C. difficile Colitis: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 5/29/2020

C. difficile stands for Clostridium difficile, a type of bacteria that causes damage and inflammation to the large intestine or colon. The bacteria are related to the bacteria that cause tetanus and botulism. Most cases of C. difficile colitis occur in patients in the hospital for other reasons.

The signs and symptoms of C. difficile colitis include

Blood in the stool may be present. Severe cases may be life-threatening. Complications of C. difficile colitis include

  • dehydration,
  • rupture of the colon, and
  • spread of infection to the abdominal cavity or elsewhere in the body.

Cause of C. difficile colitis

A toxin produced by the C. difficile bacteria causes damage to the colon (colitis).

Other c. difficile colitis symptoms and signs


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.