By: Christian John Lillis
PLF Board members Christina Fuhrman and Dr. Bruce Hirsch are featured in this story on healthline.com.
She Recovered from a C. diff Infection, Then Her Daughter Got It Too
Three months before her wedding in 2012, Christina Fuhrman was hospitalized due to severe diarrhea.
“The day I started feeling sick, I hosted a bachelorette party for my best friend. We were on a boat trip and… I was tired and going to the bathroom a lot. It progressed from… having
frequent large bowel movements to me quickly becoming so ill that I was decimating parts of my intestines,” Fuhrman told Healthline.
During her first visit with her primary care doctor, Fuhrman was told she most likely had a virus that would go away in a few days.
However, as she experienced increased pain and more frequent diarrhea over the course of a few weeks, her doctor recommended she visit the emergency room.
At the hospital, she received a diagnosis of Clostridium difficile (C. diff), a bacterium that can cause life threatening inflammation of the colon.
“C. diff used to be a disease that affected old people, so it wasn’t the first thing doctors thought of with me. In fact, in the hospital they tested me for cholera before C. diff,” Fuhrman said.
Dr. Bruce E. Hirsch, attending physician and assistant professor in the infectious disease division of Northwell Health, says C. diff is a peculiar infection.
“In contrast to other infections in which a bacteria invades the body and causes inflammation and the body fights it, and antibiotics help kill it, C. diff is contained inside the large intestine. It stays inside the colon and it makes toxins. Those toxins cause intense inflammation of the colon,” Hirsch told Healthline.
The inflammation causes severe diarrhea, which puts a person at risk for dehydration.