How is pseudomembranous colitis treated?

The first thing your doctor may recommend is that you stop taking the antibiotic that led to the pseudomembranous colitis infection.

Pseudomembranous colitis is treated with antibiotics that target this infection. In most cases, doctors prescribe metronidazole (Flagyl®), vancomycin (Vancocin®) or fidaxomicin (Dificid®) for up to 14 days.

Pseudomembranous colitis recurs (comes back) in as many as 20% of people who have been treated. If this occurs, your doctor will prescribe another dose of an antibiotic.

A newer treatment known as a fecal transplant uses stool from a healthy donor to help restore normal bacterial flora to your intestine, especially if the infection has returned after the first treatment.

What complications are associated with pseudomembranous colitis?

Complications of pseudomembranous colitis include the following:

  • Some people suffer reinfections with C. diff, which can cause pseudomembranous colitis to recur many times.
  • If your C. diff infection worsens, you may become dehydrated (lose a great deal of fluid) from frequent diarrhea. You may also temporarily lose the ability to pass stool.
  • In rare cases, pseudomembranous colitis causes toxic megacolon (severe intestinal distention, or swelling), intestinal perforation (puncture) or sepsis. These conditions are medical emergencies that must be treated immediately.

Call 911 or go to an emergency room if you have signs of these complications, including:

  • Severe abdominal distention (bloating) and pain
  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Abdominal tenderness

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