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Clostridium difficile colitis, which is also known as C. diff or C. difficile, is a bacterium that causes inflammation of the colon (colitis). Infection with this bacterium can lead to gastrointestinal distress, abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea, fever, and even death. This type of infection is dangerous, potentially lethal, and at an all-time high in the U.S. In fact, there were nearly 500,000 cases in 2011, with almost 30,000 fatalities within 30 days of diagnosis. Moreover, the Clostridium difficile bacterium is the most common cause of health-care related infection among hospital patients in the U.S., with those taking antibiotics and elderly patients at highest risk for infection. However, there is hope on the horizon as Clostridium difficile colitis could be combated with new treatment.
According to a new study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), oral administration of a nontoxic strain of Clostridium difficile may significantly reduce the likelihood of the infection returning for some patients treated for the condition. Currently, recurrence of the infection occurs in 25 to 30 percent of patients affected by C. diff.
C. difficile infection can affect different patients in various ways. Many healthy individuals may be exposed to the bacterium, but never become infected or symptomatic. Others can be treated by halting the use of antibiotics. In many cases, however, treatment involves intravenous or oral administration of other antibiotics, such as metronidazole or vancomycin.
Yet, not all strains of C. diff are harmful, which may present an effective course of treatment for the deadly strains of the bacterium that do exist. In fact, studies have shown that nontoxic strains of the bacterium may actually protect against C. difficile infection, which has led researchers to believe Clostridium difficile colitis could be combated with this promising new treatment.
This new course of treatment involves inserting healthy stool into an infected patient’s colon who is afflicted by Clostridium difficile. While it might sound unsettling, it could dramatically improve their health. Doctors already have started using this procedure to treat the dangerous and potentially lethal infection known as C. diff.
The efficacy of this new treatment has been very impressive. In fact, nearly 85 percent of those patients who have undergone the C.diff treatment has experienced remission of the condition. If this treatment does in fact prove to be a cure, doctors are hopeful that it may be effective in treating other medical conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulitis, other forms of colitis, Parkinson’s Disease, Crohn’s Disease, and a host of autoimmune diseases. Moreover, researchers envision the potential of a “poop pill” that could be used for weight loss purposes, in which stool from healthy and thin individuals would be inserted into sickly people for health benefits.
According to experts, it is all about the gut bacteria. A diseased or faulty gut lining can allow unhealthy bacteria to grow and propagate into other parts of the body, which triggers an autoimmune response and inflammation. This response is considered the underlying cause of many diseases within the body. As a result, many medical experts are stressing the belief that gut health can impact overall well-being as well as disease in the human body.
Researchers believe they have found a way to combat deadly infections, such as Clostridium difficile colitis, via a new treatment procedure, which uses nontoxic strains of the same bacterium.This new treatment protocol presents many potential benefits for overall health and well-being, as well as disease prevention in the human body. Not only could it provide a cure for the potentially lethal C. diff bacterium, but also prove effective in treating many other autoimmune disorders and debilitating medical conditions.
By Leigh Haugh
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