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Healing approaches mentioned in this blog are for educational purposes only. Suggested supplements, etc. should not be used as replacements for conventional medical treatment without guidance from a licensed and trained medical professional.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fecal Transplants

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




  1. My cat Smith, which looks exactly like the cat at the top of your page, has desperate bowel and small intestine issues. We have tried everything. Multiple and prolonged courses of antibiotics, multiple kinds of antibiotics, immune suppressants, you name it. Finally, I got him SOME window of relief using a strict no grain diet, but, he found some grain, and he is flared up again and its not calming down. He is miserable, it hurts him, he has to take Cerenia constantly just to control his vomiting. It is really bad.

    I want to try fecal transplant, my vet, and the vets at University of Tennessee are unwilling to help. I am going to try anyway, on my own. I do not want to use enema, as I have never done one before, and I do not want to harm him. I am considering ordering #4 gel caps, and filling them with feces from my healthy donor cat. Do you think this could conceivably work? Will the bacteria make it through the stomach? Obviously, I'm desperate. I know no one can tell me "sure, go ahead" or 'that is a great idea" because it is experimental.

    My mind is made up, it is going to happen, so your comment will not be encouraging me, it is just a matter of how it is going to happen. I want to try it in the safest effective way.

    1. Hello A.E. Irvin,
      Just wondering if you can give us an update. Did you do the transplant as you described above? Can you give any more details about how you prepared it? How are things going and how is your cat doing? How many times have you repeated the process? Any other information you can share about your experience with this? I have a cat with similar issues and would love to hear about your results. Thank you!