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The unromantic gift that saved my marriage: Fecal transplant

Stashed in: Awesome, Scatology, health!, Microbiome, Microbiome

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Fun fact: people who have poop transplants for diseases such as C. difficile will often start to crave the foods enjoyed by their poop donors!

In this article I learned that fecal transplants are not currently FDA approved, but they do have nearly 100% success rate for restoring good microbiome flora.

it is so funny that a recipient would crave the donor's food preferences!  i can just see it now: poop banks, like sperm banks, where you can choose what kind of food cravings you'll have. maybe mix it up and broaden your palate!!

On the other hand, this may be a way to calm the cravings for junk food by ingesting the flora of someone who's mostly into meat and vegetables. :)

and if you are a super clean eater with a craving-free gut, you could sell your flora for big bucks!

That would be a fascinating way to make money. Selling healthy poop to people who need flora!

My favorite part of this story is the husband calling her the Duchess of Diff:

A gastroenterologist on the Upper East Side explained that the antibiotics I received during delivery had killed bad bacteria, but also all of the healthy bacteria that I relied upon to digest properly. 

“Try eating Activia,” she suggested.

I ate gallons of yogurt with no results. The plastic cartons piled up on my kitchen counter next to the menacing breast pump equipment. I pushed my way into other doctors’ offices, and to my great horror, tested positive for something called Clostridium difficile.

The doctor looked at me apologetically and said that it was true: antibiotics had killed off all of my friendly “gut flora”—something I had never even considered—and “bad guys” had taken over. On the ride home, I looked up C. diff and WebMD assured me that this was no regular case of “D.” I was captive to the king of bacterial infections, which kills more than 14,000 people per year. 

Medication kept my symptoms at bay for a few weeks, but the C. diff came raging back and I was rushed to the emergency room. “The bacteria is getting smarter and more resistant,” the doctor said. He wrote me a different prescription, with no promises.


Drugs are not going to help you,” he said cheerfully, as if this pleased him. He went on to say that it was true about the near-perfect success rate of his experimental procedure.

“What can I expect afterwards?” I asked, fearing another relapse.

“Well,” the Nutty Professor said, grinning like a Cheshire cat, “what does your husband like to eat? If he likes beer and chicken wings, you can expect to eat a lot more bar food.”

He wasn’t kidding: Once a patient receives new intestinal flora, his or her tastes adapt to reflect the donor’s. Some doctors had seen vegetarians convert back to meat eaters. If this was the worst side effect he could think of, it sounded like a miracle. 

I signed the paperwork consenting to be part of his clinical trial; poop as a drug was still pending FDA approval and only a handful of doctors in the country were performing the procedure. But with antibiotics causing more and more resistant infections, stool transplants were becoming the only answer for many patients like me.

Eric reassured me that this was the necessary next step, and that he was honored to be my donor. “We’ll sort of be like blood brothers after this,” he mused at a red light.

“More like stool sisters,” I corrected him.

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