In this article, we dig into a topic that is a little bit out there, and maybe even makes you feel a little icky to think about! But it’s a really cool, beneficial treatment that has been working for some. So we want to share with you what it’s all about.
Fecal Transplantation and IBS
When it comes to the gut, there is no topic that our team shies away from. We’ve tackled just about every topic there is about IBS in hopes of providing you with credible information based on science. If you thought you had heard it all in terms of potential treatment options for IBS you might be surprised to learn that researchers are looking into a promising new treatment for a wide array of gut disorders. What is this cutting-edge new science you ask? Well, it involves transplantation of fecal matter (you heard me!).
Need a prep session on the gut? Learn more from my article 3 Things You Need to Know About Your Gut.
Photo Credit: Circle of Docs
The gut contains a large, diverse population of microorganisms. Bacteria populations in the gut are the smallest in the small intestine closest to the stomach, and the largest at the end of the large intestine. These bacteria are hard workers and play an important role in the absorption of nutrients from food. Many external factors can change the makeup of the bacteria colonies that call your intestines home, including diet, prebiotics, probiotics, and antibiotics. Transplanting fecal matter from a healthy person into someone whose gut microbiota may be unbalanced can improve the health of the recipient by helping to restore normal gut bacterial growth. Benefits include increased nutrient absorption from food and improved immune function.
For a more in-depth overview of prebiotics and probiotics, visit my article Prebiotics and Probiotics: The Answer to Your IBS?
What is Fecal Transplantation?
Photo Credit: Boston University News Service
Fecal matter transplantation is a procedure where a fecal solution from a donor (usually a healthy family member or friend) is deposited into the intestinal tract of a recipient. To complete the procedure, the fresh or frozen stool of the donor is dissolved in a salt water solution. The fecal matter is usually deposited using a tube that goes straight into the digestive tract.
Safety: The treatment is generally recognized as safe. Most patients experience diarrhea on the day of the procedure, and a small percentage report belching, abdominal cramping or constipation. Severe issues occur very rarely and include bleeding or infection.
Effectiveness of Fecal Transplant in IBS
Although there is quite a bit of research in treating digestive tract infections with fecal matter transplants, there is limited research on its effectiveness in IBS patients. In the small body of evidence currently available, researchers focused on the effects of fecal transplants in patients with constipation-dominant IBS. Patients who received the transplantation reported improvements in stool frequency and less bloating and pain. Although this sounds promising, we still do not know enough to say for sure whether fecal transplants are an effective treatment for those with IBS. More research needs to be done on BOTH subtypes of IBS (diarrhea and constipation) to see if it is a reliable treatment method.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Fecal transplantation is procedure where a fecal solution from a donor is deposited into the intestinal tract of a recipient.
- Fecal matter is usually deposited using a tube that goes straight to the digestive tract.
- It is generally recognized as safe. Most patients experience mild adverse effects such as diarrhea, belching, abdominal cramping or constipation.
- Very little research done on fecal transplantation in IBS patients, small studies suggest it may improve symptoms in constipation-dominant IBS.
- NOT a reliable treatment for IBS yet. More research needs to be conducted on both subtypes of IBS to see if it is a reliable treatment option.
Always talk with your doctor about treatments and options for your Irritable Bowel Syndrome or other digestive issue. It’s important to get a credible opinion before you try and therapy or treatment. We highly recommend following the Low FODMAP diet, as it’s really shown incredible improvement in our clients and has helped thousands of people. If you want to learn more about it, download this free guide:
What do you think about this new potential treatment for gut disorders? Let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear your thoughts!
Wishing you health & happiness,
Stephanie & the Team (article written by Sam Penlington)
If you’re looking for support and more information to help you with the Low FODMAP diet, read more about the Beyond FODMAPs Insider’s Club. This is the best way to work with me in the program I offer to meet you where you are, provide you with credible, up-to-date advice and information to get you feeling better and get back to enjoying your life. I’d love to have you join us as a member.
Smits LP, Borody TJ, Bouter KEC, Vos d, W.M, Nieuwdorp M. Therapeutic potential of fecal microbiota transplantation. Gastroenterology. 2013;145(5):946-53.
Shanahan F, Quigley EMM. Manipulation of the microbiota for treatment of IBS and IBD-challenges and controversies. Gastroenterology. 2014;146(6):1554.