What to Expect During a Fecal Microbial Transplant (FMT)
Bacteriotherapy - what is it?
Antibiotics usually take out ALL the bacteria, including the good bacteria in addition to the bad bacteria (C. Diff) that we are targeting. Because of this, it can be extremely hard to ward off a relapse or another infection of C. Diff due to the lack of healthy bacteria in our GI tracts. Fecal transplants have proven to be effective to reintroduce good bacteria into your gut.
How is a fecal sample introduced into the body?
Usually done in a procedure room, the stool is introduced through a tube while done in a colonoscopy/screening room. It’s possible to do through a nasoduodenal tube or an NG tube but is most widely practiced through the colonoscope. The colonoscope will enter the colon and release the sample from the end of the colon all in one swipe or all at once.
How is the “new” stool introduced?
Usually, when the scope is being taken out, the FTM is introduced throughout the whole colon. That’s it. It’s a pretty easy process, that has shown to be a great alternative therapy (as opposed to surgery, like resection or colon removal).
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, “In 30 percent of treated individuals, the infection returns within a few days or weeks after finishing the antibiotic course1”. WOW, right?! If you’ve ever had C. Diff and have experienced a relapse of it, this number may not surprise you at all. Maybe you may even think this number is a little low.
Getting rid of C. Diff infection
The first time I was exposed to Clostridium difficile, it knocked me out for nearly 6 months. I was clear for about 3 weeks and soon became reinfected when antibiotics were reintroduced because of a urinary tract infection along with a kidney infection. I felt like it was inevitable. It tears you apart mentally and is so hard on you physically. I'm so grateful that this is an option for those patients who suffer from this for an extended period of time.
C. diff can be extremely hard to get rid of. This specific treatment is a safe, effective way to manage infections like clostridium difficile.
Who can be fecal transplant donors?
Usually, familial donors are the most common donors in administering fecal transplants. Pretesting is very similar to blood donation or organ donation tests.
This option for people dealing with multiple bouts of C. Diff has been an absolute game-changer. Because of how careful you have to be in a bathroom full of these microbes, it becomes a daunting task to bleach everything. You feel miserable, have zero energy and when you're done with going to the bathroom, you must bleach everything immediately after. Talk about exhausting.
I’d love to hear from our community members who have gone through the FMT procedure and what their process was in order to be free of C. Diff.
How open are you about being diagnosed with IBD?