HOMOEOPATHIC REMEDIES FOR CLOSTRIDIUM DIFFICILE INFECTION
Clostridium difficile , often called C. difficile or C. diff, is a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon.
Illness from C. difficile most commonly affects older adults in hospitals or in long-term care facilities and typically occurs after use of antibiotic medications. However, studies show increasing rates of C. difficile infection among people traditionally not considered high risk, such as younger and healthy individuals without a history of antibiotic use or exposure to health care facilities.
Each year in the United States, about a half million people get sick from C. difficile, and in recent years, C. difficile infections have become more frequent, severe and difficult to treat.
Causes-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.
Spores from C. difficile bacteria are passed in feces and spread to food, surfaces and objects when people who are infected don't wash their hands thoroughly. These spores can persist in a room for weeks or months. If you touch a surface contaminated with C. difficile spores, you may then unknowingly swallow the bacteria.
Your intestines contain about 100 trillion bacterial cells and up to 2,000 different kinds of bacteria, many of which help protect your body from infection. When you take an antibiotic to treat an infection, these drugs tend to destroy some of the normal, helpful bacteria in addition to the bacteria causing the infection. Without enough healthy bacteria to keep it in check, C. difficile can quickly grow out of control. The antibiotics that most often lead to C. difficile infections include fluoroquinolones, cephalosporins, penicillins and clindamycin.
Once established, C. difficile can produce toxins that attack the lining of the intestine. The toxins destroy cells and produce patches (plaques) of inflammatory cells and decaying cellular debris inside the colon and cause watery diarrhea.
Emergence of a new strain
An aggressive strain of C. difficile has emerged that produces far more toxins than other strains do. The new strain may be more resistant to certain medications and has shown up in people who haven't been in the hospital or taken antibiotics. This strain of C. difficile has caused several outbreaks of illness since 2000.
Symptoms-Some people carry the bacterium C. difficile in their intestines but never become sick, though they may still spread the infection. Signs and symptoms usually develop within five to 10 days after starting a course of antibiotics, but may occur as soon as the first day or up to two months later.
Mild to moderate infection
The most common symptoms of mild to moderate C. difficile infection are:
· Watery diarrhea three or more times a day for two or more days
· Mild abdominal cramping and tenderness
In severe cases, people tend to become dehydrated and may need hospitalization. C. difficile causes the colon to become inflamed (colitis) and sometimes may form patches of raw tissue that can bleed or produce pus (pseudomembranous colitis). Signs and symptoms of severe infection include:
· Watery diarrhea 10 to 15 times a day
· Abdominal cramping and pain, which may be severe
· Rapid heart rate
· Blood or pus in the stool
· Loss of appetite
· Weight loss
· Swollen abdomen
· Kidney failure
· Increased white blood cell count
Risk factors--Although people — including children — with no known risk factors have gotten sick from C. difficile, certain factors increase your risk.
Taking antibiotics or other medications
Medication-associated risk factors include:
· Currently taking or having recently taken antibiotics
· Taking broad-spectrum antibiotics that target a wide range of bacteria
· Using multiple antibiotics
· Taking antibiotics for a long time
· Taking medications to reduce stomach acid, including proton pump inhibitors
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. However, studies show increasing rates of community-associated C. difficile infection, which occurs among populations traditionally not considered high risk, such as children and people without a history of antibiotic use or recent hospitalization
Staying in a health care facility
The majority of C. difficile cases occur in, or after exposure to, health care settings — including hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities — where germs spread easily, antibiotic use is common and people are especially vulnerable to infection. In hospitals and nursing homes, C. difficile spreads mainly on hands from person to person, but also on cart handles, bedrails, bedside tables, toilets, sinks, stethoscopes, thermometers — even telephones and remote controls.
Having a serious illness or medical procedure
If you have a serious illness, such as inflammatory bowel disease or colorectal cancer, or a weakened immune system as a result of a medical condition or treatment (such as chemotherapy), you're more susceptible to a C. difficile infection. Your risk of C. difficile infection is also greater if you've had abdominal surgery or a gastrointestinal procedure.
Older age is also a risk factor for C. difficile infection. In one study, the risk of becoming infected with C. difficile was 10 times greater for people age 65 and older compared with younger people.
After having a previous C. difficile infection, your chances of having a recurring infection can be up to 20 percent, and the risk increases further with every subsequent infection.
Complications-- Complications of C. difficile infections include:
Dehydration. Severe diarrhea can lead to a significant loss of fluids and electrolytes. This makes it difficult for your body to function normally and can cause blood pressure to drop to dangerously low levels.
Kidney failure. In some cases, dehydration can occur so quickly that kidney function rapidly deteriorates (kidney failure).
Toxic megacolon. In this rare condition, your colon is unable to expel gas and stool, causing it to become greatly distended (megacolon). Left untreated, your colon may rupture, causing bacteria from the colon to enter your abdominal cavity. An enlarged or ruptured colon requires emergency surgery and may be fatal.
A hole in your large intestine (bowel perforation). This is rare and results from extensive damage to the lining of your large intestine or after toxic megacolon. A perforated bowel can spill bacteria from the intestine into your abdominal cavity, leading to a life-threatening infection (peritonitis).
Death. Even mild to moderate C. difficile infections can quickly progress to a fatal disease if not treated promptly.
Homoeopathy today is a rapidly growing system and is being practiced all over the world.Its strength lies in its evident effectiveness as it takes a holistic approach towards the sick individual through promotion of inner balance at mental, emotional, spiritual and physical levels. When C. diff infection is concerned there are many effective medicines are available in Homoeopathy, but the selection depends upon the individuality of the patient, considering the mental and physical symptoms.
MERCURIUS CORROSIVUS 30-Merc cor is one of the excellent remedies for C. diff infection where blood and mucus are passed along with stool.There is a constant urge to pass stool but only little stool passes. The stool is hot, bloody , offensive , with cutting pain accompany the passage of stool. After passing the stool , the urge reappears and the patient gets no satisfaction. Much tenesmus , which is not relieved by stool. The abdomen is bloated and painful to least touch. The patient feels a bruised sensation in the cecal region and the transverse colon is painful.Also sometimes there is an incessant, green bilious vomiting.
ARSENICUM ALBUM 30-Arsenic alb is another effective medicine for C. diff infection where the stool is offensive, mixed with blood.The stool is scanty, offensive, dark with much prostration. It is worse at night and after eating drinking, from chilling stomach, alcohol abuse and spoiled meat. There is much tenesmus, burning pain and pressure in rectum and anus.There is gnawing , burning pain in abdomen like coals of fire, relieved by heat.Abdomen swollen and painful.There is a thirst for small amount of water at frequent intervals.Mentally the patient expresses great anxiety and restlessness.
PHOSPHORUS 30-Phosphorus is best for C. diff infection where the stool is offensive which contain blood and greenish mucus, worse in the morning. The patient prefer cold drinks, ice creams, and juicy things.
ARGENTUM NITRICUM 30-Argentum nitricum is prescribed for C. diff with gastric ailments with lot of belching. Lot of distension of abdomen with great desire for sweets, cheese and salty foods. Much prone to diarrhea. Noisy , flatulent diarrhea with much offensiveness of stool.Colicky pain in abdomen.Urging for stools immediately after eating or drinking .Argentum nitricum patients are very nervous and impulsive in nature.
ALOEO SOCOTRINA 30-Aloes is best for with constant bearing down in rectum.Bleeding per rectum may occur , rectum feels sore and hot, and is relieved by cold water. Lot of mucus and wind is expelled with stools and the pain remains in the rectum after passing stools.
BAPTISIA TIN Q- Baptisia is indicated where fever with loose stool is seen. There is fetid stools with toxemia. Stools very offensive , thin, dark and bloody. There is fullness and distension of abdomen. Abdominal muscles sore on pressure .
COLOCYNTHIS 30-Colocynthis is indicated when cutting pains and cramping occur , making the person bend double or need to lie down and press on the abdomen.Pain is likely to be worse just before the diarrhea passes, and after eating fruits or drinking water.
LYCOPODIUM CLAVATUM 200- Lycopodium is prescribed where weakness of digestion occurs. Immediately after a meal the abdomen feels distended and bloated. There is a constant sensation of fermentation in the abdomen.There is much tightness and pressure in the abdomen. Lycopodium patients prefers sweets and hot food and drinks.
NUX VOMICA 30- Nux vomica is indicated where constipation alternatimg with diarrhea is seen.Frequent ineffectual urging for stools. Strain hard at stools. Unfinished sensation after stools. Colicky pain in abdomen.
PULSATILLA NIG. 30- Pulsatilla is indicated where painful distension of abdomen is seen with rumbling and pressure in abdomen.Tightness in abdomen after meals. Watery, rumbling stools, no two stools alike. Pulsatilla is more indicated to mild yielding persons.