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Friday, March 20, 2015

Fecal Transplants: Can Help Colitis, Candida, IBS and More

Why would it be beneficial, or even safe, to transplant stool from one person to another, you might be wondering? It turns out there are millions of live, beneficial strains of bacteria that live inside of our colons. Poop itself contains over 500 forms of bacteria and potentially 4,000 unique microbes that are found in our gut "microbiome."

Your microbiome is like a little world, or ecosystem, inside your gut that contains all of the good and bad bacteria that control how your body digests and processes nutrients. It is as unique as a fingerprint, and reflects all the damage that your gut has experienced such as medications, processed foods, parasites, etc, according to what your body has interacted with over the course of you lifetime.

So what if you could take all the wear and tear bacteria that have grown up from misuse and substitute a whole new "world" for your body to process nutrition and grow new healthy cells from? Essentially this is what FMT is — a whole system reboot from the inside-out!

According to the Centre for Digestive Diseases in Sydney Australia, "to understand the utility of FMT, it is first necessary to appreciate the compositional complexity of the GI microbiota, along with its associated functional implications. There are over 10 trillion bacterial cells in our body — 10 times more than the amount of human cells — and most of these bacterial cells reside in the GI tract."

People who suffer from digestive infections and disorders — such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis — typically have a high amount of harmful "bad" bacteria living inside of their gut and, unfortunately, a low amount of healthy "good" bacteria.

Either due to a disorder or certain lifestyle factors, like a poor diet and long-term antibiotic use, the good bacteria that are normally present have been killed or suppressed. So, for those people with such a compromised gut, a fecal transplant is worth considering. They essentially benefit from having another person's good bacteria inhabit their own gut and getting their digestive system rebalanced.


Mary Kay Wilkie, 52, of North Syracuse got C. diff last year. She was taken by ambulance to St. Joe's with severe stomach pain. When a doctor discussed the possibility of doing a fecal transplant, Wilkie thought the procedure sounded disgusting. "But I was so sick I was willing to try anything," she said.

Wilkie's sister donated stool for a transplant after tests showed she had no infectious diseases.

"I was on my deathbed," Wilkie said. "I couldn't eat, I couldn't drink. I had a feeding tube. I was a skeleton."

Three to four days after the transplant, Wilkie's stomach pain subsided and she began eating and drinking again. She fully recovered. Wilkie said the disgusting sounding procedure saved her life.


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