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How long does C Diff last?

I am not a physician and you shouldn’t use this as advice.  Seek your own qualified physician’s advice for curing C Diff.

“How long does C Diff last?”

I’ve been asked this question many times and can relate.  Most colds and flu’s go away on their own in 2-3 weeks.  So, the first time you get C Diff your thought is, ok how long is this going to last?  Then, there are others who have been dealing with C Diff for months or longer…how much longer will their C Diff last?

Most People Will Have it Easy

The answer is tricky and not fun.  Typically you go on antibiotics after you are diagnosed.  The antibiotics (metronidazole, vancomycin, or whatever your physician prescribes) will last usually 10-14 days .  At this point, you’ll find that 80-85% of patients will be fine.  So, for most people it’ll appear to only last a week or two.  I say “appear” because there is an unknown number of people who will harbor C Diff in their colon or small intestine after that with NO SYMPTOMS.  So, is it over for them?   I was one of those people and a year later when I took amoxicillin for a cold (dumb idea) the symptoms of C Diff came back in full force and I tested positive again!

Some Will Take A Little Longer

So, for the 15-20% who relapse you go on antibiotics for 10-14 days again, or you may find physicians using the tapering method.  This is where your physician might ask you to go on antibiotics for a week or so, and slowly taper down the strength or amount of antibiotics over a month or so.  You may also be asked to try a pulsing method which is similar except you might take antibiotics every other day while tapering down to lower levels of antibiotics.   So, these methods will vary in time, so let’s assume it takes another 30 days.   Now we’re up to what, 45 days?

A Few Will Have a Long Battle

Well, you may stop the symptoms there, or you may be one of the 65% of patients who relapse AGAIN.  Yup, 65% of patients who relapse once are likely to relapse multiple times[1].  So, people who make it to this point just don’t know when it will be over.  I was one and it isn’t fun.  But, you cannot give up!

So, there we have it.  It’s not a very clear answer, but most people will be without symptoms in a few weeks.  At the other end of the spectrum, you may dealing with this a while.  But, you cannot give up on pursuing treatment.  C Diff is deadly serious, but the vast majority of people will find a good end to C Diff.   (check out the “what works” page)

No One Cares About Your Health More Than You Do

I believe that no one cares more about your health than you do.  YOU need to persist in finding your cure until you get it.  Keep going back to physicians and going to new ones.  Question them, and don’t give up.

I am not a physician and you shouldn’t use this as advice of any kind.  Seek your own qualified physician’s advice for curing C Diff.

[1] http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/186458-followup

101 Comments - Leave a Comment
  • anita Jansen -

    Oh my, I have been complaining to my doctor for 6 years about pain and taking Imodium constantly. I ha Eva new gp and she sent me for tests and I have cdiff. I’ve never been so uncomfortable in all my life. My doctor said no probiotics until after the treatment is done. Now I’m not sure after reading all your stories. I’m so ill. It’s hard to eat and I wake up with severe migraines and I take Tylenol 3 to start my day and end it … I sure hope this flagyl works!

  • DEBRA L MAHNKE -

    I have had c diff 6 times. I am on 6th right now. I didn’t have it for a few month and then got constipated and was put on linzess. Low and behold c diff had returned. I am on vanco but I feel I am immune to it. My specialist has given up and said I should get 3nd opinion as she cannot seem to help me. I feel like this is going to kill me. I take probiotic and drink these probiotic drinks. I eat light. I don’t have any dairy. When will life come back?

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  • DAS -

    I first was diagnosed with c.diff eight years ago. I had been taking Flagyl for another problem. I was volunteering at a child care center and changed a diaper on a baby which definitely was not normal, I had unrelenting diarrhea for a week, which started with a fever and aches that persisted only two days. I didn’t feel real sick like others describe.,. When the stool sample came back positive for c.diff, I was put on Vancomycin for two weeks and I started taking Florastor probioitics. which I had read about. . Nevertheless, after I finished the course of Vanco, I had a relapse – same fever at the start, but otherwise didn’t feel sick except having to run to the bathroom every two hours. I was treating it during the weekend of my daughter’s destination wedding, which gave me so much anxiety., trying not to make a fuss to ruin her day. I also took cholestyramin (sp?) to firm up the stools and I made it through the weekend. I managed to avoid a third relapse this time. ,, but my bowels were never quite the same for the longest time. Nothing awful, but having to go three-four times every morning, and very soft stools. . Sometimes some random watery diarrhea, but not often. I took Florastor for a couple months but then quit because, I didn’t know if it was really helping.
    Imagine my horror when I got c.diff, out of the blue four years later. I hadn’t been taken any antibiotics. I was babysitting for my granddaughter who had some antibiotic-caused diarrhea , so maybe she had some spores in there. I tried as hard as I could go not get germs when changing diapers. . It made me so worried that I harbor this nasty stuff in my body at all times and it can pop up with any little exposure. . I went on Vanco again, but started on Florastor as soon as I suspected c.fiff. , before I even started the Vanco. Florastor is the only probiotic you can take at any time without carefully timing between Vanco doses. . I had read somewhere that you should try to be on Florastor before starting the med to build up the good bacteria before the antibiotic Vanco hits it again… Happily I got over it without a relapse this time. Stools still not like before all this started, but nearly normal now. It wasn’t too horrible compared to stories told on this site. I took Florastor another four months to be on the safe side. (It’s exensive) and now I have been taking Culturelle ever since for over four years. So compared to a lot, I guess this is a success story and I feel so bad from the bottom of my heart for you that are suffering so. Since I was lucky enough not to feel pain or nausea, the worst part for me was feeling like I was a pariah – the dreaded fear of giving someone this decease I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. And disinfecting the toilet so very long. I felt like the germ monster. It made me very anxious and no one can understand unless they’ve been through it. I don’t think even the doctors truly understand this disease. My doctor actually said I could start baby sitting my granddaughter after being on Vancomycin 24 hours – as though I had strep throat or something.,
    . My best advice is take the best probiotics you can afford for the rest of your life, You never know when you will be exposed again or have to take the dreaded antibiotics. I don’t ever want to face c.diff again. The fear is ingrained.
    A good book – “Clostridium difficile: A Patient’s Guide” by Christopher M. O’Neal, PH.D. and Raf Rizk, MD.. It reassures you.

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