Pseudomembranous colitis is an infection of the colon often, but not always, caused by the bacterium Clostridium difficile. Still, the expression “C. diff colitis” is used almost interchangeably with the more proper term of pseudomembranous colitis. The illness is characterized by offensive-smelling diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain. It can be severe, causing toxic megacolon, and can be fatal.
Pseudomembranouscolitis is most often connected with the overgrowth of the bacteria Clostridium difficule, commonly known as C. difficile. In fewer than 10 percent of people who suffer from Pseudomembranouscolitis, different types of microorganism’s are involved.
The bacteria, C. difficile, is always present in the large intestine. Sometimes though, it overgrows in people when antibiotics are being taken. Too much of this bacteria, releases a harmful toxin in the colon. The colon ends up raw from the toxin and starts to bleed.
This disease is seen more so in adults than children. It is almost never seen in infants, since they have antibodies that naturally protect them from Pseudomembranouscolitis. Unfortunately, this form of Colitis can become life threatening. None the less, usually treatment for a majority of cases is successful.
Symptoms of Pseudomembranouscolitis vary for everyone. Common signs that you have this disease are bloody diarrhea, fever, pus in stools, and serious cramping. These symptoms can begin the same day you start an antibiotic. Sometimes though, they don’t occur until weeks after you finish with the antibiotic.
Any antibiotic can cause this form of Colitis. Though, Pseudomembranouscolitis occurs most often when the antibiotics are taken orally than from a vein. This disease can also occur from antibiotics given before a surgery.
Here is a list of antibiotics that are most often associated with this disease:
Also, people that have cancer and are taking chemotherapy, develop Pseudomembranouscolitis because of the bacteria imbalance in the intestines.
A few research studies have indicated that using probiotics may prevent this form of colitis. If probiotics are taken throughout the duration of antibiotics it may be affective. Even more so, when also taken before and after the prescribed antibiotic. Most doctors use the probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii if trying to prevent Pseudomembranouscolitis. Though, this drug is used in Europe more often than the United States.
There are a number of ways you can help sustain the treatment you are given from your doctor for Pseudomembranouscolitis. Drinking lots of water, apple juice, and tea is a way to help your self. Do not drink anything with caffeine, citrus drinks, or any carbonated beverages. These types of drinks, including alcohol, can make your symptoms ten times worse.
Eating a few small meals during the day is a great way to help. Small meals can help with normal bowel functions, unlike eating three large meals a day.
Eat foods such as toast, rice, and banana’s. You don’t want to eat anything that will increase diarrhea. So, avoid foods that are high in fat, such as fried foods, and avoid spicy foods.
To help prevent you from developing Pseudomembranouscolitis, make sure that you take antibiotics precisely as they are described. Be especially careful if you have had this disease once before. Make sure that you let your doctor if you have had Pseudomembranouscolitis before you take any antibiotics again.