Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Fecal transplants, also called fecal microbiota transplants are a way to change the micro flora of large intestine. Healthy donor stool is collected, suspended in water, normal saline or milk and given to the patient through enema, nasogastric tube, or other scopes or tubes.
I first heard about fecal transplants about six weeks ago at a naturopathic gastroenterology seminar. It was presented by a young naturopathic physician, Mark Davis. He had only been a licensed ND for four months, but had been researching this while he was a student.
Fecal transplants are not a new thing. The earliest documented use in humans goes back to 1958, when Ben Eiseman, MD and William Silen, MD coauthored “Fecal enema as an adjunct in the treatment of pseudomembranous enterocolitis”.
Since then there have been several articles written about how it has helped cure ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome and hospital acquired clostridium difficile. I could cite them all, but that would make a very boring blog post!
It sounds quite gross but it makes a lot of sense. Probiotics in yogurt or supplements have 1 to 15 of the microbes that the feces have and they help somewhat in many types of digestive disturbances. Donor stool will have 500 to 1,000 species. From what I’ve read, 85 to 95% of C diff colitis patients treated with fecal transplant have been cured, and 50-90% of IBD and IBS patients respond.
Of course you want to have a healthy donor that has been tested for communicable disease and no history of gastrointestinal issues, no recent antibiotic or immunosuppressive or systemic anti neoplastic drug use, food allergies or several other issues.
If you wanted to have a fecal transplant done, you would visit your open-minded gastroenterologist or naturopathic physician in Oregon. Dr. Davis has an at-home protocol as well.
Fecal transplants are not a federally approved treatment as there really isn’t a way to give synthetic feces. (Yet! I’m sure a big pharm place is working on it!) I’ve heard of some studies that are ongoing in Europe and also Seattle, WA.
I think that if I had bowel issues that couldn’t be treated with the usual natural remedies and diet or gentle antibiotics, I would consider getting a fecal transplant. What about you, too gross or possibly a treatment?
-Seminar Notes “Treat the Gut. Addressing CDI, UC, IBS and more with Fecal Microbiota Transplantation” by Mark Davis, ND January 21, 2012