Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Green Goblin

I had an experience today that prompted me to unshelf a book I received for Christmas this year, a sort of fecal encyclopedia. Check out this terrifying chapter from the book "What's Your Poo Telling You?" by Josh Richman and Anish Sheth, M.D.:

The Green Goblin, thought thankfully rare, is an explosion of foul-smelling diarrhea that is characterized by its viridian hue. Although various foods can lend normal poo a greenish tint, this bowel movement's deep-set, blackish green appearance makes it seem as if you are viewing it through night-vision goggles. Also distinguishing this poo from more benign green poos is its liquid form and associated symptoms of fever and abdominal pain. More often than not, this poo transformation occurs following a course of antibiotics for a tooth abscess or sinus infection.

Dr. Stool Says: This diarrheal illness is caused by the overgrowth of a specific bacterium in the colon called Clostridium difficile. The use of the antibiotics upsets the natural balance of "good" and "bad" bacteria in our intestines and allows the proliferation of this particularly harmful organism, which, in turn, results in inflammation of the colonic lining and causes profuse diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever. Medical treatment is with a different type of antibiotic that specifically attacks Clostridium difficile.