Difficile Colitis

What is C. Difficile Colitis?

According to experts, C. difficile colitis is an infection that is caused by a type of bacteria called Clostridium difficile. C. difficile colitis can vary in severity; in some cases, it causes a bout of diarrhea, but sometimes, it can lead to a serious colon infection, which can be life-threatening.

Symptoms of C. Difficile Colitis

C. difficile colitis can cause a variety of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. Typically, symptoms begin five to 10 days after a person starts using an antibiotic medication, but they can appear as soon as a day after, or as long as two months after beginning an antibiotic.

In mild to moderate cases, C. difficile colitis symptoms include the following:

  • Mild abdominal cramps
  • Tenderness in the abdomen
  • Watery diarrhea at least three times per day for two or more days

In severe cases, symptoms of C. difficile colitis include:

  • Severe pain and cramping in the abdomen
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Watery diarrhea occurring as many as 10-15 times daily
  • Blood or pus in the stool
  • Lack of appetite
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Elevated white blood cell count
  • C. difficile colitis can even cause life-threatening complications, such as kidney failure, enlarged colon, severe intestinal inflammation, and sepsis.

Causes of C. Difficile Colitis

There are several potential causes of C. difficile colitis, but one common cause of this condition is antibiotic use. When a person uses antibiotics, these medications kill some of the healthy bacteria found in the body, which can cause C. difficile to grow quickly.

Other risk factors for C. difficile colitis include:

  • Staying in a healthcare facility, such as a hospital or nursing home
  • Having abdominal surgery
  • Having a weakened immune system
  • Having serious medical conditions like colorectal cancer or inflammatory bowel disease
  • Being age 65 or older
  • Having had C. difficile colitis in the past
  • How is C. Difficile Colitis Treated?

If you think you may have C. difficile colitis, it is important to seek treatment, because this condition can cause complications such as kidney failure, bowel perforation, and even death if left untreated.

The first part of treatment for C. difficile colitis is to stop taking the antibiotic that triggered the infection. While it may seem counterintuitive, treatment for C. difficile colitis usually involves taking another antibiotic.

In severe cases of C. difficile colitis, surgery may be necessary to remove the unhealthy portion of the colon. If C. difficile colitis is recurring, a doctor may perform a procedure called fecal microbiota transplant, in which stool from a healthy donor is implanted in an infected colon.

Treatment is important to prevent complications from C. difficile colitis, so you should seek medical care promptly if you have had watery diarrhea three or more times per day for two days or symptoms like bloody stool or severe abdominal cramping.

Applicable Procedures

Colonoscopy

Can you die from C. difficile colitis?

In some cases, C. difficile colitis is mild and causes a quick bout of diarrhea. Other times, it is severe and can cause life-threatening complications like kidney failure, enlarged colon, or sepsis.

Is treatment necessary for C. difficile colitis?

Since C. difficile colitis can lead to life threatening complications in some cases, it is important to seek treatment if you think you have symptoms of this condition. If you have had watery diarrhea for two days, you should seek medical care as soon as possible.

How is C. difficile colitis treated?

The first line of treatment for C. difficile colitis is typically an antibiotic. If symptoms are serious, you may need surgery to remove part of the colon, or a fecal microbiota transplant, in which you receive stool from a healthy donor to be implanted into your colon.

Common Symptoms

  • “I had watery diarrhea multiple times per day for days on end.”
  • “About a week after taking an antibiotic for an ear infection, I noticed that my stomach was tender, and I started to have diarrhea repeatedly throughout the day.”
  • “After I went through a course of antibiotics, I suddenly developed severe cramps and stomach pain, and I was having diarrhea hourly throughout the day.”

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What Our Patients Are Saying

I’ve been a patient of Dr. Weber for almost a decade. My husband for more than & it was he who recommended Dr. Weber. He’s knowledgeable & well experienced in his field. Plus he’s an all around kind & nice guy. And you’d like how the office & tech staff are trained to run the operation of this practice. Efficient, patient and helpful! I’d feel very comfortable recommending this practice.

Vicki M.

I had a great time. Everyone was very friendly and professional. One nurse said I had nice eyes, which really helped my self esteem. Dr. Willie was fantastic. His concern about having magenta ink for the printer really shows what a caring man he is. The pictures turned out great. I framed them and hung them up on my wall at home. But, seriously the experience was pleasant. Thank you to everyone involved.

Terry M.

Lord knows having a colonoscopy is zero fun. The prep nearly did me in. But after arriving at suite 270 every single person was pleasant and efficient. The attention to cleanliness in the office is very apparent and appreciated. Every employee introduced themselves by name, apologized for an IV that took two tries and made sure I was as comfortable as can be before I was ready to leave. However, I’m going to enjoy every minute of the five years before I need to return!

Marie C.

I have been here several times and have always been treated great. The receptionist are so kind and the nurses are wonderful so is the anesthesia person are so kind and answers any concerns you might have. My Dr Bologna is awesome. This is the place to go if you need endoscopy or colonoscopy. Thank all the staff for being so kind

Debbie A.

Our Doctors

We’re proud of our team here at Digestive Health Institute. Our health care providers include some of the very best colorectal surgeons, gastroenterologists and physician assistants. To learn more about our qualified team of specialists, please visit our providers page.

Anezi E. Bakken MD, MS

Sante D. Bologna MD, FACP

M. Emin Donat MD, FRCPC

Ronald Fogel MDCM, MHSA

Freeha Khan MD

Partha S. Nandi

Leonard G. Quallich III MD

Aditi Saxena MD

Jack Tocco DO

John R. Weber MD

Richard T. Wille MD

FAQs

What happens during my first visit?
If you are a new patient, you can expect to have a complete physical exam. You will also be asked detailed questions about your current problems and your past medical history, your current medications, allergies, your family history and other pertinent medical information. If you are taking medications, please bring a completed medical history form with you to your appointment. Once the physician has reviewed your medical information and completed the physical examination, a plan of care will be developed. You may need to be seen again in the office, be referred back to your family physician for follow-up care, or require additional testing. If additional tests are needed, we will assist you in scheduling these tests.
What if I need to schedule an endoscopic procedure?

An endoscopic procedure allows the physician to visualize a part of your gastrointestinal tract with a special instrument called an endoscope. If your family physician has ordered testing, you will be contacted by telephone by one of our staff members. If a physician orders testing and you are in the office, the procedure can generally be scheduled during the course of your visit. You will be given a date, time, and location for the test, as well as written instructions telling you how to prepare for the test. If you have any questions about the procedure, please feel free to ask one of our staff members or the physician.

How do I get test results?

We ask that you wait 10 to 14 days before contacting us for results. Often results come from several different sources. This information needs to be compiled and reviewed by your physician before you can be appropriately advised. 

What insurances do you accept?

We accept payment from most insurance companies including Medicare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Blue Care Network, Physicians Health Plan, Cofinity, Sparrow Professional Health Network, Medicaid, McLaren, Health Plus, and several others. Accepted insurances are subject to change at any time without notice.

If your insurance requires an authorization from your primary care physician, you may be asked to assist us in obtaining this authorization.

All patients are responsible for all copays and deductibles at the time of service.

If you have any questions regarding your benefits or insurance coverage, please contact our Billing Department at 248-844-9710.

What if I need to contact the doctor?

To contact your doctor during business hours please call our main number 248-844-9710. If you have an urgent need to speak with the doctor after hours, you will be rerouted to our after hours answering service, and your doctor will be paged. In the case of a medical emergency please proceed directly to the nearest hospital emergency room.

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