Why poo isn’t a dirty word anymore when it comes to our health… and survival 27



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It might make you shudder a little, but this radical new treatment is creating quite a buzz in the medical world. It has been shown to have a 90 per cent success rate in treating a common infection for older people, and is described by the Mayo Clinic as “quick and effective”.

The thing is, it involves poo – and worse still, someone else’s poo, which is introduced into your bowel to overwhelm pathogens and restore health to your gut.

The gut is an important reservoir for drug-resistant bacteria responsible for life-threatening hospital-acquired infections.

Faecal transplant is of growing interest to health experts, and has been used to treat symptoms of IBS, for chronic diarrhoea caused by an infection called Clostridium difficile, and to overcome parasitic infections. And now a new study shows it could be used in the fight against deadly hospital superbugs.

A research team from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York investigated the interactions between vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) and multi-drug resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae in the intestinal environment. Together, these two pathogens are responsible for about 10 per cent of serious hospital-acquired infections. Both can colonise the gut and spread from there to cause localised or systemic infections.

In trials, they showed that transplanting healthy faeces into mice decrease the incidence of K. pneumoniae within one day and became undetectable within seven days. VRE was cleared in 60 per cent of the mice and reduced by a thousand-fold in the remaining 40 per cent.

Faecal transplants could provide the answer to the growing problems of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and parasites, provided we can get over the ick-factor.

The procedure itself is reasonably straight-forward. Donor stool is screened for parasites and infectious organisms, diluted with saline and strained. It is administered via colonoscopy or endoscopy. Typically, a person’s preference is to use a family member as the donor, which may have you quizzing your loved ones about their gut health… or it might not!

Tell us, would you be open to this treatment is it was required – or is it just too gross to contemplate?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I would eat many different forms of pre and probiotics from many food sources, fermented vegetables, yogurt, koombucha and kefir before I would give this a go, it would depend on how unwell I was I suppose.

  2. Whatever happened to yoghurt giving you the good gut bugs??….that’s definitely MY preference!

    1 REPLY
    • Far more gut bugs needed that what a single type of yoghurt could deliver.Scientists are discovering more and more all the time.

  3. This is the first time l have heard of this proceedure. Iam sure if l was ill enough and there was enough evidence to support the benefits of this treatment , then yes l would do it.

  4. My husband used to suffer from IBS symptoms. Bloating, cramping, alternating between constipation and diarrhoea etc. About 10 years ago I read an article about probiotics and started him on Inner Health Plus. Within 6 weeks his symptoms had vanished and he has been symptom free ever since. When my daughter was 14 she started displaying the same symptoms so I started her on it as well and she had no problems. I now take a capsule every day as well just to be sure.

    5 REPLY
    • Just as an afterthought my mum was passing brown water and her life was very difficult because of it. After my husbands success I started her on Inner Health Plus. In her case it took about 6 months for her to pass a ‘normal motion. The improvement was gradual and constant.

  5. I have seen TV of those who have received these treatments and they were so grateful to be rid of their serious problems. I would be too. I take a probiotic containing more than a dozen different strains of good gut bugs – but there are lots more strains than that. By the time the poo has been through the laboratory it is just the bit they want with the required gut bugs in it. Babies inherit their mother’s gut bugs through being born naturally and/or through breast milk. If you haven’t inherited the bug you need from your mother, you never will have them except from someone who has the required strain of gut bug.

  6. I saw something the other day where they were saying 90% of the human body is some form of bacteria so if it is going to stabilise the mix in the stomach why not.

    Or switch to a macrobiotic diet.

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