It’s not the easiest subject to talk about, but it’s an important one. What’s happening with your stools or fecal matter is a good indicator of your overall health. The Bristol stool guide gives some indication of what you should be looking for visually in a healthy stool. Yet there’s more going on that you can’t even see.
Healthy stool will contain a high number of beneficial bacteria that are naturally eliminated every day. When there is serious infection however, with bad bacteria such as clostridium difficile, the resulting stool would be overpopulated with unhealthy bacteria and would contain very little good bacteria.
Scientists are now trying to utilise the potential benefits of microflora from the fecal matter of healthy individuals that would otherwise be surplus to requirements (i.e, flushed away!).
Fecal microbiota transplant describes the process whereby fecal matter is collected from a tested donor, mixed with a saline or other solution, strained, and placed in a patient, by colonoscopy, endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or enema.
The purpose of this is to supply beneficial bacteria directly into the colon of patients whose intestinal microflora has become seriously out of balance either due to infection by bacteria such as clostridium difficile or through antibiotics.
The success rate for treating clostridium difficile infection with fecal microbiota transplant is estimated to be above 90% which is highly promising since it can result in debilitating and sometimes even fatal diarrhoea.
Whilst this is a fairly new mainstream treatment, it has actually been around in various forms for many years and was first documented in China in the 4th century.