Clostridium difficile & Proton-Pump Inhibitors

c. difficile bacteriaOne thing many of you do not know about me, is that as a freelance writer I published a number of technical articles in medical journals. One area I’m strong in is medical research. So when I discovered that I had contracted a Clostridium difficile infection this fall, I was determined to understand how this happened.

According to the Mayo Clinic:

“Clostridium difficile (klos-TRID-e-um dif-uh-SEEL), often called C. difficile or C. diff, is a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon.

Illness from C. difficile most commonly affects older adults in hospitals or in long-term care facilities and typically occurs after use of antibiotic medications. However, studies show increasing rates of C. difficile infection among people traditionally not considered high risk, such as younger and healthy individuals without a history of antibiotic use or exposure to health care facilities.

Each year in the United States, about a half million people get sick from C. difficile, and in recent years, C. difficile infections have become more frequent, severe and difficult to treat.”

Now I know why these infections “have become more frequent, severe and difficult to treat” in apparently healthy younger adults. So many of us are on proton-pump inhibitors long-term. This can be a good thing for treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), erosive esophagitis (acid-related damage to the esophagus), stomach or duodenal ulcers. Unfortunately, these medications can also lower the acid in our gut to such a great extent that bad bacteria can and does survive, causing infections that would not occur if we had the proper amount of acid present.

“The scariest part about [PPI] risks is that every six months or so we find out about another health issue associated with the daily long-term use of PPIs. Therefore, it’s possible that there could be even more health problems announced in the future that we have not yet discovered about these powerful medications.”

There we go solving one problem, which then allows a potentially deadly infection to survive in our colon, another myth about our so-called new wonder drugs, drugs that can make you much sicker than simply having a bad case of GERD.

Here’s an excellent article on the pros and cons of PPIs and the best alternatives to them.

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3 thoughts on “Clostridium difficile & Proton-Pump Inhibitors

  1. Pingback: The Gut-Brain Connection | Adventures of the NEW Old Farts

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