Symptoms of C diff

Clostridioides difficile (C. diff) starts in the intestine. C. diff makes toxins as it grows. These toxins irritate the intestinal lining, leading to swelling and pain. Symptoms of C diff include diarrhea and severe illness.

Treating the Symptoms of C diff

You don't need treatment if you don't have symptoms.

If antibiotics have led to infection, we can stop or change them. Mild infections will usually go away with time.


Antibiotics can treat a C. diff infection.

Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT)

A stool with healthy bacteria from a donor can restore a healthy balance of bacteria. Learn more about FMT.


Very severe or severe repeat infections may need surgery.

Cost & Insurance

The clinic visits, laboratory studies, and colonoscopy are part of your general diarrhea evaluation check-up. Depending on your insurance, your policy may cover the costs. You'll be responsible for any copays required by insurance.

How Do You Get C. diff?

You can pick up C. diff from dirt and other surfaces. The bacteria travel from your hands to your mouth.

Your intestines have a healthy balance of bacteria. This bacteria helps digestion. When you take antibiotics, you can upset this balance. Antibiotics kill both healthy and unhealthy bacteria. This creates an environment where C. diff can grow.

You increase your chance of infection if you have:

  • Taken certain medications, like antibiotics
  • Recently stayed in the hospital
  • Stomach disease
  • History of C. diff infection
  • Weakened immune system
  • Not been washing your hands 

Symptoms of C. diff Infection

Symptoms could include:

  • Watery diarrhea at least three times within 24 hours
  • Abdominal pain or cramps
  • Bloating
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite

To diagnose C. diff, you may need stool and blood tests. Your provider might also get an endoscopy, X-ray or CT scan.

Prevent Infection

Proper hand-washing is the best way to prevent C. diff. Always wash with soap and water. Wash your hands every time you use the bathroom.

You can also:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • Take antibiotics (as prescribed, and only when necessary)
  • Avoid medicines that reduce stomach acidity
  • Clean with disinfectants, especially when people are sick
  • Make sure any healthcare staff who comes in contact with you washes their hands first

Learn about fecal transplant.