The Latest Scoop on Poop Transplants – What You Need to Know

It’s always interesting and exciting to read media coverage about fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) and how this potentially life-saving procedure has increasingly gained attention and adoption as a treatment for severe cases of Clostridium difficile (C diff) an intestinal infection often triggered after a course of antibiotics wipes out all the good bacteria in the gut. It’s also one of the deadliest antibiotic-resistant threats in the US, costing the healthcare system an estimated $5 billion each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Over the past several years, research in this area has expanded to other health conditions, like ulcerative colitis, and methods of delivery, such as freeze-dried capsules.  However, there are key things you should know if you or a loved one are considering this procedure, including what the scientific evidence says, who is a good candidate for the procedure, and the current regulatory issues, surrounded the procedure. So it is vital that patients talk to their doctors about the procedure and if it is appropriate for their personal health situation.

A recent article in Wired, “Patients Want Poop Transplants. Here’s How to Make Them Safe” provides a good overview of the current state of poop transplants and features Neil H. Stollman, MD, FACG, a board-certified gastroenterologist in Oakland, California, and fellow of the American College of Gastroenterology, who is credited with bring the procedure to the west coast.

Dr. Stollman told Wired that his first patient was a woman in her 80s with a “horrible case” of C diff. “Drugs had stopped working for the woman, and without some kind of treatment, she was going to die.”

Neil. H. Stollman, MD FACG

Dr. Stollman also told Wired that he “used to be the only guy doing this for 500 miles and had to beg my staff to do it.” Today, 98 percent of the US population lives within two hours of a fecal transplant provider. But there are still questions involving the regulatory environment for this procedure. Read more in the Wired article, “Patients Want Poop Transplants. Here’s How to Make Them Safe”.

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