C. diff Testing

C. diff Testing: What You Need to Know

C. diff testing, also known as Clostridioides difficile testing, is an important part of diagnosing and treating an infection that can occur in the digestive system. Knowing when and why to get tested as well as the potential risks associated with C. diff is critical to successful treatment.


When being tested for C. diff, some preparation may be needed beforehand. Depending on the type of test being done, you may be asked to stop taking certain medications, change your regular diet, or make other preparations. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information.


C. diff testing involves taking a sample from the body in the form of a stool, urine, or rectal swab. This sample is then sent to a laboratory for testing. If the test results come back positive, additional tests may be needed to confirm the diagnosis. Your healthcare provider will be able to explain the results and any additional testing that may be necessary.

Types of Tests

There are several types of C. diff tests available, including:

  • Enzyme immunoassay (EIA) – A rapid test that detects the toxins produced by C. diff.
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) – A lab test that quickly detects the presence of C. diff.
  • Culture – A test that looks for C. diff in the stool over a longer period of time.

Risks of Testing

The risks associated with C. diff testing are generally minimal, but it is important to follow all of your healthcare provider’s instructions for any tests that you undergo. Since medications and diet changes may be necessary, talk to your healthcare provider about any risks that may be associated with the testing process.

Why Get Tested?

C. diff testing is important for diagnosing and treating an infection that can cause a wide range of symptoms, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever. Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce the severity of symptoms and prevent any further spread of the infection.

When to Get Tested

The timing of C. diff testing depends on the type of symptoms you are experiencing. Generally, it is recommended that people who are experiencing any of the following symptoms are tested for C. diff:

  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Bloody stools

If you believe you may be infected with C. diff, talk to your healthcare provider about getting tested as soon as possible.