All that bacteria in your gut? Trillions of bacteria, in fact. It has a job to do: protect your microbiome and ensure it remains in balance. But when there’s trouble – when a microorganism becomes overgrown, the resulting imbalance damages the integrity of the microbiome, leaving it open to disease processes that affect other systems in the body. One particular bacteria that is a normal part of our gut biome, but which is likely to overgrow and cause damage, especially after antibiotic use, is C. difficile, which is often difficult to control.

An innovative, cutting edge treatment is Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT), or stool transplantation; in randomized, controlled clinical trials, it has resolved 80-90% of infections caused by C. difficile. With FMT, an infusion of bacteria from a carefully-screened, healthy donor’s stool is transplanted into the recipient’s colon. The procedure may be done in different ways, depending upon the needs of the patient. Methods used for FMT include: colonoscopy, naso-enteric tube or capsules, each having unique risks and benefits. 

Experts indicate that FMT works by repopulating the patient’s microbiome with diverse microorganisms that rebalance the microbiome. Other health conditions that may be helped by FMT include Irritable Bowel Syndrome, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and Crohn’s Disease. However, more research must be conducted to confirm the safety and efficacy for these conditions. Current FDA guidelines permit the use of FMT only for the treatment of C. difficile infection that is not responsive to standard antibiotic therapy. It is not recommended for people who are immunocompromised.

The procedure is performed by a licensed physician (Holistic or Medical Doctor). FMT can lead to serious health complications if performed by untrained individuals. To be considered for this procedure, you must have a complete medical evaluation and be assessed for your candidacy. Consult with a holistic physician for more information.

Resources

Kim, Kyeong Ok, and Michael Gluck. “Fecal Microbiota Transplantation: An Update on Clinical Practice.” Clinical endoscopy vol. 52,2 (2019): 137-143. doi:10.5946/ce.2019.009 Accessed 31 Mar 2020:

Van Nood, E., Vrieze, A, Nieuwdorp, M. “Duodenal Infusion of Donor Feces for Recurrent Clostridium difficile.” New England J of Med. (2013) 368:5 Accessed 29 Apr 2020

“FMT & You.”  Accessed 31 Mar 2020

Gupta, Shaan et al. “Fecal microbiota transplantation: in perspective.” Therapeutic advances in gastroenterology vol. 9,2 (2016): 229-39. doi:10.1177/1756283X15607414

JAMA Patient Page:  “Fecal Microbiota Transplantation.” (2017, July)