Hey there. My husband has had recurring bouts with c-diff. Last year in March and April, he was in the hospital for 45 days, and wad diagnosed both with c-diff and crohn's. You MUST treat the c-diff - left untreated, it can kill.
The treatment that doctor can provide for c-diff is usually Flagyl if you can tolerate flagyl, or vancomycin. My husband was on both because he was also on 120 mgs of solumedrol at the time, and severely immuno-suppressed. Usually once you start antibiotics, you start feeling better in about
48 hours. Doesn't mean you'll have normal stools again, or that things will be back to normal, but you should start feeling better.
The usual course of treatment is antibiotics for 10-14 days. about
20-25% of people with c-diff have a recurrence of the infection, because c-diff is a spore forming bacteria. The antibiotics kill the active bacteria, but spores can linger around in the gut for an indeterminate (months to years) amount of time. So, the spores can wait for a more favourable environment, and hatch and cause the infection to surface again once the antibiotics are stopped. To prevent recurrence, be sure to take plenty of probiotics. Also, the yeast saccharomyces boulardii is thought to fight c-diff. It is sold under the name "Florastor". I would recommend taking those as well as lots of probiotics.
With c-diff, what my husband tolerates (for some definitions of tolerate
), is this: plain rice/pasta, baked chicken (just sprinkled with pepper), chicken noodle soup, plain bagels, eggs, and white bread. Your mileage may vary. Definitely do avoid sugars.
C-diff is a very hardy spore forming bacteria and the spores can survive on surfaces for 8 months or more. You need to use a cleaner with bleach in order to kill the spores. Also, you must use soap and water to rid yourself of the spores and the bacteria; the alcohol based cleansers don't cut it. Another thing I've taken to doing is cycling the washing machine with bleach every so often, to kill the spores.
Thankfully, c-diff is hard to pass on to the generally healthy population - normal hygiene practices should suffice for preventing infection. With the sick, elderly, the very young, and people on antibiotics, you should take extra precautions.
Also, as another poster said, there can be false negatives in the c-diff test. The usual c-diff test done by labs is to test for the toxins in the stool (toxins A & B). The toxins disintegrate quickly if they are not stored properly. So, to give the test the best chance of being accurate, if you cannot take the sample into the lab right away, put the sample on ice. Also, if you get a negative test, and continue to feel poorly, the rule of thumb is to get at least 3 negative tests before ruling out c-diff as a causative agent. But if the test is positive, it is positive - it means you have c-diff.
The antibiotics should do the trick, but if you do have problems, there are people who say they've had great results with fecal transfusions. My husband and I decided not to go this route until we've exhausted other options, but we haven't ruled it out. None of our doctors here will consider doing it, and so, we've left it as a last resort kinda thing.
I hope you get better really quick.
Husband with Crohn's
Diagnosed March 2003 Ulcerative Proctitis
Diagnosed March 2008 Crohn's & C-diff, hospitalized 45 days
Canasa, Lialda, Remicade, VSL#3, Florastor
In Remission since June 2008
Stopped vancomycin for c-diff Jan 1 2009
C-diff free, until Sep 2, 2009
Fighting c-diff, I guess for life