digestive tract, so I ate this towards the end of my recovery.
- Supplements- I took a few in pill form and drinking powder that help replenish your good bacteria and help build/maintain healthy gut lining. I got mine from my chiropractor who regularly studies microbiome, you could check out an acupuncturists recommendations or any health food store.
- Eating- Wanting my body to focus on healing I didn’t eat anything that had ANY potential to upset my stomach or had even the mildest threat of food poisoning. Everything was cooked well and no leftovers.
- Juicing- I juiced fruits and veggies at home to get in extra nutrients without the bulk for my body to process.
- Hydrate- you can easily become dehydrated during this time. I only drank water and electrolytes for 2-3 weeks.
- Essential Oils- Internally- I took capsules 7-10 drops Thieves oil, 1-5 drops Oregano oil, 1-3 times a day. This is something I regularly take when I’m fighting any kind of sickness, my body is used to these strong oils and I know I don’t have any reaction to them. Topically- I rubbed a variety of oils on my abdomen including Thieves, PanAway, Peppermint, and DiGize from Young Living.
- Frequency- I’m sure machines have different codes, so follow the correct ones for yours. I altered between Colitis, Diarrhea, Nauseas, and Constipation as I saw fit.
- Infrared Light- I predominately used a handheld infrared light. I also sat in an infrared sauna for 15min intervals once I was past the worst of it. I was cautious because you may already be fighting dehydration as it is and your body is weakened. Ask your Doctor if you’re well enough and drink plenty of water.
- Rest- I was in bed most days and lost 10lbs during the first two weeks. Following that I was still quite weak and could only do light activities between rest for another 2-3 weeks until I felt my body had recovered for my full strength to return and pursue normal activities.
Tip: As your body begins to combat the symptoms of C. Diff you may become constipated. It seems counter intuitive to what you’re likely experiencing but be sure to have some Miralax or something of the sort on hand. It is not a stimulant laxative, but rather an osmotic laxative. It simply helps your body put some fluid back into the gut which hydrates, softens and helps move things along. I was told by my Gastroenterologist it is perfectly safe to use on a daily basis if needed.
Tip: With the diarrhea and constipation you’ll likely experience you may develop hemorrhoids. Don’t panic! Wipe with more gentle wet toilet paper, take frequent soaks in a bath tub or sitz bath pan, possibly use a donut cushion that relieves the pressure, and try using creams that help soothe it like Preparation-H. The more you can pamper your bum the better and more likely they will go away on their own.
Tip: If you’re having a lot of intestinal issues, it’s a good idea to take extra care of other things (down there). Washing well and always wiping front to back with clean tissue. Taking a few bladder supplements and drinking cranberry juice couldn’t hurt. E. Coli is a leading culprit for a UTI.Tags: Clostridium difficile, Facts, Gut, Health, Homeopathic, Natural