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C Difficile Early Symptoms

by
author image Carole Anne Tomlinson
Carole Anne Tomlinson is a registered nurse with experience in rehabilitation, nutrition, chemical dependency, diabetes and health problems related to the elderly. Tomlinson holds a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice and is presently working on her master's degree in nursing. Her screenplays have been viewed by Merchant Ivory, Angela Lansbury and Steven King's associates.
C Difficile Early Symptoms
Elderly woman looking outside. Photo Credit Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images

Overview

Known as clostridium difficile or C. difficile, this bacteria can cause a wide range of problems. These may be simple, such as diarrhea, or they may be life-threatening problems, such as colon inflammation. The Mayo Clinic states infections from C. difficile often occur in elderly people, particularly those in hospitals and nursing homes. In these cases, the infections often occur following antibiotic use. The rate of infection is on the rise in the United States.

Diarrhea and Cramps

When the C. difficile bacterium infects you, it typically causes your bowels to become unbalanced. With moderate and mild infections, you may experience watery diarrhea. You may need to defecate more than three times each day, and the condition may last more than two days, the Mayo Clinic reports. You also may feel mild tenderness and cramps in your abdominal area. If you have a more severe infection, your watery diarrhea may send you running to the bathroom 10 to 15 times in one day. You also may get severe pain and cramps in your abdomen. Severe diarrhea may cause your body to lose too much liquid and lead to dehydration.

Eating Problems

If you have a severe C. difficile infection, it can affect your eating habits. It may be hard to eat normally if you are forced into the bathroom as much as 15 times in a day, so you may lose your appetite. You also may feel queasiness or nausea if you have a severe infection. Because of these problems and the fact that you may be flushing your system because of the diarrhea, you may lose weight, the Mayo Clinic reports.

Stool Problems and Fever

C. difficile infections also may cause other problems with your system. Because it can induce inflammation in your colon—called colitis—or create patches of raw tissue that bleed—called pseudomenbranous colitis—you may see blood in your stools. There also may be a component of pus in your stools. The infection also may cause a fever, which may make you feel warm all over, make you sweat or give you the chills.

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