One cure for certain intestinal problems such as a severe, recurring diarrhea infection known as C. difficile bacteria, that is difficult to get rid of permanently, due to resistance to antibiotics consists of ‘drinking’ freshly excreted feces from a healthy volunteer mixed with warm, salty water. The infusion is taken either through a nasal tube or at the other end by enema, as the patient prefers, or through similar insertion into the colon from the rectum similar to an enema.
The resistance to antiobiotics usually starts when the patient is given antiobiotics to clear up this or other bacterial infections, and the bacteria becomes resistant to prescription and/or over the counter medicines. If the patient takes the mixture by mouth, it’s done so that the nasal tube goes directly up the nose, down the throat, and into a specific area of the gut where it will do its work without the patient smelling or tasting the fresh load of feces mixed with salty water. Read the original study or its abstract, “Duodenal Infusion of Donor Feces for Recurrent Clostridium difficile,” in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
You can also read the Reuters Health News January 17, 2013 article, “Feces transplant may help relieve severe diarrhea – Yahoo! News.” The new, small study has concluded that inserting fecal material from a healthy person into the gut of someone with severe diarrhea may cure their problem more effectively than antibiotics.
The study, published January 17, 2013 in the New England Journal of Medicine, involved patients who had repeated bouts of diarrhea caused by a bacterium known as Clostridium difficile. So-called C. diff often take over the intestines due to previous antibiotic treatment. The antibiotics often destroys beneficial bacteria found in the gut.
As an alternative solution, another research team in Canada is studying whether a synthetic ‘poop’ substitute (pronounced re-poop-u-late) in a news story video broadcast, can find the best-fit combination of bacteria or synthetic substitutes to treat the infection, according to the video at GrabNetworks.com. That substitute stool could offer some improvements and fewer risks to fecal transplants for C. difficile infections, according to the video report from CBC’s Pauline Dakin. The research continues on that approach.
Patients drink freshly evacuated feces from a healthy volunteer mixed with a pint of warm salty water
In the study that uses human feces, freshly evacuated feces from a healthy volunteer, who does not have to be related to the patient, is transplanted into the body of the person with the specific diarrhea disease. The good bacteria eats the bad bacteria in a sense. Remember that this is not the cure for a virus in the stomach or stomach flu caused by a virus, but rather by certain types bacteria overgrowth.
What the freshly done feces from the volunteer has is a mixture of healthy bacteria, which is missing from the patient with the diarrhea that keeps on returning. It’s actually a mixture of various types of bacteria. And in the study, it resolved the severe diarrhea problem in 13 of the 16 volunteers. The usual treatment is giving more antibiotics to patients with the condition, which is like putting gasoline on fire so to speak because it was the antibiotics in the first place that destroyed the ‘good’ bacteria in the gut needed to destroy the ‘bad’ bacteria causing the severe diarrhea that kept coming back.
Treatment of good versus bad bacteria has been found to be effective
The senior author of the study is Dr. Josbert Keller of the University of Amsterdam told Reuters Health. Physicians and scientists know the treatment is effective, perhaps because over the course of thousands of years, certain types of bacteria balanced the condition of human intestines. In the USA, there are doctors who use fecal transplant in their medical practice. The Reuters article had a quote from Dr. Colleen Kelly of Brown University’s Alpert Medical School in Providence, Rhode Island, who was not connected with the study.
The specific type of bacteria infection causing the diarrhea is C. difficile, also known as C. diff. The bacteria infects elderly people in nursing homes, those in group homes, and those in doctors’ offices. All you need to do is touch a doorknob in a public room, a remote control, lamp switch, keyboard, pen, phone, book, or other object touched by others and then put your finger in your mouth, eyes, ears, or nose, and you can get infected.
The treatment is for a bacterial infection and not for a virus such as the norovirus that has similar symptoms. The norovirus usually causes projectile vomiting. But the bacterial infection, unlike the virus doesn’t clear up in 62 hours. Instead it keeps coming back usually as severe diarrhea, cramping, nausea, and belching.
The more antibiotics you takes, the more likely the bacteria could be to come back as your body becomes more resistant to the bacteria. C. difficile bacteria lives in the most inhospitable environments and often becomes resistant to the antibiotics used to destroy it. About 3 million people in the U.S. are infected annually with C. diff, which spreads mainly through hospitals, nursing homes and doctors’ offices.
C. difficile bacteria takes over and controls the gut in such a way that it’s hard to get rid of with antibiotics because the patient’s bacteria infection often becomes more resistant to the antibiotics. In fact, the antibiotics typically only work in 15 to 26 percent of patients with C. difficile. The more the infection is treated with antibiotics, the less effective the antibiotic drugs become. Stool transplants have been proposed as one alternative in a previous Reuters story of November 30, 2012.
The symptoms in C. diff infection include diarrhea, cramping, and belching. Sometimes constipation is reported after treatment. Read the Reuters news article for further details. If the idea of feces transplants leaves a bad taste on your tongue, the patients didn’t want to suffer any longer with constant diarrhea, cramping, and belching or sometimes nausea. What patients need to know is that various antibiotics sometime create more resistance to antibiotics over time when used to treat certain bacterial infections.
Antibiotics treat bacteria, not viruses such as colds, herpes, or stomach flu caused by the norovirus. The feces infusion from a healthy donor who can be a stranger worked better than using antibiotics each time the diarrhea returned, at least in this small study. Further research continues. Check out the study in the New England Journal of Medicine, January 17, 2013.