The intestines are home to billions of bacteria essential for digestion, metabolism, and immune function. When a person is healthy, the different species remain in balance. When a person takes antibiotics for an illness, the medication kills some of the beneficial, or “good,” bacteria, which protect against infection, in addition to the illness-causing bacteria. As a result, harmful bacteria, such as Clostridium difficile, commonly known as C. difficile or C. diff, can grow, leading to severe diarrhea and inflammation in the colon.
C. difficile is one of the most common infections in U.S. hospitals and healthcare facilities. NYU Langone infectious disease specialists diagnose and treat people with C. difficile infections.
C. difficile infections are typically treated with antibiotics. If you don’t respond to the medication or have recurrent C. difficile infections, doctors may perform a procedure called fecal microbiota transplant, in which beneficial strains of bacteria are reestablished in the intestines.
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