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Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 393
   Posted 11/28/2007 9:09 AM (GMT -6)   
my daughter's c diff is negative, but i will always wonder if antibiotics kicked off the uc. she was on and off several antibiotics las year for a sinus infection and congestion that kept coming back. after that she had her first bout of diarreah
that lasted a few weeks, and last month bgan a new episode of bloody d that led to her diagnosis.
my question is do you think this was a link? i know it's water under the bridge but i am trying to find a common thread?
Mom to 19 year old daughter diagnosed 11/07.

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 486
   Posted 11/28/2007 9:42 AM (GMT -6)   
As far as I know -- in my completely inexpert knowledge -- antibiotics can cause people without UC to develop colitis... but that's not the same as the chronic disease of UC.

Can someone else weigh in and tell me if that's correct?

Some antibiotics can wreak havoc on UCers. I was thrown into a horrendous flare for months from IV antibiotics for an infection. But that would be a case where you already have the disease and the antibiotics cause it to come out of remission.

Doctors have told me that no one knows what causes UC. But, I would think that it's possible that someone who was going to develop UC eventually could be triggered into symptoms by frequent antibiotics. That's just a completely non-scientific intution. (How's that for a disclaimer.)

I know that you mentioned before that your daughter is hoping the disease will disappear as quickly as it came. You'll never find a doctor who will tell you that it can go away, although there are stories of people who have been in remission for many years. So perhaps some cautious optimism is the way to go?
UC for the last ten years
Current Meds: 6MP
Past Meds: You name it; I've tried it.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 5698
   Posted 11/28/2007 9:51 AM (GMT -6)   
Others have reported that their UC emerged after using antibiotics. It's important to note that whether it was antibiotics, quitting smoking, or any other coincidental incident, one has to have a genetic predisposition to developing UC. While your daughter's UC may have been kicked into gear with the use of the antibiotic, she would have developed UC anyway. I used antibiotics frequently as a teen and in my twenties. However, the use of antibiotics did not trigger my UC. I think you can drive yourself literally crazy trying to figure this disease out!

dx proctitis in 1987
dx UC in 1991, was stable until 1998
1998 started prednisone, asacol, pentasa, nortriptylene, ativan, 6MP, rowasa enemas and suppositories, hydrocortisone enemas, tried the SCD diet, being a vegetarian, omega 3s, flax, pranic healing, yoga, acupuncture, probiotics
2000 lost all my B-12 stores and became anemic
2001 opted for j-pouch surgery- now living life med-free

Old Hat
Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 5186
   Posted 11/28/2007 10:16 AM (GMT -6)   
I feel certain that antibiotics can trigger UC in people who are genetically predisposed. In addition to or because of bacterial changes the intestinal mucosa is damaged, leading to chronic inflammation. I say this due to the fact that I developed UC a few years after treatment with 3 different antibiotics for recurrent tonsillitis in my early twenties. But, as Julee70 writes, it does no good to torture yourself trying to figure out what went wrong to harm your daughter; it's best to focus on controlling her symptoms in the most effective and reasonable way. Keep telling yourself that there are worse ailments/afflictions to cope with than UC, things that blind or paralyze, etc. I know a guy who became ill with Crohn's Disease while in dental school; he got it under control, finished school & training, & went on to a successful professional career. He had ups & downs, including need for surgery at one point, but he overcame the obstacles. Life is a struggle for many people. That's just the way things are, not always what we want for ourselves or our loved ones. / Old Hat (nearly 30 yrs with left-sided UC; currently on 3 Colazal daily; seem to be back in remission)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 2204
   Posted 11/28/2007 10:17 AM (GMT -6)   
Broad spectrum antibiotics also indescriminately kill off both good and bad gut bacteria, resulting in dysbiosis. Restoring good gut flora with probiotics can help turn symptoms around.
Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis spring 1999
Therapeutic dose sulfasalazine, back on a pred taper for first flare in years. Down to 10 mg and feeling much better.
Probiotics, l-glutamine and fish oil caps. George's aloe vera juice and Mucosaheal.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 640
   Posted 11/28/2007 11:35 AM (GMT -6)   
Absolutely, antibiotics can cause c-diff, and it is the most likely culprit in otherwise healthy individuals. When I was diagnosed with c-diff infection it was only because I insisted to my doc that he test for it. After the flex sig, he diagnosed me with ulcerative colitis (for the 1st time in my life). He was sure I did not have c-diff. He was wrong.

Once I got rid of the c-diff (I believe), I was then diagnosed with UC a year later. I'm unsure if my underlying but undiagnosed UC caused me to be a particular candidate for c-diff, or if the c-diff further insulted my intestinal tract and caused the UC to start to become symptomatic. In any case, I now have UC and take azathioprine daily to keep it under control.

I got c-diff from taking cipro for two days. Incredible bad luck, huh?

C-diff tests often report a false negative. You cannot get a false positive c-diff test.

I've had two other relatives (an aunt and my nephew) develop c-diff from antibiotics, one from Clindamycin and one from Augmentin.

What have they treated the c-diff with? Be diligent and make sure your daughter gets adequate treatment to get rid of it, which can be a challenge. She may come out of that with no further problems, as my aunt and nephew did (albeit having to take at least two courses of Flagyl and in my nephew's case, then Vancomycin).

Good luck to you and your daughter!

Sporadic proctitis since about 1985. Mother had J-pouch surgery 1983.
DX'd with clostridium difficile in 2000. Pred, two courses of Flagyl, then Vancomycin finally got rid of it. 2001 colonoscopy dx'd left-sided UC. . Treated with prednisone, Rowasa, Asacol. Asacol not working, switched to Imuran. Three small flares since in 2002, 2005, and 2007, brought under control with steroid and Rowasa enemas. Lap Chole performed October 26, 2007, after gall bladder attack in June, '07.
Daily meds: 100 mg Azathioprine and 225 mg Effexor XR (for chronic, longstanding depression), many vitamins and Primadophilus Reuteri

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 402
   Posted 11/28/2007 12:43 PM (GMT -6)   
I developed UC after a very bad urinary tract infection. It took three rounds of high-powered antibiotics to get rid of it. After doing the research and speaking with my Dr. about it, I learned that it is very common for people with the predisposition to UC or Crohn's to develop their disease after a serious infection. I am not a Dr., but it is my understanding that it is more the disruption to the immune system caused by the infection itself that causes the UC to appear... not necessarily the antibiotics. Antibiotics can induce a certain type of colitis, but not ulcerative colitis. UC is an auto-immune disorder that is a stem cell issue that is triggered by some sort of disruption to the immune system.
Current Medications:
- Asacol (4 pills, 2x per day)
- Rowasa (1 enema daily, as needed)
- Folic Acid (1 mg, 1x per day)
- Calcium (600 mg, 2x per day)
- Prenatal Vitamin (1x per day)

Elite Member

Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 30828
   Posted 11/28/2007 1:22 PM (GMT -6)   
I think it's both Expecting. Whatever has caused the immune system to go into "tilt" mode...reacting and reacting and reacting to chronic infections tires the response to be discriminating. I had chronic lung infections before my asthma became apparent/full-blown in my adult years...and it was during that time that my doc wasn't wanting me to use fighting it off was a long process... It was a tough time....although it runs strongly in my family, I look back and see I already showed some symptoms during colds (My UC is both intrinsic/cough variant and extrinsic).

Antibiotics for many can normally cause increased activity in the bowel..and can definitely disrupt the protective bacteria hence causing destruction in the mucosal layer. If the immune response again is to the point of becoming indiscriminating and the person prone to autoimmune response..the bowel will start the process...but again, the predisposition has to be there. For some it might be a process that doesn't cause UC but can cause another autoimmune response which may eventually stop after an extended period of time...for others, UC (or CD) is the forever friend who brings others along for the perpetual party.

I do think that proper diagnosis is a huge factor....there are some who have Microscopic Colitis and don't know it because it's either in conjunction with UC or is mimicing it.

Whatever the sucks.


*Heather*Status:mini flare June 23* 6asacol daily+ Salofalk (tapered every 4th night)
~diagnosed January 1989 UC (proctosigmoiditis)
~5ASA: Asacol + Salofalk enemas (increase for flares tapered to maintenance)
~Bentylol (dicyclomine) 20mg as needed
~Probiotic 2 (Natural Factors Protec) + 1 (Primadophilus Reuteri) at bedtime
~Natural Factors Multi Digestive Enzymes with supper
~Ranitidine,Pariet (reflux) Effexor XR 75mg;  Pulmicort/Airomir (asthma)
~URSO for PSC (or PBC) 500mg X 2 daily (LFTs back to NORMAL!!)
My doc's logic.. "TREAT (FROM)BOTH ENDS"  worth it !!!

Post Edited (quincy) : 11/28/2007 11:23:47 AM (GMT-7)

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