Clostridium difficile or C. diff., is a type of bacteria that lives in many people's intestines. For these people, C. diff. is part of the normal
balance of bacteria living in the intestines. Most people never experience any problems with C. diff. But if something throws off the balance
in your intestines, C. diff. may begin to grow out of control. The bacteria start to release toxins that attack the lining of the intestines.
Typical symptoms of a mild C. diff. infection include:
•Frequent, watery diarrhea (3 or more times each day for several days)
•Abdominal pain or tenderness
Symptoms of a more severe C. diff. infection include:
•Frequent, watery diarrhea (up to 15 times each day)
•Severe abdominal pain or tenderness
•Loss of appetite
•Low-grade fever of up to 100°F to 102°F
•Blood in the stool
•C. difficile bacteria are found throughout the environment — in soil, air, water, human and animal feces, and food products, such as processed meats. A small number of healthy people naturally carry the bacteria in their large intestine and don't have ill effects from the infection.
•C. difficile infection is most commonly associated with health care and recent antibiotic use, occurring in hospitals and other health care facilities where a much higher percentage of people carry the bacteria.