Antibiotic-associated Colitis -- C difficile
Antibiotic-associated colitis is an irritation in your large intestine caused by an infection. It happens when there is a disruption in the normal bacteria of your intestines after taking antibiotic medication allowing bad bacteria to take over. Colitis can lead to diarrhea and abdominal cramping. The infection is often very serious.
Your intestine is normally full of good bacteria. When you take antibiotics, they often kill all the good bacteria in your intestine. This creates a perfect home for bacteria called
. This particular bacteria is not killed by the antibiotics and begins to grow out of control. As it grows, the bacteria makes toxins. These toxins irritate the lining of the intestine and cause swelling, leading to pain and diarrhea.
Antibiotic-associated colitis is an irritation in your large intestine caused by an infection. It happens when there is a disruption in the normal bacteria of your intestines after taking antibiotic medication allowing bad bacteria to take over. Colitis can lead to
and abdominal cramping.
The infection is often very serious.
The Stomach, Liver, and Intestines Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:
- Blood tests
- Stool samples
to identify the toxins made by the bacteria
- CT scan
to see internal body structures
to see the colon lining with a thin, lighted tube inserted through the rectum
To reduce your chances of this condition, take these steps:
- Use antibiotics only when your doctor has confirmed that you have a bacterial infection.
- If you are prescribed antibiotics, ask your doctor if you should take a probiotic also. Probiotics may help protect the normal bacterial growth in your intestines.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water to prevent spreading the infection.
- Clean any affected surfaces with a disinfectant that contains bleach if someone has had an infection at home.
- If you are in a care facility, make sure any healthcare staff are washing their hands before coming in contact with you. Ask your visitors to wash their hands while visiting with you.
Precautions will be taken in the hospital if you have a
infection. This should include gloves and protective gowns for staff or visitors.
An infection with this bacteria is most common in older people, or people staying in hospitals or other care centers. Factors that increase your chance of having this condition include:
- Antibiotic use
- Severe illness
- Medications that decrease stomach acid production
- Surgery of the stomach or intestine
- Enteral feeding
Other stomach or intestine conditions such as
Symptoms may include:
- Loose stools
- Watery or mucousy diarrhea
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of apetite
- Rarely, nausea and
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
If you are diagnosed with this condition, follow your doctor's