The Cutting-Edge, Natural Way to Deal with Serious Gut Problems

Fecal transplant is making news as a viable treatment as our understanding of how gut health is related to general health grows.

Leah Zerbe October 16, 2013

Fecal transplants could be the simple new way to deal with certain gut infections and diseases.

Your fecal transplant news of the day: Three more studies suggest that implanting poop from a healthy person into the gastrointestinal tract of someone suffering with certain gut diseases or infection could help them recover.

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The latest trio of studies was presented recently at the 78th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology. In the first study, fecal matter was transplanted from one person into a patient with a weak immune system who was suffering from a Clostridium difficile, or C. diff., infection, a hard-to-treat infection often caught in hospital settings. Of the 66 C. diff. patients in the study, 78 percent were cured after a single transplant!

The idea is that the beneficial bacteria in the transplanted poop can help recolonize patients' guts with the healthy bacteria they need to fight disease. Another new study found similar results in using fecal transplants to knock down C. diff., while a third found they helped alleviate irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms. That small study looked at 13 patients with IBS who had not responded to previous treatment. After a fecal transplant, symptoms improved in 70 percent of the IBS patients, with nearly half reporting an improved quality of life.

Fecal transplants aren't common across the country yet, but an increasing number of hospitals are turning to this more natural method to help combat tough infections. More research is needed, especially to analyze the procedure's role in helping to quell the symptoms related to IBS and Crohn's disease, many researchers say.