Q. Many years ago, I developed a terrible Clostridium difficile (C diff) infection in my gut from antibiotic treatment for Chlamydia. Vancomycin did not cure the C diff, which was painful.
My elderly gastroenterologist remembered that it used to be common to give people “flora restoration” for this condition, washing out the harmful bacteria by enema and replacing it by flora taken from a healthy individual. A nurse friend of mine organized such a transfer. My pain disappeared completely.
At that time, I corresponded with Dr. Borody, a gastroenterologist in Sydney, Australia, and he now provides the transfer treatment there. I understand that the Swedes never dropped this form of treatment.
A. C diff infections are becoming harder and harder to treat. When antibiotics wipe out good bacteria in the digestive tract, C diff often takes over. It can cause serious or even life-threatening diarrhea.
A recent article in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology (online Aug. 24, 2011) described fecal microbiota transplant as “safe, inexpensive, and effective.” By re-introducing normal intestinal bacteria, the balance can be re-established.
This “poop transplant” can be done by way of a colonoscopy or an enema using bacteria from a healthy donor. The authors report that such transfers are successful in treating C diff more than 90 percent of the time. They suggest considering this treatment for C diff infections that have not responded to other treatments.