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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 136064, 11 pages
Review Article

Clostridium difficile Infection and Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Review

Division of Gastroenterology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, 676 N St Clair Street, Suite 1400, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

Received 27 February 2011; Revised 17 June 2011; Accepted 5 July 2011

Academic Editor: Genevieve B. Melton-Meaux

Copyright © 2011 Preetika Sinh et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The incidence of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) has significantly increased in the last decade in the United States adding to the health care burden of the country. Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have a higher prevalence of CDI and worse outcomes. In the past, the traditional risk factors for CDI were exposure to antibiotics and hospitalizations in elderly people. Today, it is not uncommon to diagnose CDI in a pregnant women or young adult who has no risk factors. C. difficile can be detected at the initial presentation of IBD, during a relapse or in asymptomatic carriers. It is important to keep a high index of suspicion for CDI in IBD patients and initiate prompt treatment to minimize complications. We summarize here the changing epidemiology, pathogenesis, risk factors, clinical features, and treatment of CDI in IBD.