Clostridioides difficile infection

An overview of Providence Health Care’s services and resources for patients experiencing clostridioides difficile infection.


Clostridioides difficile — or C. diff — is an infection. It occurs when a contagious bacterium infects your colon.

C. diff causes inflammation that ranges from mild to severe. In rare cases, C. diff can be life-threatening.

C. diff most often occurs in older adults and people who are taking antibiotics.

Providence Health Care takes rigorous measures to prevent the spread of C. diff at our hospitals. These include St. Paul’s Hospital, Mount Saint Joseph Hospital and Holy Family Hospital. Patients who may have C. diff are isolated, and special cleaning procedures used. 

Diagnosis & testing

If we think you have C. diff, we will look for evidence of the bacterium in your stool.

If we diagnose you with C. diff, we may recommend other tests to check for complications, such as:

Treatment & management

If you have C. diff, you will need to take a course of antibiotics, such as metronidazole or vancomycin.

You may be already taking antibiotics when you are diagnosed. If you are, we'll recommend that you stop taking the antibiotics that triggered your infection.

You will also need to drink lots of water to avoid dehydration.

If you are at St. Paul’s Hospital, Mount Saint Joseph Hospital or Holy Family Hospital, we will connect you to an intravenous (IV) tube. This tube will deliver antibiotics and fluid directly to your bloodstream.

In very rare cases, C. diff will damage part of your colon. If this happens, you will need a special type of surgery called a colectomy. Our surgeons will remove the infected part of your colon. They will then connect your healthy parts to your lower intestine or rectum.

Support services

Providence offers a variety of services to support those we care for. The following services may be of use or benefit to you and your families.

Support for Indigenous Peoples

The Indigenous Wellness Liaison Team is here to support your health journey. Team members offer cultural support and healthcare advocacy. Learn more below or call them at 604-682-2344,62937 or email

  • Indigenous wellness services

    The Indigenous Wellness Team at Providence is available to support Indigenous patients and their families. We are here to coordinate culturally safe wellness supports and services.

Education & resources

Clinical trials & research

Advances in C. diff treatments are all thanks to medical research. While participating in research is a decision you should make for yourself in consultation with your care team, there is much activity in this area so please ask us about our research programs if you’re interested.

By taking part in research, you can help us all learn more about C. diff and find better ways to help people like you live and thrive with the condition. While you cannot assume benefit to yourself, your participation can make a difference in improving care for future patients.

The following clinical trials are currently enrolling volunteers. Please ask your care team for more information or contact the research team listed on each study or trial. For other information about research at Providence Health Care, please visit Providence Research.

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