Photo: Taylor McKnight (Flickr)
Doctors have been having remarkable success with a rather unconventional type of treatment: fecal transplantation.
They actually use human stool to treat a nasty intestinal bacteria called Clostridium difficile, or C-diff for short. A healthy intestine is home to trillions of microorganisms.
They’re commonly known as gut “microbiota” or “flora,” and they’re important for breaking down carbohydrates, enhancing the immune system, and blocking the growth of harmful organisms. However, strong antibiotics often attack this “good” gut flora. Once it’s gone, “bad” bacteria like C-diff can easily cause an infection.
To be blunt: it gives you the runs. Badly. And, it’s not easy to get rid of. Only a couple of drugs can fight it, and patients often suffer recurrences.
With each “re run” the likelihood of complete recovery diminishes, which is why doctors have turned to fecal transplants. You see, a small amount of healthy stool acts like a “starter colony” for gut flora. So, stool transplants help patients cultivate the microorganisms their bodies need to fight off C-diff for good.
Fecal transplants have been over 90% successful against recurrent C-diff, and scientists are very excited about this success. With additional research, they hope to discover even more ways to put the “excellence of excrement” to medical use!