It all started with a routine fecal transplant.
The case report was published earlier this year: a thirty-two-year-old female suffering from Clostridium difficile colitis resistant to multiple rounds of antibiotics was given a fecal transplant and quickly recovered from the debilitating bouts of diarrhea and abdominal pain that had plagued her for months.
That wasn’t what made headlines, though. Using fecal transplants to treat resistant cases of C. diff. colitis has been around for years. The procedure, which involves administering fecal matter from a donor to a patient via colonoscopy, endoscopy, or enema, is meant to replace the bacteria in the colon killed by the administration of antibiotics previously prescribed for any of a plethora of conditions (e.g. throat, sinus, skin, or urinary tract infections). The colon, having been stripped of the “good” bacteria that had previously colonized it, is then overpopulated by “bad” bacteria, specifically Clostridium difficile, leading to the dreadful incessant bouts of mucous, bloody diarrhea and severe abdominal cramping characteristic of C. diff. colitis. According to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, over ninety percent of patients who undergo fecal transplants for C. diff. colitis recover completely.
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