How long does it take for symptoms of c diff to show up if you have been exposed to it?

Not medical advice: Some people who have C. diff never become sick; however, they can still spread the infection. Illness usually develops during or shortly after a course of antibiotics, but signs and symptoms may not appear for weeks or even months afterward.

The average human digestive tract is home to as many as 1,000 species of microorganisms. Most of them are harmless, or even helpful, under normal circumstances. One of the worst offenders is a bacterium called Clostridium difficile (C. difficile, or C. diff). As the bacteria overgrow they release toxins that attack the lining of the intestines, causing a condition called Clostridium difficile colitis.

C. difficile infection can range from mild to life-threatening. Symptoms of mild cases include watery diarrhea, three or more times a day for several days, with abdominal pain or tenderness.

Symptoms of more severe C. diff infection include:

  • Watery diarrhea, up to 15 times each day
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Blood or pus in the stool
  • Weight loss

In some cases, C. diff infection can lead to a hole in the intestines, which can be fatal if not treated immediately.

C. diff can be diagnosed by stool specimens tested for the toxins. In some cases, a colonoscopy may be needed for diagnosis and more tests ordered.

The first step in treating C. difficile is to stop taking the antibiotic that triggered the infection, when possible. Depending on the severity of your infection, treatment may include antibiotics and surgery.

For more info, about C.diff, see: WedMD - C.diff; Mayo Clinic - C. difficile infection.

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Monday, January 26 2015