C. difficile is a bacteria that causes severe diarrhea and damage to the colon. In the past, it was caused solely by exposure to antibiotics that disrupted normal colon bacteria and allowed C. difficile to overgrow. But that’s not the case anymore.
Today, C. difficile is occurring at epidemic rates.
An article in the New England Journal of Medicine reported on a 2011 survey of 10 geographic areas in the U.S. to identify C. difficile infection cases. The researchers estimated that the number of infections in the U.S. was 453,000.
C. difficile was more common in females (26 percent) and whites (72 percent), and 8.65 times more common in people 65 and older.
When I was training to become a doctor, I only saw C. difficile infections in hospitalized patients who had received potent intravenous antibiotics or chemotherapy. I never saw it in an outpatient setting.
However, things changed about 15 years ago, and C. difficile started appearing in outpatient settings. Shortly after that, infections became much more common.
There are two factors responsible for the rise in C. difficile infections. The first is the overuse of potent antibiotics in outpatient settings.
These antibiotics kill the good bacteria, allowing toxic pathogens like C. difficile to overgrow.
The second reason is the overuse of potent acid-blocking drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). These medications inhibit the stomach’s ability to manufacture hydrochloric acid, altering the pH of the stomach and gut and allowing pathogenic bacteria to overgrow.
PPIs were never meant to be used for more than a few weeks. But now patients are routinely prescribed them permanently.
If you take an antibiotic, for any reason, you should supplement with a probiotic during and after taking the antibiotic. Also, limit your exposure to antacid drugs.
More information about this can be found in my book, Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do!
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