You may be stunned by the seeming simplicity of the term Fecal Bacteriotherapy but can get lost in its meaning. It is actually a more complicated-sounding term for fecal transfusion which to the layman simply means poop transplant.
That can be gross to most people until they realize that fecal transplant is actually a medical treatment for those who suffer from ulcerative colitis or pseudomembranous colitis, more technical terms for the common diarrhea and inflammatory bowel disease.
History of fecal transfusion
Health testing can be done at home but if you are suffering from the said illnesses with complications or severe abdominal pain and fever then it might be better to see a doctor who can advise you to get a better health testing option or remedy like fecal transfusion.
For gastroenterologist Lawrence Brandt of the Bronx Montefiore Medical Center, fecal transfer is a common medical procedure. In fact, he has been transplanting stool for a decade now to help patients suffering from severely painful diarrhea as a result of Clostridium difficile infection.
With fecal transfer, Brandt believes that he has finally stumbled into a procedure that will treat Clostridium infection, a medical problem which infects up to 250,000 Americans annually. The procedure is actually not new as the same approach has been used among animals like chicken, to prevent salmonellosis. A team of doctors in Sydney, Australia headed by Dr. Thomas J. Borody is also developing the procedure as an alternative treatment for C. difficile infection.
Fecal transfer, as its name suggest, requires the transfer of the normal bacteria found in fecal matter sourced from a healthy donor. While a one-time fecal transfer works for some patients, some require five to ten days of fecal transfer to allow full recovery. It is recommended that the stool be sourced from a close relative who has undergone worms in humans and other health testing.
Unlike other medical home testing procedures, fecal transfusion should only be done under the supervision of a doctor and in a hospital environment. And even if the patient registers free from the symptoms of the infection, the procedure should be followed by regular check-ups for a year.
Fecal transfusion is however not the first recourse for doctors when it comes to such infections. Doctors usually prescribe antibiotics for their patients but if that fails, then the next best option is fecal transfer.
Pros and Cons of Fecal Transfusion
For patients who have suffered from severe pain and other manifestations of diarrhea and the C. difficile infection, fecal transfusion is heaven sent. Aside from the almost immediate relief from the illness, the risk of cultivating bacteria that has become resistant to antibiotic once the latter has already been introduced is also reduced by the procedure.
But while fecal transfusion has been used by doctors for years, it still remains an alternative, if not a last resort when antibiotics and all else fail. For one, the use of antibiotics is less invasive than the transfer of stool. The procedure, including the screening for donor stool, is also not covered by Medicare which is problematic for most patients. Until controlled trials studying the efficacy of the procedure are done, fecal transfer will remain an alternative to the more proven and traditional method of treating the C. difficule infection.