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Amber J. Tresca

Would You Try Fecal Transplantation?

By June 7, 2011

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A therapy known as fecal bacteriotherapy (FB) or fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), which has been done in some form or other for over 50 years, is gaining new traction. The large bowel is a complex synergy of bacteria, and when something goes wrong, it could result in illness or disease. The first uses of FB were for treating bacterial infections. It is theorized that this therapy could also have application for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is not currently known was causes IBD, but it's theorized that an altered bacterial flora or a foreign bacteria could be a contributing factor.

What is FB? It's pretty much what it sounds like: a healthy person donates their fecal matter (stool), which is then implanted in the large intestine of the sick person. Obviously there are a lot of steps in between and it's a bit more technical than that, but this is the basic premise of the treatment. There has been one small preliminary study done that shows that it might be effective in treating ulcerative colitis. That got some physicians at the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at the University of Chicago wondering: would people with ulcerative colitis actually consent to having this procedure done?

As it turns out, the people with ulcerative colitis and the parents of children with IBD that were questioned for the study were overwhelmingly interested in FB. In fact, they were "eager for it to become available."

What do you think? Would you try FB? Vote in the poll below.


Borody TJ, Warren EF, Leis S, Surace R, Ashman O. "Treatment of ulcerative colitis using fecal bacteriotherapy." J Clin Gastroenterol 2003 Jul;37:42-47. 5 Jun 2011.

Kahn SA, Gorawara-Bhat R, Rubin DT. "Fecal bacteriotherapy for ulcerative colitis: Patients are ready, are we?" Inflamm Bowel Dis 25 May 2011 DOI: 10.1002/ibd.21775. 5 Jun 2011.

February 18, 2013 at 1:40 pm
(1) John Mullins says:

Let me say now that I’m not sure if I would have this treatment, but then again who knows? At St. Marks Hospital in the UK they are researching whether this will help with treating pouchitis in patients with an ileoanal pouch. At an information day we organise, the nurse specialist from St. Marks told us about this research. I was really surprised at just how many people would be keen to try it. Somebody even asked if it could be made into a drink so it was easier to deliver to the patient rather than the traditional NG tube, ewwwwww….

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