) is most common in hospitals and long-term-care clinics, like nursing homes, but it also occurs in nonhospitalized patients who have not taken antibiotics. While being on antibiotics can pave the way for C. diff
, other things can put you at risk as well, including:
- Being at least 65 years old.
- Having abdominal surgery.
- Existing problems or disease in your intestines, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or colon cancer.
- Having a weakened immune system because of chemotherapy or other drugs that suppress the immune system, or AIDS.
- Past infection with C. diff, especially a recent infection.
- Treatment with acid-reducing medications.
If you are healthy, you will most likely not get an infection with C. diff.
Other organisms often found in your GI tract keep it in check by occupying the sites where C. diff
could attach and multiply. Think of these sites as parking spaces — if another organism is already there, C. diff
has nowhere to park. C. diff
is occurring more often in nonhospitalized community patients, who represent about 40 percent of cases.