Ulcerative colitis patients try various therapies in order to seek relief and remission from their pain and other symptoms. These therapies range from the traditional pharmaceuticals, to surgery, to acupuncture and herbs, and everything in between. There is no one prescription or therapy to cure everyone with Ulcerative Colitis, but many different therapies have proven successful throughout the population of people diagnosed with UC. One of the newest therapies is called a Fecal Transplant.
What is a Fecal Transplant?
This interesting and successful therapy involves donor feces being introduced into the body of the recipient. This can be done via many different routes, such as an enema with saline, a colonoscopy, a nasogastric tube inserted through the nose, or even in pill form. Though it is most commonly used as a treatment for patients with an over growth of Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, it can also be used for irritable bowel disease (IBD).
Why Fecal Transplants?
The gastrointestinal tract contains a lot of good bacteria. This bacteria is necessary for overall health and a healthy and functioning GI tract. Your cut is colonized by thousands of bacteria and microorganisms, however, they can be disrupted by antibiotics, illness, and diseases; such as ulcerative colitis.
Who is the Donor?
The donor for a fecal transplant should be someone in good health. This person should have not taken any type of antibiotics in the last 90 days. Many patients choose a family member for a donor, though sometimes the donor is someone else. Many medical offices who perform these therapies have stool available from healthy volunteers if needed.
Donors are screened for HIV and viral hepatitis. If they are at risk for having any of these diseases, they are not a qualified donor. Donors should also be free from GI diseases, autoimmune diseases and malignancies. Donors who qualify will undergo medical testing for:
• Hepatitis A,B, and C
• Intestinal parasites
• Clostridium difficile
What is the Success Rate?
For patients with C. diff, studies show fecal transplant therapies to be effective in as many as 90 percent of patients. By introducing healthy and good bacteria from a donor into the GI tract of a person with ulcerative colitis, doctors and researchers are convinced that this therapy is helpful. However, there are no solid figures out for the treatment of Ulcerative Colitis but some studies have shown a 50% total cure and 25% temporary remission rate.