Clostridium difficile Infection | Treatment

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How is C. diff. infection treated?

If you were taking an antibiotic when your symptoms started, your doctor will probably ask you to stop taking it. You may be watched for dehydration if you have had bouts of severe diarrhea. About 25% of patients show improvement 2 to 3 days after they stop taking the antibiotic that was causing C. diff. infection.

For more serious cases, your doctor may prescribe a 10-day dose of an antibiotic that has proved effective in treating C. diff. infection, such as metronidazole or vancomycin. You should improve after 72 hours of starting the medicine, although the diarrhea may return temporarily. In about 15% to 35% of cases, another round of antibiotics is needed.

Certain probiotics, or “good bacteria,” such as Saccharomyces boulardii, may be helpful against repeat C. diff. infection when taken along with the antibiotics your doctor prescribes. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.

Home care includes:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids to replace fluids your body has lost due to diarrhea
  • Temporarily avoiding milk products and foods that contain wheat flour (your digestive tract may be very sensitive to them for a few days) and high-fiber foods (such as fruits, corn and wheat bran)

If you have diarrhea and think it could be caused by C. diff., check with your doctor before using antidiarrhea medicine. These drugs could make your infection worse.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 02/11
Created: 08/09

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