Pseudomembranous Colitis

Most antibiotics can cause this. They kill the normal flora, and allow Clostridium difficile to overgrow. This microbe in turn produces a poison which damages the cells that line the interior of the colon.

The pseudomembrane blocks the absorptive surface layer, and the damaged tissue also oozes salt water. This can lead to a lot more problems.

Some pathologists compare little patches of pseudomembrane like this one to mushrooms. Notice how the membrane is composed of fibrin, and adheres to the damaged colon surface. Since it is actually fibrin produced from the surface, it's called a pseudomembrane, as in diphtheria, to distinguish it from something with am actual, defined, anatomic border.


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