“Hank, can you get me some more T.P. I can’t seem to get off this pot!”.
“Yeah! Gi’ me a sec. Be right there”.
You know when your stomach is rumbling, and you just can’t stray away from the toilet very far, because you don’t know when the next run (no pun intended) is going to hit; you are just plain miserable. Your stomach hurts, your bottom gets raw, you feel dehydrated, and when you think you can’t go anymore----there she goes again.
Now, some people just start out with Pneumonia, or a Urinary tract Infection, and then they go to the doctor. The doctor runs a couple of tests and says “Yes, you have a Sinusitis and Bronchitis. We’re going to take a sample of your sputum (deep thick secretions you cough up from your lungs), and we’re going to get you started on a broad-spectrum antibiotic (an antibiotic that kills lots of types of organisms). When the test comes back in a few days, we’ll let you know.
So you go home and take your antibiotic religiously which really ought to kill whatever is causing your infection, but alas, the doctor’s office calls and says ‘the test is back, but the antibiotic you are on doesn’t work on this one. We called in a new script to your pharmacy; go pick it up today and start it right away”.
You pick up your new prescription and begin to take your new antibiotic, and sure enough, 5 days into it, all of a sudden you start feeling better…You’ve quit coughing stuff up and the burning in your nose starts going away, life is good again until about 3 days later…Upset stomach and diarrhea start.
The issue is that there are thousands of organisms in the intestines. When you take an antibiotic, even if it is for Sinusitis, a UTI, or other infection, the antibiotic doesn’t just kill the specific infection, it also kills organisms in the intestine. When you have to change antibiotics, the new one will kill other organisms in the intestine too. When the normal flora is being killed off in the gut like that, there can be an overgrowth of Clostridium difficile or C. diff. This organism inflames the intestine and causes diarrhea that just seems to last forever. Even though you stop the antibiotics, its already too late, the C. diff is already active.
C. diff. is also quite contagious and very hard to kill. The normal household bathroom cleaners won’t work; the organisms actually have little shells on them called spores that only bleach can cut through. The alcohol h and sanitizers do not work either; you must actually use soap and water to wash the spores off your hands and down the sink. Unfortunately, if you are sharing bathrooms and other utensils with someone that has C. diff. diarrhea, you run the risk of getting it too.
C. diff. is actually treated with another specific antibiotic, an antifungal med, and now they are recommending Probiotics. And even though you will kill the C. diff. organism, it has about a 25-30 percent recurrence rate; just something to be watchful for.