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Faecal Transplants Cure Bowel Infections

Updated on November 17, 2013
Clostridium difficile
Clostridium difficile | Source

It sounds disgusting, and probably is, but faecal transplants are now taking place in hospitals in the UK and the US in order to control bowel infections in the most natural way possible, and to save the lives of people who would die otherwise.

We have all heard of the new superbugs, that are antibiotic resistant. They are bacteria that build in the gut and cause all sorts of recurring problems.

Clostridium difficile is one, and if you are unlucky enough to become infected, the antibiotics you take to combat it, will also kill off other naturally occurring bacteria in the gut that may have taken care of the c.difficile instead.

C.difficile has been responsible for many deaths. The only effective medicine against it is antibiotics, and sometimes they don't work.

What happens instead is that the antibiotics kill off all the other bacteria, allowing the c.difficile to explode in numbers.

If this is happening inside your abdomen, you will become very sick indeed with watery diarrhoea and vomiting, and as the toxins released by this bacteria rise in numbers, they could start shutting down your vital organs, and death ensues.

So some doctors came up with the bright idea to use healthy faecal tissue from another person, preferably a close family member from your household, who is likely to already have large numbers of bacteria in their gut that has already been exposed to the c.difficile, and transplant it into your stomach where the fresh influx of this fighting bacteria could get to work taking care of the damaging bacteria.

Bacteria eat other bacterias, and are far more effective at controlling rogue ones than any modern day medicine.


Faecal (fecal) transplants work!

The amazing thing about this treatment is that it works in an incredible 90% of cases.

It is transplanted by means of an naso-gastric tube straight into the stomach where it can get to work.

A small sample of faecal matter is produced by the donor on the morning of the transplant.

It is then blended with salt water before being filtered through a coffee filter.

The remaining liquid is then fed through the nasogastric tube that is inserted in through the patient's nose and pushed all the way down the back of the throat and into the stomach.

Getting a naso-gastric tube inserted is an unpleasant experience, but has got to be better than drinking the concoction the doctor has just rustled together in the hospital kitchen!

Actually just kidding, he'll have prepared it in a lab or somewhere with machines that are never again used to prepare food.

So powerful is this concoction, that only about 30mls - a large tablespoon - of liquid faecal matter is transplanted.

Within hours of this treatment, the vast majority of patients feel a whole lot better, and of those who recovered, which has been 90% of them so far, none have suffered the typical recurring infections c. difficile usually brings.

nasogastric tube
nasogastric tube | Source

Doctors who have carried out faecal transplants

Faecal transplants are not in widespread use.

Very few doctors have carried out the procedure, and no controlled studies have been done.

But when your or a close relative's life is on the line due to an overhwelming antibiotic-resistant bowel infection, a faecal transplant is certainly worth considering.

Disgusting though it may sound, it really can save a life.

One such doctor, Professor Lawrence Brandt, who is a gastroenterologist from Montefiore Medical Center in New York, has carried our faecal transplants more than 3 dozen times, and daily receives daily emails from people desperate to be offered the treatment.

He describes faecal transplants are being the most exciting medical breakthrough to happen in the field of gastroenterology, ever.

As many more doctors throughout the US are now expressing an interest in this treatment, he is hopeful that other gastrointestinal diseases like irritable bowel syndrome may even find a cure using this technique.

Meanwhile, Dr. Alisdair MacConnachie from Gartnavel General Hospital in Glasgow, Scotland is the only doctor in the UK to have carried out faecal transplants.

Out of the 20 patients he has performed this technique on since 2003, 19 have made a complete recovery.

flies on sh*t
flies on sh*t

As the old saying goes

  • "Eat sh*t, 100 million flies can't be wrong!"

It looks very much as if those 100 million flies were indeed correct.


Don't try this at home folks!

The human bowel does indeed carry very many bacteria, most of which are completely harmless, but some of them can be very dangerous indeed.

Always wash your hands after visiting the toilet. Be safe.


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    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from UK

      I think you would need to know as it has to be someone who lives in your house - husband/wife etc. Having said that, family jokes would be 'different' in years to come! Interesting about the horses. You would think they go 'yuk!, I'm not eating that'!

    • CMHypno profile image


      7 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      I was watching a programme last night and apparently vets mix horse manure in water and feed it back to the horse if it has a problem with evacuating its bowels. If it works for horses, then why not for humans. You probably wouldn't want to know who donated their waste matter though - that could be a really awkward conversation!

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from UK

      This is very true. The news articles I read on the subject said that this treatment is not yet in widespread use, because doctors find it very difficult to speak to relatives about this option. Yet if the relatives knew about it, and had a choice to do this, or lose their loved one, it's a no-brainer!

    • CMHypno profile image


      7 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Sounds gross Izzy, but if it means getting better, then I suppose it can only be good. Usually when you feel that ill, you don't much care what they do to you anyway!

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from UK

      I take it the man recovered nicely then Kim? It is amazing how well this procedure works. From lying there, not far from death on a hospital bed, to up and walking around feeling fine in about 6 hours is miraculous.

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from UK

      I agree. It is grotesquely fascinating and works along the same principal that hospitals should be disinfected with spray-on bugs instead of disinfectants which kill all bugs, good and bad. All they need to do is isolate the harmless ones that feed on harmful types, and all will be well!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      well done. I wrote an article about this on Triond a few months ago when a man here in Arizona had the procedure done. Nice work!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      7 years ago from England

      Hi, this is a very clever way of beating those horrible bugs, the Doctors who thought of this are genius, and yes I would definitely do it if it was necessary!

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judi Brown 

      7 years ago from UK

      It's definitely made an impression and should the time come, I shall be first in the queue!

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from UK

      I don't blame you. Read it once and go "ugh!" Still, it is worth remembering should you ever catch c.difficile and need a fast cure.

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judi Brown 

      7 years ago from UK

      I'm glad this works, I am glad it helps people, but I still feel slightly queasy thinking about it! Very interesting. Voted up. Probably won't bookmark though, hope you understand!! ;0


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