How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Hasan Your Own Question
Dr. Hasan
Dr. Hasan, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 8581
Experience:  MBBS, FCPS, with experience in all fields of medicine and surgery
Type Your Medical Question Here...
Dr. Hasan is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

what is the difference "symptom wise" between IBS and C-diff?

Resolved Question:

what is the difference "symptom wise" between IBS and C-diff? I am a 37 year old female. I have been having IBS issues for the last year. My symptoms are mainly intestinal pain and soreness that would come and go over the past year. My gasto doc said IBS. I have other health issues as well ( interstitial cystitis, Chronic UTI's that are controlled with preventative Antibitoics, fibromylgia). This past 2 weeks I noticed my intestinal issues have been worse than normal. I am having just a constant abdominal crampiness and icky feeling inside. I have not had any major diareha, but my stools are alot of the times on the softer side and after I have a BM, I will still feel crampy and like I am having that feeling like I am going to have to again. When I was last at my gastroenterologist which was about 6 months ago, I sent in a stool specimin and it was tested for parasites and c-diff and they were both negative. This was just to rule these things out at that time. My current medciations are: keflex low dose daily to prevent UTI's( have been on this for over three years now) and zyrtec once daily. I asked my gastro doc about the keflex and was worried about the whole C-diff thing since I am on a long term low dose anti-B. He told me he highly doubted that I would get C-diff since I have been on the low dose keflex for so long and if I was going to get c-diff from the keflex, I would have gotten it a long time ago. I also take probiotics daily and have been for years on my gastroebterologists advice.

My question is: how do you tell the difference between IBS symptoms and C-diff symptoms?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Hasan replied 5 years ago.

Thanks for your question.

There are several differences between the symptoms of both diseases.

Although some symptoms like diarrhea, flatulence, bloated feeling etc can be common to both but in C diff usually diarrhea is continuous and can be accompanied by blood or mucus or pus in stool however its not so in IBS. Fever can be seen in C Diff but not in IBS. Diarrhea is watery usually in C Diff but not usually in IBS. In IBS there are bouts of constipation in between but its not so in C Diff.

Moreover on investigations C Diff shows the organisms in stool culture but IBS doesnot. On colonoscopy intestines may be inflammed in C Diff but not in IBS.

IBS is diagnosis of exclusion so if investigations are fine as in your case, your problem is likely to be IBS rather than C Diff.

In short the C diff symptoms and IBS can be confusing when C diff is in initial stages but this is as per symptoms. Once tests are done and they show no growth then its IBS rather than C Diff.

I hope this helps you.

Please ask for any query

please click accept if i have answered your question


DR Hasan

Customer: replied 5 years ago.


Thank you Dr. Hasan for your reply.


As I mentioned in my earlier post, I did have a stool culture done about 6 months ago to check for c-diff and it was nagative. But I have been feeling worse the last couple weeks. Is this common with IBS, for it to change or be worse at times? Also, me being on the low dose keflex for three years now, do you in your professional opinion believe that since I have been on the low dose keflex for so long, would I have already gotten c-diff a long time ago if I was going to get it from taking the low dose keflex? I was told that keflex is not a huge cause in c-diff like the second and third generations, is this true?? Also I mentioned I do take probitoics daily, is this suppose to help prevent c-diff??

Expert:  Dr. Hasan replied 5 years ago.
Thanks a lot for your reply.

Yes its really possible and common for IBS to behave like this. It can be worse at times and can be with minimal to no symptoms at other times. As you know many factors are behind IBS so if anyone of that come in to play the pattern changes.

Yes its true that keflex is not something common to cause C Diff and if your culture was negative then i assure you that you should not worry about C diff. If you had ever got C diff from keflex you would have got the symptoms which you donot have as i mentioned earlier.

Yes probiotics help with C Diff definitely.

In my opinion if you are worried about C diff, get a culture again. I know it will be clear but atleast it will help you in getting peace of mind because peace of mind helps IBS for sure.

I really wish that you get well soon.

I hope this helps you.

Please ask for any query

please click accept if i have answered your question


DR Hasan
Dr. Hasan and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you