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New York

Joan Hardin


There are several strains of C. diff, ranging from the extremely virulent type that killed Peggy Lillis so quickly after she took antibiotics for a dental problem to a milder form that I battled for many months. An overrun of the bug causes diarrhea and colitis. If the infection is one of the virulent strains, it can also cause septicemia, resulting in death, which is what happened to Peggy. After my own experience with a lesser strain of C. diff, I now refer to it as “the cockroach of bacteria” – it is called a super bug because it has some very clever ways of avoiding destruction and has made itself resistant to almost all antibiotics.

As part of your education about the situation with C. diff, I want to share my story of how I vanquished a quite unpleasant infection of its A & B strains — the less virulent ones but still an experience that caused me much distress:

Once the infection was properly identified by stool sample, which also revealed two strains of strep infection and an intestinal parasite I’d picked up on a cruise last year, I decided it made little sense to try to treat any of them with antibiotics. It was antibiotics taken previously for various things that had attacked the balance of good bacteria in my gut in the first place.

So I turned to my team of holistic health care providers for help: Dr. Denice Hilty at Transformational Health Care and Dr. David Miller, the on-site nutritionist at Lifethyme Natural Market. Together, they treated me with various supplements:

Large doses of probiotics to repopulate the good bacteria in my gut
Broccomax, a supplement made from broccoli seeds, which kills C. diff
Allicidin Complex, a supplement made from a wild garlic extract, which breaks open the sacs C. diff forms around itself protect themselves from being killed off
Saccharomyces boulardii + MOS, a useful strain of yeast that 1. Helps maintain integrity of the intestinal wall, 2. Helps bacterial attachment to gut epithelial cells, 3. Reduces proliferation of undesirable bacteria in the GI tract, and 4. Stimulates immune receptors.
And sauerkraut! Fresh sauerkraut or the kind that comes in a jar in a refrigerated section at Whole Foods and elsewhere is very good for treating diarrhea. My favorite is Bubbies. Turns out that, before refrigeration, humans in pretty much all cultures preserved many foods by fermenting them –sauerkraut, tempeh (fermented soybeans), miso (fermented soybean paste), kimchi, dry sausages, and pickles, among others. We stopped eating those foods so much when we turned to refrigerated and frozen foods as well as foods preserved with chemicals. The fermentation process develops lots of probiotics, the friendly bacteria our guts need to maintain good health.
My guess is that the current practice of treating C. diff with the few antibiotics it is not yet resistant to will only cause it to develop ever more virulent strains and there won’t be any antibiotics left in the medical arsenal to use against it.

What I’d like you to take away from this is threefold:

Contact with C. diff is almost impossible to avoid.
It has been turned into a very bad bug by the over- and mis-use of antibiotics.
Its spread can be limited by good sanitary habits like old-fashioned hand washing, and infections by at least its less virulent strains can be cured without antibiotics. Hand sanitizers do not kill C diff.
Read Joan’s article on how she beat C. diff: Successful Holistic Treatment of Clostridium Difficile Gut Infection

Age


N/A

Gender


Female

Length


Source


Community Acquired

Other Stories


Length: 2 Months

JULIA W.

In February 2020 I was prescribed both clindamycin and cefalexin for a breast abscess. Three weeks after I finished my course of antibiotics, in March 2020, I started to have severe, painful abdominal cramping and diarrhea. Each day became worse and worse until I was up through the night and couldn’t be away from the toilet for more than half an hour.

Length: 6 Months

Ken

It started with a rash on my back that I suspect started from the barber I was seeing.  Scratching it made it worse. I went to the doctor’s office and was tended to by a PA. It was decided that this infection should be treated with a broad-spectrum antibiotic.

Length: 2 Months

JULIA W.

In February 2020 I was prescribed both clindamycin and cefalexin for a breast abscess. Three weeks after I finished my course of antibiotics, in March 2020, I started to have severe, painful abdominal cramping and diarrhea. Each day became worse and worse until I was up through the night and couldn’t be away from the toilet for more than half an hour.

  • Length: 4 months

    Sue G.

    I was pulling vines and weeding in my yard when I felt something on my forehead. An hour later I noticed four small bumps on my eyelid. My forehead was sensitive and swollen. I drove to Urgent Care nearby and a very young nurse practitioner prescr…
  • Melanie

    As a nurse, I had heard of C. diff and treated many patients with it. I never imagined I’d soon become a patient myself. In January of 2023, I was prescribed antibiotics for what I thought was a dental infection. Shortly after, I developed chronic…
  • Length: 2 months

    Kristi M.

    I had a severely infected tooth, but my dentist misdiagnosed my tooth abscess for a more serious facial infection and referred me to the local emergency room. I was given IV Clindamycin, and was sent home with a 10 day prescription for Clindamycin…
  • Suzanne Dee Gorman

    The first time I had C-diff I had spent two months in the hospital waiting to give birth to my daughter during which I had triplets to which I lost two. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl via cesarean section.  A week later, I was still in the …
  • Marlon

    I had C Diff about April 2023, I didn’t know then what it was. It started with a lot of gas, then it continued with diarrhea once a day, then it went to ten times a day. It got so bad that I couldn’t hold any stool as soon as I at I had to use the…
  • Joan Hardin

    There are several strains of C. diff, ranging from the extremely virulent type that killed Peggy Lillis so quickly after she took antibiotics for a dental problem to a milder form that I battled for many months. An overrun of the bug causes diarrh…
  • Length: 6 MONTHS

    Andi L.

    Submitted by her mother, Jennifer Lucas UPDATE: We recently heard from Andi’s mother, Jennifer, who told us that Andi’s most recent treatment was successful and she has been C. diff free from several weeks. Andi, my four-year-old has C-diff …
  • Length: 6 MONTHS

    Chris & Victoria

    In June of 2008, after a grueling first six months of child-rearing, Victoria O’Neal became ill with stomach pains and mild diarrhea. She was prescribed a wide-spectrum antibiotic, which seemed to only make the symptoms worse. After a period of co…
  • Maryann Dillon

    My name is MaryAnn Dillon. I am a Registered Nurse in the Emergency Room at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, where I have worked for about 25 years. I have worked with Helen Biegel, Peggy Lillis’ sister for four years and we have talk…
  • Length: 1 YEAR

    Megan F.

    My name is Megan and I live in Pennsylvania. I am 29, married and have three small children. I have struggled with Clostridium difficile (C. diff) for the past year before receiving a fecal transplant, which has successfully treated the condition …