By the time your doctor detects pseudomembranous colitis, you may already be seriously ill. If the condition isn't successfully treated when diagnosed, a number of complications can develop, including:

  • Abnormally low levels of potassium in your blood (hypokalemia), due to the loss of potassium during excessive diarrhea
  • Dehydration leading to abnormally low blood pressure (hypotension), related to significant loss of fluids and electrolytes due to diarrhea
  • Recurrence of pseudomembranous colitis, days or even weeks after initial treatment
  • Kidney failure, due to severe dehydration resulting from diarrhea
  • A hole in your bowel (perforated colon), which can lead to an infection of your abdominal cavity
  • Toxic megacolon, a rare but serious swelling of the colon, leaving it incapable of expelling gas and stool, which could cause your colon to rupture

Most people respond well to treatment. But pseudomembranous colitis can be fatal without effective treatment.

Dec. 05, 2012