What are the various human body parts transplantation have you heard of – probably about liver transplantation, kidney transplantation, lung transplantation, pancreas transplantation etc. But have you ever heard of stool or feces transplant, may be you have but this is a new upcoming one. Fecal transplant is nothing but transplanting feces from one healthy individual without certain gut problems to another individual with certain gut problems. Now the question is what are those gut problems where stool therapy can be used, a range of colon diseases are thought of where it might be helpful but as of current date most achievement probably found in treating pseudomembranous colitis.
Few words about Pseudomembranous colitis:
- If you are feeling like breaking your tooth to pronounce ‘pseudomembranous colitis’ let me try sooth your toothache: pseudo means false, and colitis is inflammation of colon i.e. a false membrane formed along with colon inflammation – that’s the closest possible simplification I can make. This pseudomembrane can be viewed through endoscopes passed through our anus (such endoscopic procedures are like colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy)
- This condition occurs as a side effect of certain antibiotics like ampicillin, clindamycin etc.
- The condition generally causes diarrhea (can be bloody), pain in belly and fever.
Generally the treatment of Pseudomembranous colitis is like an eye for an eye, I mean to say it’s caused by antibiotics and treated by antibiotics too. Antibiotics like metronidazole and vancomycin are used to treat this condition. Recently studies show that using healthy donor’s feces to treat pseudomembranous colitis was more effective than using antibiotic like vancomycin. Such stool therapy is now trying to spread its healing touch to other diseases too, and probably joining new in the list is a condition called Ulcerative colitis. If not habituated with medical terms you can find pronouncing and understanding Ulcerative colitis like a toothache (or headache or whatever somatic symptom suits you, if you get any).
Once again to sooth your aches few lines about Ulcerative colitis:
- Lets dissect the name ‘Ulcerative colitis’ first – Ulcerative- i.e. it causes ulcer; Colitis- inflammation of colon; roughly this condition causes ulcers in colon.
- Generally we call this an auto immune disease (i.e. when our immune system attack our own body), although infections are proposed but definitive proof of which organism is the prime culprit is yet to be discovered. Other causes like diet etc are also proposed.
- I am afraid I can’t list its huge list of symptoms here, few are like bloody diarrhea to pain in belly to problems associated with eye, joint, skin etc. (here is a list: LINK)
- Although can’t discuss all about the disease in this article but should mention this disease needs follow-up with doctor since in long run patients of ulcerative colitis can get colon cancer. So that’s one of its serious part.
So coming back to fecal transplant, recently this transplant was tried on children suffering from ulcerative colitis and it proved to be of some help.
Finally lets talk about what will be the future days if fecal transplant come out as a successful treatment option. Well, a day might come when like blood banks and sperm banks today we might have ‘STOOL BANK’s where healthy people can donate stool. The stool about which we don’t like to think, talk, smell or even look at today might help us earn a handful of dollars tomorrow. Instead of flushing it out from latrine maybe we will carry it with us while going to office and drop it in stool banks and get encashed.
Stay happy, stay healthy!