What Works (Main Page)

I had symptoms all week following an appendectomy. And for two years, I had multiple relapses back into the terrible diarrhea, fevers, and cramps.

My goal is to quickly show others what DID work, because it took so long to get answers that worked for me.

Please seek a qualified physician for all of your medical needs and questions. I’m not a physician, I’m just a biochemistry dude sharing my story of having C Diff.

First, get yourself better.*

In a nutshell, here is what worked for me and many others:

  1. Metronidazole (Flagyl) – Best antiobiotic to fight C Diff
  2. Vancomycin – An antibiotic to use if Metronidazole doesn’t work
  3. Fidaxomicin (difimicin or DIFICID) – Possibly the best antibiotic specifically for CDiff [1]
  4. Probiotics [2]
    1. Saccharomyces Boulardii (Florastor) – Yeast probiotic used with and after Metronidazole or Vancomycin.
    2. Lactobacillus GG (Culturelle) – Bacteria probiotic used with and after Metronidazole or Vancomycin.
    3. Lactobacillus Acidophilus & Lactobacillus Casei, others likely
  5. Fecal Transplants – Yes, very gross, possibly dangerous, but very effective…enema from a healthy poop donor [3]

There are certainly other treatments available from as extreme as a fecal transplant to other less effective ways to deal with symptoms. You’ll want to learn as much as you can about treatments and risks. To start learning, see C Diff or My Case History. Remember, no one cares about your health as much as you do.

Second
, join us on the crusade to prevent C Diff.

Most of the spread is in healthcare settings. C Diff is spread via the fecal-oral route mostly. C Diff spores last a long time if not killed with bleach or dry heat. Why is it that the very place we go to get well, we end up getting infected with one of the worst bacterias?

I am scared to death that I would ever have to be admitted to a hospital again! How can we start cleaning our healthcare institutions of C Diff and other superbugs? Comments please!

* Please do not use this site to diagnose and/or treat any disease or suspected disease. Please seek a qualified physician for all of your medical needs and questions. I’m not a physician, I’m just sharing my story regarding C Diff.
 
[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3926343/
[2] https://www.dovepress.com/getfile.php?fileID=29096 (pdf)
[3] http://thefecaltransplantfoundation.org/providers-trials/

Not what you were hoping to find here?

Please comment below what you’d like to see more  …please?
I’d love to help C Diff sufferers and family.  (it can be anonymous and 1-button click to submit)

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  • Pauline Dempsey -

    I have C Difficil gone to Emerge July 9 to July 20.stayed in hospital I was so sick diarrhea, blood in stools. Vomiting could not eat drink or take my meds. I was in Quarantine. They change all my meds withdrawal. They gave me viciposin, Remicade, Flacil antibiotics steroids. Very difficult. Today I had my second round then gain in a month then every 8 weeks. Good so far special diet sw a dietitian a lot of support. And was explain everything that went on.

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  • Candice P. -

    I am a Registered Nurse and now on my second time around with C Diff. I am pretty well convinced that most medical providers don’t understand that each case can be very different indeed. Some will feel just because you don’t have the classic diarrhea that you probably don’t have C Diff or that you haven’t run a temp so you can’t have it, or maybe you just have a case of IBS. I was always aware of the misuse of antibiotics and have watched for years the sloppy way hospitals “clean” between patients, not to mention the good old hand washing after touching patients or poor precautions with handling contamination gone astray. What to do about it is probably getting out of hand. Each time and each case seems to be worse than the other. Like my Gastroenterologist said to me “you’re good until the next time you take an antibiotic”. My case started with an overkill of antibiotics I received following a post surgical infection (go figure). My hunch was right because I experienced many of the complaints people have and my knowledge of the body of course. When you get C Diff it can be from of course the antibiotics, compromised immune system, or just some of the careless care I see at your local hospital. I just wish so hard people who worked in a care giving institution gave some thought to how its spread right down to making sure housekeeping understands the English language, good hand washing, good contamination, just Universal Precautions! Don’t ask for antibiotics for stupid stuff ! I see this will mutate into an awful mess pretty soon!

  • jackie e -

    I just got on the web to research how long I would feel this lethargic after having been dx w/ c-diff 2 weeks ago. I am crying and scared. I was dx w/ c-diff following an an appendicitis. I was immediately put on vanco and flagyl at the hospital. After 3 days my internist let me go home. Unfortunately, Walgreens filled my vanco at 125mg/6 hours instead of 250 mg/6 hours. I ended up in the ER again unable to control my vommitting or diahrea. The ER doc dismissed me as going through withdrawals(at the time of my surgery, I had been off a fentanyl patch for 2 weeks). I told him I was not withdrawing and begged him not to send me home. After 24mg of zofran and 75 mg of phenergen and I am not sure how many mg of reglan, he sent me home. The next day I felt a little better and managed not to vommit. However, on Sunday, the vommittting and diahrea were back with a venegance. I was scared to go back to the ER and so I medicated myself with zofran, phenergan and reglan. On Monday I was feeling good enough to take a closer look at my vanco. It was at that point, that I realized something was wrong with my # of capsules and the number of days I was told to take it. Since I have been on the correct dose, I haven’t thrown up, but still continue to have loose bowel movements and feel totally wiped out.
    I am done with my prescription on Wednesday, and I am dreading it! I am scared!

  • DLP -

    Fecal transplant is what works…….instantly. It will save your life. Get over the grossness of it and do it! It saved mine. Its easy and can be done at home in a few minutes. Do it. Its not as bad as it seems….especially when you are permanently healthy again.

  • Heather -

    I started getting “sick” in Jan (2011) having had 3 antibiotics for different things between Jan and May – undiagnosed stomach bacterial something, sinus infection, and tooth extraction. By the end of May (2011) I was so sick and weak and tired and going to bathroom anywhere from 10-15 times a day! Awful. Not to mention as single mom difficult to work, juggle kid’s sport, etc…End out so sick (as working mom don’t want to acknowledge you are really that sick) was hospitalized for like 10 days and was deathly ill!! Flagyl, Vanco…having what I think is 3rd relapse and of course Dr’s want to re-test stool sample (I know it is happening again because can barely get through a week without needing to sleep a whole day! and still going a lot)…been researching and think need more than 10-14 days with next round Vanco (have been doing Florastor and “Pearls IC” which is kinda like Culturelle but think I might add Culturelle too?). Have never been this sick in my life – it is AWFUL! Thanks for all the suggestions.

  • Richard Glasgow -

    I was one of those who thought it wouldn’t happen to me. I am a 39 year old, otherwise healthy male. I visited the dentist approx. 8 weeks ago and had an extraction. The penicillin didn’t defeat the infection, so Cleocin was prescribed, twice. Finally the infection disappeared and I felt normal, tho toothless! Four weeks ago, towards the end of June, I began to feel abdominal pain, a burning, cramping pain that persisted and got worse with time. Finally, on Friday 24th June, I gave in and visited the E.R. Appendicitis was confirmed and I was due for sugery that evening. On the morning of Saturday 25th June I felt ok. Not too sore I thought for just having surgery. By noon the fun started. My BP bottomed out, I passed out and started feeling very weak thereafter. Nurses were ordered to stay with me, until I felt the need for a bowel movement. It was urgent. In a hurry we untangled me from all the iv cords, etc. I remember the pain, and smell. It’s like the smell stays with you. I even smell it in the car air con and in other unusual places. I spent 10 days in the hospital after that surgery. early on the doctors came in to visit whilst I was stuck on the kommode and instantly they ordered a c diff test. It came back positive and I was prescribed Flagyl. 500mg 3x day. The inflammation caused internal bleeding around some of the incisions which to date still need to be absorbed. By the 4th day on Flagyl, the frequency of the bowel movements reduced. I was able to eat and hold it for some time before needing to ‘go’, but this was still 5 or 6 times per day compared to the 20 + times I was going. By the time I was released, I was going once per day. It was neither watery or solid. The smell had disappeared, but the pain and lethargy were still present. I was severely dehydrated and still needed potassium supplements. That was 14 days ago nearly, and I am still taking flagyl. I have found the flagyl holds off the c diff for a few days, and then it tries to come back. Even on flagyl, I have found that every 3 or 4 days I get severe pain with the very loose bowel movements. Night sweats are bad, and the chills feel like I’m freezing to death. I am so very tired all of the time. I have been prescribed Vancomycin for 14 days to start immediately, with no break from the Flagyl. I have been taking Florastor and Activia daily. I am wondering if I should risk waiting to start the Vancomycin, and see if the symptoms I now feel are a side effect of the Flagyl, and then start the Vancomycin if the obvious symptoms of C Diff return..you know, the smelly watery BM’s and dehydration. am i on a roll combating the C diff and should just take the Vanco?
    This is one nasty bug. I believe there is something to pulse treatment, and tapering. The antibiotics are still killing good flora in the gut, and tapering the treatment when coming off should enable us to increase the good flora whilst the meds are reducing, and then pulse the meds until finally stopping them. I also believe a person needs 21 days of Flagyl or Vancomycin continuously before tapering off. 10 days is not long enough as the spores reactivate. I really do not know what to expect from now on…..I feel so detached from everything now..it’s otherwordly.

  • Michelle -

    I recently finished a grueling course of treatment for an exposure to Hepatitis C (successful so far) and the treatment all but destroyed my immune system. A doctor gave me an antibiotic to treat a fever he said was caused by pneumonia yet I had no respiratory problems.
    About 3 weeks later my temperature was 104, I was severely dehydrated and had no potassium in me. In due course, it was hospital, heart monitor, IVs for 4 days and a months worth of flagyl.
    It seemed to work until about a week after I stopped the meds.
    Today I’m at 102 and had to leave work, I’ll see my doctor tomorrow.
    I HATE this. I work in a jail, I am the only woman in my department and I have to find a way to be at work every day, all day……
    Do these items work together?
    Saccharomyces Boulardii (Florastor) – Yeast probiotic used with and after Metronidazole or Vancomycin.
    Lactobacillus GG (Culturelle) – Bacteria probiotic used with and after Metronidazole or Vancomycin.
    DanActive (Dannon) – Yogurt drink that has a study suggesting it prevented C Diff.
    I would also like to know any foods I should avoid.
    Thanks for being here………………..I haven’t discussed all of this with anyone, ever.

  • Patricia -

    I never heard of C-diff and, of course, never knew anyone who had it.
    I had a UTI and was given ciprofloxacin for 10 days. Three days after I finished the antibiotic I started having bouts of diarrhea, wild, bold, uncontrollable and non-stop. I thought it was a recurrence from my colon cancer surgery. I had diarrhea for months after the surgery.
    Monday and Tuesday I was in bed and could not make it 20 feet to the bathroom. I put on diapers and the diarrhea was still non-stop on Wednesday so I called my PCP. Unfortunately the message did not reach her desk. About 4:30 I called my oncologist who did the colon cancer surgery and learned he was on vacation. His associate told me to go to his office the next day. I was sent to the hospital, put in isolation and stayed for 11 days. I was put on Flagyl, and Vancomycin. I was kept on a liquid diet and practically starved. The diarrhea would not stop and of course I had too many
    tests while hospitalized.
    I am on my fourth prescription of vancomycin and still take it 4 times a day. I still have BM’s 17 to 20 times a day, not diarrhea but
    close as it could be. I am so so tired of this bacterial infection and having to stay inside. My husband and I were very careful putting bedpads on the floors from the bed to the bathroom. He changed them immediately if they became soiled and tried to keep everything CLEAN. He wore rubber gloves when cleaning and thankfully he did not get infected.
    I seem to get nowhere with my Doctor, he feels that what
    I have now is not from the C-diff but from the colon surgery.
    He said it could last forever. He is just not encouraging or compassionate at all. I don’t feel I get all the answers I want.
    He did the surgery and I think he feels his job is finished.
    There, I vented, finally. The C-diff began the end of October and
    as soon as the “lab” cultures my last stool sample I will know if
    it’s gone or not. I am very disheartened to read how many of you have gotten re-infected. Did they think it was from the home or from
    your own body? This is a horrible infection. We have used Clorox wipes on doorknobs, TV remotes, light switches, lamp switches, computer buttons and keyboards and most anything that I touch.
    If I sound a little OCD then you have to know how awful this was.
    I want to be able to visit my only child who is being treated for ovarian cancer. I feel as though I’ve spent the last two years being ill.

  • Natasha -

    I have my interesting experience that led to a c. diff infection. It started with me coming back from a trip to Europe and four days later I have started having diarrhea, cramps, hot and cold flashes, etc. My husband drove me to the ER, who diagnosed me with a virus and a mild dehydration. Two weeks later, after 4 visits to a family practice, an ultra sound and a study to rule our gallbladder problems, I was finally told to give a stool sample. The sample came back positive with some “bacillus” type of bacteria that was not readily identified and had to go to the Center for Disease Control. In the meantime, I was put on clyndamycin…. After about a week, I could not even finish the entire dose, diarrhea became really bad. My doctor switched me to vancomycin. This helped but after finishing the treatment, diarrhea slowly started coming back. It was so severe that it lost all color and was just pale looking mucusy something (sorry for the details). It took my GI doctor 2.5 more weeks and three more persistent visits from me to diagnose me with C. Diff. I was put on Vanco again. This time, I was very sick for about 2 weeks. My system was so messed up from all the antibiotics and toxins that it would not tolerate even a simple tylenol pill. I was afraid that this infection will come back after I stop Vanco in 2 weeks so I went for a second opinion. My new GI doctor strongly suggested to keep me on Vanco for a longer period. I have now been on the antibiotic for about 6 weeks. I had other symptoms, such as feeling dead tired, lifeless, hard to even move, tingling and muscle cramping throughout my body, etc. I finally saw an integrative medicine doctor that put me on Magnesium supplement, Epson Salt Baths, Vitamin D3 supplement, and the following probiotics: Natures Sunshine Bifidophilus Flora Force, Probiotic Eleven and L. Acidophilus. She also kept giving me ionic detoxifying foot baths and B12 shots. With this kind of support the doctor told me to discontinue Vanco. I have also tested negative for C.Diff. I thought it was safe….. A week and a half later, unfortunately, I am now having returning symptoms. Not quite as bad but nevertheless there. Yet my GI doctor wants to do some stool testing first. We shall see… I have found this Australian website regarding the available treatments and I will show it to my GI doctor next time I see him. There has to be something out there that will cure this deadly infection…
    For those who are interested:
    http://www.cdd.com.au/pages/disease_info/clostridium_difficle.html

  • Paul C. -

    I’m at a loss what to do. This has been an ordeal since August. I’ve taken a lot of antibiotics for repeated sinusitis. An ENT put me on Clindamycin, and then the trouble began.

    I had severe diarrhea (thought I had the flu bug), huge body aches, etc. After a couple of days, it wasn’t any better. My family physician put me on Flagyl and did a bunch of tests (that was fun). I was better after 2-weeks, but after I as off medicine for 2 to 3 days, voila, same symptoms again. Back on Flagyl for second time, got better, then diarrhea back again. Tested again, but results were negative for CDiff – although that’s what my family doc said it was.

    By this time I finally got in to see a gastroenterologist, who said this was classic Cdiff and put me on longer dose of Flagyl along with Florastor and Welchol. The third time around Flagyl wasn’t responding as well and a flex sigmoidoscopy was ordered. Nothing was found out of ordinary and all subsequent tests were negative. Thus, gastro doc suggested a colonoscopy, which I did. Again nothing out of ordinary was found (no rashes, spores, etc.). Since there were no visible signs of CDiff and all tests were negative, the gastroenterologist thought that it may be IBS instead.

    At this point, I got a second opinion from another gastroenterologist who put me on Vancomycin for a month (start with 3 pills per day for a week, then 2 pills a day for a week, then 1 pill a day, etc.). After two weeks of treatment I was remarkably better.

    Guess what? After finishing my month-long vanco and being off for 3 days, same symptoms came back. Although not diarrhea. Just softer stools with a lot of gas pressure, pain in back and extremely lethargic.

    One reprieve I’ve had is when I’ve taken Imodium during this time for at least temporary relief despite gastroenterologist suggesting that this was bad to take.

    Not sure where to turn from here. Second gastroenterologist thought I may need to see an infectious disease specialist. Anybody have any thoughts? Similar trouble? Is this a sneaky case of CDiff? Or can IBS really have some similar symptoms.

  • Catherine -

    I came down with the awful disease after being treated for an insect bite. I was told that I was over-dosed on Cleocin and now have to take more antibiotics for C-diff. I started taking Flagyl the beginning of August and took two rounds of 10 days, 4 pills a day. It did absolutely nothing for me. Mid-September they decided to prescribe vancomycin for 10 days and I could actually function every day, but still had the bad abdominal pains & loose stools. 1 1/2 weeks after finishing up the 2nd round of vancomycin, they discovered I still had C-diff (I could have told them that without the lab results). I was prescribed vancomycin again and told to start a pulse/tapering regiment. It was explained to me that I have a spore that can hibernate and protect itself from the antibiotics, so now it’s time to turn my digestive system into a war zone. By taking the antibiotic intermittenly, it gives the spore the environment it likes on occasion and will come out of hiding. Then it gets attacked with antibiotics all of a sudden. The idea is to eventually catch it off guard and actually be able to kill it before it hibernates again. I did learn that taking the probiotic 2 hours after the antibiotic is supposed to offer the best effect. I just learned that I apparently have several months left to continue with this antibiotic because of the strain that I have. I keep hoping that this new treatment plan will actually work so that I can have my life/energy back.

  • Kflatter -

    Update on my condition… I ended up in the Hospital again in Early Jan. Lost my job because of this. I had a fecal transplant in Feb. and it worked!!! I have been free of this for almost 2 years now and only suffer from mild IBS. I will NOT take any antibiotics at all now unless it is life threating. I suffer from horrible allergies but it is much better than the alternative. Good Luck to you all.

  • Elaine -

    28 year old female here. 3 weeks ago I had a laparoscopic appendectomy. 3 days and 2 nights in the hospital, with 2 days of Invanz thru an IV (broad spectrum antibiotic).

    Due to the narcotics, I did not “go” at all for 10 days. Then BAM, began to have diarrhea which rapidly progressed into watery diarrhea every 30 minutes or so. One time I did not make it from the bed to the bathroom in time.

    Was put on Flagyl 500 mg 3 times a day for 10 days. My last day is tomorrow. I am still going about 4 times per day, and while it isn’t watery anymore, it’s not solid either.

    I am concerned that I should not come off of it yet. My husband says that diarrhea is also a side effect of Flagyl so maybe that’s why it hasn’t completely resolved? I’m nervous….should I stay on longer? The Flagyl makes me feel so out of it.

    Taking 2 probiotics and eating yogurt as well, but can’t seem to get below going 4 times a day……HELP! I’m getting depressed over this.

  • Patti Osinski -

    I have Lupus, it has been attacking my organs one at a time. In July of 2009 I had lung surgery to remove an impanema and they found staff. I was sent home on antibiotics for 2 weeks, done. In February of this year I had vomiting, diahrea, severe pain in back, and headaches, I was admitted to hospital. They found out in one day it was gull stones, I needed my gull bladder out. Surgery was scheduled but . . . also was told I had c.diff. Surgery cancelled and sent home on flagyl, 2 weeks in, took specimen, still have it. They uped dosage on flagyl, next 2 weeks in, still have it. My internest says he doesn’t know what else to do, so what kind od doctor should I see and do I have to be quarenteed? Everyone is afraid of me, I am been evicted and have no where to go, is it that serious? I have reached my end.

  • Karen -

    My mom has c. diff and was prescribed flagyl which made her really sick and didn’t work anyway. She then took vancomycin for 14 days along with florastor and a good belly drink daily. It is now day 4 after finishing the antibiotics and she was again nauseous today. She never really had too much diarrhea from it just nausea. Is there a timing when she should be taking the probiotics? I want my mom to the way she was and my children miss playing with their grandma. Please help.

  • Danielle -

    Hey guys. I hope everyone is feeling better or your affected family members are doing well. I just got diagnosed with wonderful c- diff a few days ago. I started flagyl and I’m going to buy florastor today and get some acidopholis going as well. I got this because I was on antibiotics because of a uti! I was very angry because I feel alone, its a crappy thing to have (no pun intended! Haha) if anyone has any other ideas that are helpful let me know, or any helpful stories would be appriciated! Good luck to everyone!

  • JEANNIE -

    I am also very lethargic & feel dehydrated after a 4 week battle with C-Diff. When will I feel normal. I’m eating most foods but always stay near a little girl’s room because it only stays with me 1 1/2hrs. Is that normal also?

  • Rebecca -

    I have been clear for almost 7 months after 3 months of treatment. Things are about back to normal, except I am so tired all the time. My labs don’t show anemia anymore, but I am so lethargic. Is anyone else experiencing this?

  • KFlatter -

    I am currently going thru my third bout of this. I am a otherwise healthy 42 year old female. I had a sinus infection a few months ago for which my Dr. prescribed Amoxicillian. That is when the fun started… I didn’t know what I had for over a week and then when I did finally go to the Dr. he didn’t believe that a healthy person could have this. I started taking Metronidazole (Flagyl) for 10 days and was fine for about 4 days… then it returned with an attitude. I was then put on the Vancomycin and flagyl, (Culturelle), Florastor at the same time with hopes this would work shortly after I was put in the hospital for three days for dehydration. I am and was drinking 120oz of water a day and am still dehydrated. I have just called the Dr. and left a message that guess what it is back again right at a week being off the antibiotics. I have a refil of the Vancomycin and will start that as soon as I get home. What the heck will happen if this never clears up???

  • Jennifer S -

    Wow, sorry to hear how long you struggled with this. My mother has had 3 bouts of C Diff so far… the first 2 of which she nearly did not survive. We spent a lot of time in ICU hoping she would live thru it.

    One other thing to remember is that the spores are much like an egg or seed, with a hard outer shell. They’ll continue to “hide” in the appendix and colon. The Flagyl and Vancomycin don’t kill the spores, only the living bacteria… so even if you handwash faithfully with hot water and soap, and bleach everything in site, you can still re-infect. One of the most frustrating things for my mom is that she felt she was strictly following docs orders and doing what she was supposed to do exactly as told… and yet, she still got sick again. It wasn’t until we had a better understanding how the spores work that this started to make more sense and she realized she wasn’t making herself sick.

    Mom JUST came home 2 days ago and is still on small doses of vancomycin. She is taking Florastor and eating 2 Activia a day as well.

    One big concern for us is the damage C Diff can cause to major organs as well. So if you experience symptoms, go get help asap! Don’t walk, run, to the doc…

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