Abdominal pain and diarrhea had taken over Mary*’s life. Every few hours, she had to run to the bathroom, a pattern that eventually led to her losing her job. Worst of all, she couldn’t spend time with her grandchildren because she was afraid they would get sick too.
When he went to his appointment to see Teena Chopra, MD, MPHinfectious disease specialist and professor of medicine at Wayne State University in Detroit, tests revealed that the cause of her condition was a bacterial infection called Clostridioides difficile either C. difference. The infection caused her to develop colitisan inflammation of the colon, which triggered diarrhea and abdominal pain.
“C. difference [infection] “It has been around for years, but its prevalence has increased because we are using a lot of antibiotics and because more people are exposed to the hospital environment,” Chopra said. “As we age, we are also more susceptible because our immunity decreases. It is an annoying disease because it causes diarrhea and affects people’s quality of life.”
C. difference is he Most common healthcare-associated infection in the US.., With almost Half a million cases and as many as 30,000 deaths reported each year. What worries health professionals (HCPs) and researchers now is the increase in recurrent infections, which puts C. difference in the category of infections considered urgent threats to public health by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
How C. diff infections occur
Our bodies have trillions of bacteria and most of our bacteria in our gut make up what is called the gut microbiome. Our organ systems We depend on a balanced microbiome to stay healthy.
When bad bacteria like it C. difference outcompete healthy bacteria, dysbiosis, a technical term for an imbalance in the gut microbiome. A healthy microbiome can prevent C. difference multiply in the intestine, but if there is an imbalance, C. difference bacteria can grow. That leads to the production of toxins that cause an inflammatory response in the colon and can trigger debilitating symptoms, such as diarrhea, fever, stomach tenderness or pain, loss of appetite, and nausea.
C. difference Bacteria can be all around us, but an infection occurs most often when people take antibiotics. Antibiotics kill bad bacteria in the gut, but they can also kill good bacteria that help prevent infections. People can also get a C. difference infection from surfaces or objects containing C. difference spores, which can remain on surfaces for a long period of time.
Autoimmune diseases, HIV and cancer are among the conditions that can alter the gut microbiome, but so can treatments such as chemotherapy and steroids. Simply being in the hospital, clinic, or long-term care facility can put you at risk for a stroke. C. difference infection. Many people who spend a lot of time in healthcare settings already have weakened immune systems, which increases the risk of infection. Even those who work as healthcare professionals could face an increased risk of C. difference infection due to increased exposure.
The unique burden of C. diff infection for women
Anyone can get a C. difference infection, but certain biological, physical, and lifestyle factors put women at higher risk. These factors include:
- biology: Women’s reproductive anatomy makes them more likely to develop conditions that require antibiotic treatment, such as bacterial vaginosis and urinary tract infections. Many cases of C. difference Infection occurs after taking antibiotics because these medications can destroy the good bacteria that help fight infections, along with the bad bacteria.
- Pregnancy and childbirth: Changes in the immune system that take place during the pregnancy increase the chance of bacterial infections leading to antibiotic treatment. Women who deliver by cesarean section are also at higher risk for hospital-associated infections due to the surgery, longer hospital stays, and antibiotic use. There has also been a increase in the number of postpartum women with C. difference infection, probably because they were exposed during their hospital stay.
- Exposure to healthcare environments.: Everyone has medical appointments, but women tend to be more exposed to healthcare environments because see their doctor in the office more often than men. Also almost 9 out of 10 The percentage of nursing, psychiatric, and home care aides in institutional, home, and community settings are women.
- Socioeconomic status: Women from underserved communities could face a delay in diagnosis and treatment. “It is important to highlight the social determinants of health in women of color and low-income women,” Chopra said. “There may be a lack of trust in health systems [among these communities]so it is important to have more awareness and education around C. difference infection.”
- Age: Advancing age puts everyone at greater risk of C. difference infection due to a reduced ability to mount a strong immune response to a bacterial infection.
Take care of yourself
Awareness of C. difference The infection and its risk factors can help women reduce their risk of getting the infection and help them receive appropriate treatment if they do get it. If you experience ongoing diarrhea, fever, stomach tenderness or pain, loss of appetite, or nausea, you should consult your doctor about specific treatment. C. difference infection test.
You can reduce your risk of C. difference infection by washing hands with soap and water. He rubbing friction eliminates spores. Surfaces and bathrooms should be cleaned with bleach, the only agent that can help remove C. difference bacteria.
If you have an asset C. difference infection, these practices are even more important because C. difference spores can live on surfaces for months.
Lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet and exercise, are also important for maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. Chopra said that a diverse diet with more plant-based foods and Fermented products can help.. And it is also important to avoid foods and drinks high in sugar because Intestinal bacteria feed on sugar.. Exercise It may also promote positive changes in the gut microbiome.
These changes can help reduce the risk of infection and help improve your overall health, Chopra said. He added that it’s important for women (who are everything from caregivers and mothers to CEOs) to not forget about their own lifestyle and health.
*María is not her real name.
This educational resource was created with support from Ferring Pharmaceuticals USA.
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