Also known as Clostridium difficile or CDAD for short, C Diff overgrowth occurs when the normal flora balance in the gastro-intestinal tract is upset and this pathogenic strain of bacteria proliferates to a point of causing specific symptoms. Upon diagnosis, it is essential to immediately eliminate all the primary risk factors. At the same time there ought to be an immediate shift in dietary regimen, as well as the regular inclusion of a probiotic treatment regimen.
The CDC offers a good explanation for Severe Clostridium difficile as follows:
“Clostridium difficile is a spore-forming, gram-positive bacillus that produces exotoxins that are pathogenic to humans. C. difficile–associated disease (CDAD) ranges in severity from mild diarrhea to fulminant colitis and death. Antimicrobial use is the primary risk factor for development of CDAD because it disrupts normal bowel flora and promotes C. difficile overgrowth. C. difficile typically has affected older or severely ill patients who are hospital inpatients or residents of long-term–care facilities. Recently, however, both the frequency and severity of health-care–associated CDAD has increased.”
So, why is there a sudden outbreak of this disease throughout the country, especially within age groups and risk profiles that have hitherto seen a relatively low incidence of C-Diff?
Let’s refer to the same CDC site for some more explanation:
“(1). One possible explanation for these increases is the emergence of a previously uncommon strain of C. difficile responsible for severe hospital outbreaks (2). Although individual cases of CDAD are not nationally reportable, in 2005, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) and CDC received several case reports of serious CDAD in otherwise healthy patients with minimal or no exposure to a health-care setting.”
Without question the most significant co-factor for C Diff is the overuse of antibiotics both in and out of the hospital. The increasing incidence among younger populations is due to the multi-year usage of antibiotics for childhood ear infections, adolescent sinus infections, young adult gastrointestinal infections, among many other bacterial infections which plague the modern society.
However, we venture to say that the most serious aspect of the overuse of antibiotics concerns a practice which many physicians still continue. Many medical doctors make a habit of reflexively prescribing antibiotics for infections which have not been determined to be bacterial in nature. The routine utilization of this treatment regimen has been particularly destructive in those cases where viral infections* have been treated with antibiotics with no effect. Especially when further rounds of antibiotics are thrown at an intractable viral infection, the healthy intestinal flora will be severely imbalanced and can be eventually wiped out.
*Antibiotics should never be used in treating viral infections; they are completely ineffective in getting rid of viruses. Even the MAYO Clinic has weighed in on the overuse and indiscriminate use of antibiotics, especially when prescribed for viral infections. Here’s why: Antibiotics: Misuse puts you and others at risk
This is where it is imperative for the child or young adult to take a very proactive approach in repopulating the intestinal tract with all the normal eugenic bacteria which are found there. Unfortunately, most parents are not aware of this health imperative. If you don’t replace the healthy flora balance, the opportunistic, pathogenic bacteria will begin to take over as they do in the case of C Diff.
From the previous etiology referenced from the CDC site, we have already read that: “Antimicrobial use is the primary risk factor for development of CDAD because it disrupts normal bowel flora and promotes C. difficile overgrowth.” Therefore two things must be done to overcome the worst symptoms of this condition (i) stop using antibiotics (ii) start replacing the naturally occurring intestinal flora.
There are many good probiotic products which are available from reputable health companies these days. In addition to supplementing with the various strains of eugenic bacteria which are provided in these various formulations, the best dietary recommendations include kefir, yoghurt, miso, kimchi, Kombucha tea, and tempeh. Also, taking rejuvelac and preolac can be particularly efficacious. Cultured and fermented foods containing the right combination of lacto-bacteria range from real sauerkraut, sour pickles, pickled beets and turnips, among many other vegetables. Lacto-fermentation is a process which can be utilized by anyone, especially the homemaker who has the time and will to prepare these fermented foods which make a very healthy addition to the diet.
No coffee or any other food or beverage which acts as a laxative – mild or otherwise – should be taken during a bout with C Diff. The persistent case of diarrhea which often accompanies C Diff must be addressed if one is to regain their strength and vitality. Replacing the electrolytes and minerals and fluids, which have been lost through chronic diarrhea, ought to be accomplished as soon as possible. There are several measures, which can be taken to address these critical depletions, listed at the WebMD website page entitled: Diarrhea: Age 12 and Older – Home Treatment
The saying goes that if the GI environment is clean and healthy, the bad bugs will not find a home there. After the acute phase of C Diff has run its course, it is highly recommended that a cleanse or two be undertaken to clean out the impacted fecal matter, parasitical infestations, candida overgrowth and undigested foods (especially meat products) which putrefy in the GI tract over many years. By completely transforming the gi tract environment, which encourages the pathogenic bacteria and viruses to propagate, there is a much greater likelihood of not being re-visited by them.
As for the “marathoners of health excellence”, they would go so far as thoroughly detoxifying their body to the extent of performing a series of various organ cleanses. There are specific cleanses which can be conducted and purposefully sequenced when dealing with the aforementioned intestinal conditions. These include a parasite cleanse, a colon cleanse, liver cleanse and gallbladder flush, as well as a kidney cleanse. For those who have never performed these, it is advisable to read up on the many different programs out there and then consult with a health professional who has really been around this block. Healing crises (quite predictable and manageable) are certain to emerge and ought to be dealt with appropriately.
C Diff is a condition that is quite easy to avoid, as it is simple to address should you acquire a case. Clearly, the preventative approach is more desirable since just a little knowledge put into practice will do the trick.
When this persistent condition does take hold, it is usually a wake up call about much more than maintaining healthy intestinal flora. It usually points to a whole host of lifestyle issues that ought to be looked at, especially diet. In this way it will often serve as a catalyst to make positive changes in one’s life that are long overdue.
Other gastro-initestinal conditions can co-exist with C Diff, such as candida overgrowth, different intestinal parasites like giardia lamblia, low grade E. Coli or Salmonella infections, as well as a number of stomach and intestinal viruses. When this is the case, it is probably a good time to identify and understand the many co-factors which contribute to such a conducive internal environment. Taking a REAL close look at the bio-terrain will especially reveal the subtle aspects of an individual’s daily dietary regimen, environmental toxin exposures, pathogenic micro-organism overgrowth, ph imbalance, chronic nutrient and/or mineral depletion, etc. which regularly contribute to C Diff and similar GI tract infections, diseases and dysfunction.
May you enjoy great health!
The Health Coach
Many in the medical profession will prescribe additional antibiotics to address intransigent C Diff infections. This is not a good move at all. Even when the antibiotic best indicated for Clostridium difficile is utilized it can cause major problems due to “collateral damage”. In cases where Metronidazole (aka Flagyl), the MD’s antibiotic of choice, has been used repeatedly the tendency toward resistance creeps in and therefore the stronger, mutant forms of the C Diff will proliferate due to their immunity.
It should also be pointed out that, with each recurrence of C Diff, the risk of neurotoxicity can significantly increase with antibiotic treatments such as vancomycin and metronidazole, especially when their consistent use is continued after the second occurrence.
“Metronidazole should not be used beyond the first recurrence of CDI or for long-term chronic therapy because of the potential for cumulative neurotoxicity.”
Source: “C. difficile Management Guidelines Unveiled” – American College of Emergency Physicians (http://www.acep.org)
Recommended Dietary Prohibitions: Anyone suffering from C Diff who has experienced repeated bouts of diarrhea must avoid any and all foods that contribute to this condition. Abstaining from the following foods and food groups ought to be
considered very seriously:
• Caffeine in soda, tea, coffee, and chocolate
• Foods that cause gas, such as beans, broccoli, and apples
• Spicy foods
• Foods high in acid, such as oranges and other citrus fruit
• Fatty foods, such as bacon, sausage, butter, oils, and anything deep-fried
• Dairy products, particularly for people who are lactose intolerant
(Source: List provided by www.realage.com/gastrointestinal/food-and-diarrhea)
There are some strong natural anti-microbial essential oils available which may prove to be effective in combatting C Diff. These include oregano oil, thyme oil, peppermint oil, and basil oil. Likewise there are herbal remedies such as Pau D’Arco Tea, Echinacea & Goldenseal, Olive Leaf and Venus Fly Trap (aka Carnivora).
Homeopathic tinctures can also be employed for effectively addressing the emotional component of this type of infection, since those who are predisposed to it always present a very similar psychological profile.
Self-inquiry might revolve around the following questions:
Am I overly controlling?
Am I prone to depression?
Am I harboring rage toward a situation of which I have no influence?
Or anger toward an individual with whom I am close?
Has a palpable form of grief overtaken my life?
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