BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuPseudomembranous colitisAntibiotic-associated colitis; Colitis - pseudomembranous; Necrotizing colitis; C difficile - pseudomembranousPseudomembranous colitis refers to swelling or inflammation of the large intestine (colon) due to an overgrowth of Clostridioides difficile (C difficile) bacteria.This infection is a common cause of diarrhea after antibiotic use. Causes The C difficile bacteria normally lives in the intestine. However, too much of these bacteria may grow when you take antibiotics. The bacteria give off a strong toxin that causes inflammation and bleeding in the lining of the colon.Any antibiotic can cause this condition. The drugs responsible for the problem most of the time are ampicillin, clindamycin, fluoroquinolones, and cephalosporins.Health care providers in the hospital may pass this bacteria from one person to another.Pseudomembranous colitis is uncommon in children, and rare in infants. It is most often seen in people who are in the hospital. However, it is becoming more common in people who take antibiotics and are not in a hospital.Risk factors include:Older age Antibiotic use Use of medicines that weaken the immune system (such as chemotherapy medicines) Recent surgery History of pseudomembranous colitis History of ulcerative colitis and Crohn diseaseUlcerative colitisUlcerative colitis is a condition in which the lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum become inflamed. It is a form of inflammatory bowel ...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Crohn diseaseCrohn disease is a disease where parts of the digestive tract become inflamed. It most often involves the lower end of the small intestine and the be...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Symptoms Symptoms include:Abdominal cramps (mild to severe) Abdominal crampsAbdominal pain is pain that you feel anywhere between your chest and groin. This is often referred to as the stomach region or belly.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Bloody stools Bloody stoolsBlack or tarry stools with a foul smell are a sign of a problem in the upper digestive tract. It most often indicates that there is bleeding in the ...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Fever Urge to have a bowel movement Watery diarrhea (often 5 to 10 times per day) DiarrheaDiarrhea is when you pass loose or watery stool.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Exams and Tests The following tests may be done:Colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy ColonoscopyA colonoscopy is an exam that views the inside of the colon (large intestine) and rectum, using a tool called a colonoscope. The colonoscope has a sm...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Immunoassay for C difficile toxin in the stool C difficile toxinThe stool C difficile toxin test detects harmful substances produced by the bacterium Clostridioides difficile (C difficile). This infection is a co...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Newer stool tests such as PCR Treatment The antibiotic or other medicine causing the condition should be stopped. Metronidazole, vancomycin, or fidaxomicin are most often used to treat the problem, but other medicines may also be used.Electrolyte solutions or fluids given through a vein may be needed to treat dehydration due to diarrhea. In rare cases, surgery is needed to treat infections that get worse or do not respond to antibiotics.Electrolyte solutionsElectrolytes are minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge. Electrolytes affect how your body functions in many ways...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Long term antibiotics may be needed if the C difficile infection returns. A new treatment called fecal microbiota transplant ("stool transplant") has also been effective for infections that come back.Your provider may also suggest that you take probiotics if the infection returns. Outlook (Prognosis) The outlook is good in most cases, if there are no complications. However, up to 1 in 5 infections may return and need more treatment. Possible Complications Complications may include:Dehydration with electrolyte imbalance Perforation of (hole through) the colon Toxic megacolon Toxic megacolonToxic megacolon occurs when swelling and inflammation spread into the deeper layers of your colon. As a result, the colon stops working and widens. ...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Death When to Contact a Medical Professional Call your provider if you have the following symptoms:Any bloody stools (especially after taking antibiotics) Five or more episodes of diarrhea per day for more than 1 to 2 days Severe abdominal pain Signs of dehydration Prevention People who have had pseudomembranous colitis should tell their providers before taking antibiotics again. It is also very important to wash hands well to prevent passing the germ to other people. Alcohol sanitizers do not always work on C difficile.Open ReferencesReferencesGerding DN, Johnson S. Clostridial infections. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 280.Gerding DN, Young VB. Donskey CJ. Clostridiodes difficile (formerly Clostridium difficle) infection. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 243.Kelly CP, Khanna S. Antibiotic-associated diarrhea and clostridioides difficile infection. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 112.McDonald LC, Gerding DN, Johnson S, et al. Clinical practice guidelines for clostridium difficile Infection in adults and children: 2017 update by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA). Clin Infect Dis. 2018;66(7):987-994. PMID: 29562266 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29562266/.AllVideoImagesTogDigestive system - illustration The esophagus, stomach, large and small intestine, aided by the liver, gallbladder and pancreas convert the nutritive components of food into energy and break down the non-nutritive components into waste to be excreted.Digestive systemillustrationDigestive system organs - illustration The digestive system organs in the abdominal cavity include the liver, gallbladder, stomach, small intestine and large intestine.Digestive system organsillustrationDigestive system - illustration The esophagus, stomach, large and small intestine, aided by the liver, gallbladder and pancreas convert the nutritive components of food into energy and break down the non-nutritive components into waste to be excreted.Digestive systemillustrationDigestive system organs - illustration The digestive system organs in the abdominal cavity include the liver, gallbladder, stomach, small intestine and large intestine.Digestive system organsillustration Tests for Pseudomembranous colitis Stool C difficile toxinRelated Information Antibody(Special Topic)Toxic megacolon(Condition) Review Date: 4/30/2020 Reviewed By: Bradley J. Winston, MD, board certified in gastroenterology and hepatology, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- © 1997- All rights reserved. A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.Content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.