I kept seeing snarky and of course hokey headlines about a procedure called a “fecal transplant” in the news and other websites I was going to, and it took a while, but I finally read about what a fecal transplant actually is.
I gotta be honest, based on the rather distasteful name of the procedure, I figured it had to do with someone (or some thing’s) fecal matter being transplanted over to another person. But how? And where? And most of all WHY?
I got my answers and figured I’d share them with other inquiring minds. What I found was that this is actually a rather interesting, somewhat alternative type of therapy that is being used with a high rate of success on patients who don’t know what else to do.
Ok, so here’s what you’ve been waiting for. What IS a fecal transplant anyway?
It is a procedure where the fecal matter (solid waste) is taken from one healthy, functioning donor patient (possibly a family member) who does not currently have any gut issues and transplanted into the patient in need. This can be done one of two ways, and it is done with diluted fecal matter, not full-on solid by the way.
It is either transfused via an enema or via the nasal cavity via drip. I can tell you my preference would be the enema, then at least it wouldn’t feel like something that comes from the other end wasn’t so blatantly being put in the wrong end of the body if you know what I mean.
What good would this do? Well, most patients seeking out fecal transplants are desperate to get rid of a very serious infection of the gut called C diff, which is a bacteria that aggressively attacks and kills the healthy (good) bacteria in the intestines. Good bacteria is the kind the prevents things like diarrhea, flatulence and bloating and general discomfort. It also keeps you regular, so it keeps things moving and keeps you comfortable and in a good mood!
Patients who have gotten fecal transplants report a pretty staggering success rate in that it many times offers a complete and effective recovery from these dangerous intestinal bacterial invaders. It helps to restore the healthy flora in the colon and intestines, and restores the patient to full operating mode pretty quickly.
And it does it all with the healthy gut bacteria from another person, which apparently does a lot better than the man-made stuff and even sophisticated medications. See? Nature really is almost always a cure. At least in my opinion. This particular cure may be a bit icky on the outside, but it’s actually a very good alternative to some of the medications out there that have their own side effects, which are often as bad or worse than the symptom you’re trying to cure.
The Cost of a Fecal Transplant?
The cost for one of these procedures is usually the same as the cost for the colonoscopy-type procedure that is usually done to facilitate the transfer. This can range from $2,000 to over $3,000. It may be covered by insurance though if you have a good insurance plan.