More and more mystery illnesses seem to emerge each day, ailments that mainstream medicine struggles to treat and often fails to recognize at all. Things like Candida overgrowth, Symbiotic Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s disease, Colitis, Lyme disease, food allergies, and many more that don’t even have a name.
But if you’re anything like me, you have been to numerous doctors, both conventional and naturopathic, undergoing ultrasounds and check ups and everything in between, and been told that your symptoms are caused by stress, which is basically a friendly way of saying “It’s all in your head.” You may have tried extreme diets, piles of supplements, and every superfood on the market, but what if, all along, the answer were far simpler?
I’m taking about poop.
Yes, you read that right. There is a treatment now available called a fecal microbiota transplant that involves taking the fecal matter from an individual with impeccable gut health and a great balance of intestinal bacteria and putting it into an enema and inserting it into your own body. Admittedly, it sounds disgusting, but at the same time, it seems a simple solution to an often overwhelming and exhausting problem.
So if you can get past the gross factor and want to know more, there are a few things for you to first consider, so that you aren’t taking in someone else’s excrement unnecessarily.
Is a Fecal Transplant for You?
First, you want to make sure that the issue you’re treating is in fact related to an imbalance in your gut flora, which means finding out if you have a dysbiosis is the first step. You can have a microbial diversity test done through a medical practitioner to determine whether or not the problem is in fact a dysbiosis. If you generally respond well to probiotics, this is one sign your problem could be related to your gut flora.
You should also be aware of any factors that could potentially sabotage a successful fecal microbiota transplant (FMT). If you know that you have C. Diff, a bacterial infection of the colon, just do it, as this condition has been shown to respond very well to FMT. FMT has also been shown to be effective for cases of Ulcerative Colitis, with success rates of 70-80%.
Before you even consider this as an option, however, as this can be a costly process, make sure that you have ruled out diet as a perpetuating factor. Otherwise the problem may get better for a short period of time but then it will just come back and persist. Ruling out food intolerances is always a good idea before considering an FMT. Having low stomach acid is also another very common factor that perpetuates chronic digestive illness for many people.
If you have ruled out the above possible contributing factors, then the next step is to find a clinic and a donor that can supply you with the fecal matter and the transplant, which may be difficult, depending on where you live.
What’s more, not all poo is created equally. Even if someone has no history of gut problems, they can still carry bugs and undesirable bacteria in their gut that could negatively impact you. Even many seemingly unrelated factors like acne, UTIs, mood swings, fibromyalgia, or thrush can all be related to an imbalance of gut flora. People who get heartburn or have allergies or autoimmune disorders are out as well, because all these disorders are related to a dsysbiosis in the gut.
You must be clear on what it is that you’re looking for, and ideally your donor will live nearby, because fresh poo is the best poo. If you are seriously considering trying out a DIY FMT, then you can follow the instructions that are listed here and check out FAQs, here.
You can talk to your doctor and recommend that he/she refer you to an FMT clinic, but they may not know of any. Research on an FMT for C. Diff is conclusive, but there isn’t yet enough research to show the effectiveness for other illnesses — though this doesn’t mean it can’t help. Speak to your doctor about your willingness to try the treatment and go from there. You may have to see several practitioners before you find the right one.
If this sounds intriguing, but you are still not sure if it is right for you, you can learn more on the Power of Poop website and join this Facebook group, too.
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