Home Fecal Transplants Are On the Rise

This guy believes his home fecal transplants saved his life. In this video, you shows you how to transplant somebody else's poop into your own colon. But researchers remain skeptical.

Earlier this year, the BBC ran a big story about a woman who, like the star of this video, believes that home fecal transplants can save lives:

[Sky] Curtis found a local doctor who was willing to prescribe a series of drugs which Borody recommended. Her son went into remission, but later fell sick again, with a new diagnosis of Crohn's. With her son wasting away in front of her eyes, she called Borody again and he suggested a faecal transplant.

"I decided, after hemming and hawing and talking to my son, that yes, he would let me put poo up his bum to see if that would work," she recalls. She had a sample of her own stool screened and they performed their first transplant on Christmas Day, 2008. "I kept thinking, 'I'm giving my kid a bag of [faeces] for Christmas. It wasn't ideal, but he was just so sick and I knew if I waited until after the Christmas holidays he would be dead."

The first few transplants, Curtis says, "sort-of worked". She then toyed with Borody's protocol, and on the basis of personal research into her son's condition, changed the frequency of the transplants and gave him painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, sedatives and steroid creams. Bit by bit, he got better.

Curtis was left from this ordeal with material for a memoir and her own protocol, developed through trial-and-error experiments with her son's treatment. This became a handbook that is now one of the key works in the DIY faecal transplant community.


So should you try a fecal transplant?

Today KCRW aired a great interview with a group of scientists and writers who research the gut microbiome, and consensus was that this kind of "home cure" can verge on snake oil. Yes, doctors have used fecal transplants successfully to help people with some types of gut infections. But its success with other kinds of maladies is not widely understood — and doing it as a home remedy, or a general curative, is not a good idea without a doctor's oversight.


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I would think that if the micro biome in the gut is so important that we'd have a catalog of the constituent organisms by now. And that catalog could be turned into a formula which could be lab grown and inserted. I can understand the skepticism. Science is deterministic by design. Shoving poop up someone's bum without know what's in it is pretty poor science.