C. Diff Is a Major Problem for IBD: Is Charcoal the Answer?
One of the worst things that can happen to someone with inflammatory bowel disease is getting a bowel infection that makes everything worse. After already having trouble digesting food and going to the bathroom adding on a nasty bug is the last thing anyone with IBD needs. Unfortunately, infections can still strike those who have chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's Disease.
C. diff can cause a nasty gastrointestinal infection
A common infection that causes terrible diarrhea is called Clostridium difficile, otherwise known as C. diff. This type of colitis is an infection with bacteria involving the large intestine. It causes a terrible smelling, watery diarrhea that can be so dehydrating and disabling that you can't even get out of bed.
Antibiotics could be to blame
How can someone get this type of infection? Usually, it happens to people who are taking antibiotics. Ironically, the antibiotics put you at a risk of getting an infection of this particular bug. That's because the normal bacteria that help you digest food usually wards off Clostridium difficile, which exists in everyone's digestive tract. However, a strong course of antibiotics can zap the healthy bacteria and leave us vulnerable to an overgrowth of this nasty bug. Clostridium difficile causes awful diarrhea because it releases a toxin. This toxin actually causes water to pour out of our bodies and into our stool.
C. diff affects almost half a million Americans each year
C. diff infection is pretty common. It's an embarrassing and uncomfortable condition that affects almost half a million people every year. Almost a fifth of those affected actually get recurrent infections too. Imagine suffering through that more than once! It's expensive to treat C. diff too. It's estimated that we spend almost 5 billion American dollars each year directly on the healthcare costs of treating Clostridium difficile diarrhea. Treating C. diff is fortunately not too complicated. However, the process can become extremely taxing on your body. Dehydration can become very severe and land you in the hospital since diarrhea can be so watery that you lose more water than you can consume. Usually, special antibiotics can help with getting rid of this type of infection.
There are steps you can take to try and prevent C. diff infection, such as limiting your antibiotic use and improving personal hygiene
It seems pretty horrible to get this infection, but know that there are steps you can take to help protect yourself. For one, practicing good hygiene can go a long way to help prevent C. diff infection. Always wash your hands, especially before meals, and clean all surfaces regularly. Secondly, make sure to only take antibiotics when you really need them, and if you need them, make sure you're taking the right one. Speak with your doctor about taking probiotics to counteract negative side effects of antibiotics.
Read on to learn more about how charcoal could be the answer to C.diff.