Is there really such a thing as a fecal transplant?

Fecal transplant is a transplant of feces from a healthy individual to a patient with a medical condition.

The feces is obtained from the healthy donor, and then transferred by either an enema, a tube that goes from the stomach into the intestine, or a capsule of freeze-dried feces that is swallowed.

Why do we transplant feces?  There has been an epidemic of a type of diarrhea caused by the bacteria “C. difficile”, or C. diff for short.  It is usually caused by taking antibiotics, which can reduce the “good” type of bacteria we have in our guts.  It is typically treated by giving even more antibiotics, but it has become very resistant to treatment.

Fecal transplant works by transferring the “good” bacteria and natural antibacterials that we have in our gut to the sick patient.   This builds up their own immune system again to get rid of the C. diff infection.

Does it work?  The success rate for fecal transplant is over 90%, even for patients who have failed standard treatments for their C. diff infection.


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