Fecal Microbiota Transplant
Your body has a lot of necessary and beneficial (good) bacteria in its gastrointestinal tract that help break down and eliminate the foods you eat. Occasionally this good bacteria is killed or suppressed (usually by the use of antibiotics), causing bad bacteria, specifically Clostridium difficile (C. diff.), to over-populate the colon. This infection causes a condition called C. diff. colitis, resulting in often debilitating, sometimes fatal diarrhea. This infection usually responds to treatment with specific antibiotics such as Flagyl or Vancomycin. However, the relapse rate is high. In patients with multiple relapses, fecal transplant is used. The purpose of fecal transplant is to replace the good bacteria that has been destroyed, by transferring the necessary (good) microorganisms from a healthy donor into a patient with C diff infection.
A solution of donor stool and saline is infused into your GI tract by one of several methods: by enema, through a colonoscope, or through a nasogastric or nasoduodenal tube. Your doctor will discuss which of these methods is best for your case.
There is a risk of transmitting other infections through fecal transplant. The risk is thought to be very low, though proper donor screening and testing is essential. Fecal Transplant is a low-risk, highly effective treatment. It is not currently covered by most insurance companies, as it is still classified by the FDA as an experimental treatment. The success rate for treatment of recurrent C. diff. is estimated to be well over 90%. Learn more at the Fecal Transplant Foundation.