stool transplants, C Diff

Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infections can cause devastating diarrhea. This poses an increasingly frequent complication to hospitalization or time in a rehab facility. Although C. diff may be treated with various high-potency antibiotics, it doesn’t always respond and may come back time after time. One unique treatment uses stool transplants to repopulate the gut with beneficial bacteria that can crowd out the C. diff.

Overcoming Recurrent C Diff Infections:

We hear from one woman whose recurrent C. diff infections nearly killed her. A stool transplant saved her life. Find out how she managed it and why it inspired her to start a foundation.

We also talk with a physician who has become renowned for his pioneering work in applying new technology to the surprisingly ancient healing approach of stool transplants.

The Guests for This Episode:

Catherine Duff is founder and president of the Fecal Transplant Foundation. The website is thefecaltransplantfoundation.orgThe photo is of Ms. Duff.

Lawrence J. Brandt, MD, is Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Surgery at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He is chief emeritus of gastroenterology at Montefiore University Hospital in New York and a past president of the American College of Gastroenterology.

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

Buy the CD

Download the mp3

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. JMK

    I have a question: I found Dr. Brandt’s comment really interesting when he said that after a round of antibiotics it takes approximately one month to restore your original microbiome (and one year for two consecutive rounds!). Is this with or without the use of probiotic supplements during and after antibiotic use?
    People’s Pharmacy response: We are not sure that the use of probiotic supplements has been studied in this type of situation.

  2. mary

    Really? You are actually complaining about the advertising?
    Perhaps you would prefer to PAY out of your own pocket to receive this amazing and always helpful site—one that gives you the opportunity to hear from people who have actually experienced so many things.
    To access WITHOUT CHARGE all the research that is done for ‘everyone’; so many things spelled out and yet given the opportunity to follow through as intelligently as possible.
    THAT is what this site is all about, and I as well as so many others state–am tremendously grateful.

  3. SO

    I think I would travel to Calgary for treatment if that pill were available. I suffer from illness after illness I think because I was given antibiotics as soon as I was born. My husband is never ill and neither were his siblings. They were raised in a pre-antibiotic era. I have also used massive doses of probiotics during a recent illness (plus refrigerator pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, mustard, soy yogurt, kefir, you name it) and recovered rapidly.
    I would love to see comments by anyone else who believes early exposure harmed their immunity or lack of exposure improved their immunity.

  4. Teresa

    After repeated bouts of c-diff in 2009, my mother-in-law received a fecal transplant (her daughter being the donor). This worked wonderfully! I have no medical background, so when I asked my RN friend if she had ever heard of this, she thought I was making it up. When I finally convinced her that it was not a joke, she did some research.
    She is now a RN at a nursing home and has suggested fecal transplants when the need arises. I came across a newspaper article recently about Canadian research (Dr. Thomas Louie, University of Calgary) where a pill/gel capsule has been developed.

  5. al

    Yes, my dad’s experience began with a toothache. Two antibiotics later he had c-diff. Antibiotics later, he got pneumonia. Yet more antibiotics. I had suggested probiotics early on, but his doctor nixed the idea saying there wasn’t any proof of its help with c-diff.
    After my dad lost 30 lbs, I insisted he try the probiotics I researched on. His symptoms went away in as few as three days. I used Sacaromesies bolardi and (something)-rhuteri. (Not sure on spelling).
    After listening to tonight’s program, i wanted to shout out, ‘yes!’, a stool transplant would of course work in the same way certain probiotics work because its the good bacteria at work in both cases. Only, probiotic supplements are least invasive and cheaper!
    Hope this helps anyfamily strugglingwith this horrible condition. Thank you to the people’s pharm for airing some kind of treatment for this potentially fatal condition that most of the medical community is clueless about.

  6. SO

    Fred – everyone sees different ads based on their previous search history. My ads are served up by Google and I see sandals, local physicians and an upcoming trade show.

  7. SO

    Thanks for this important info. If you have not already covered phages, bacteriophages are also a very important topic. Phages are viruses that infect and kill bacteria. As I understand it, they are commonly used in Russia instead of antibiotics. People with eColi, MRSA and other life-threatening, antibiotic resistant chronic staph infections must travel to the Republic of Georgia, Columbia and other clinics around the globe to have this life- and limb-saving treatment.
    Currently, there is a research firm in Florida’s panhandle researching phages, (possibly for use in livestock?) Phages are also available now from companies that serve as microbe libraries for researchers.

  8. John Smith

    I few important points about this treatment:
    – It also has a high success rate for IBS, IBD, Ulcerative Colitis. Additionally, it may work on Multiple Sclerosis and other diseases.
    – The FDA is right to be concerned about potential ill effects of the treatment, but at the same time their rules are far too restrictive, leading to needless suffering of patients.
    – Another similar treatment with a long history, solid science and poor adoption is Helminthic Therapy. See Wikipedia for a good overview.
    To patients suffering with a digestive illness (or others that can be treated by Fecal Infusion or Helminthic Therapy): Don’t give up, and if your doctor dismisses your concerns, find another one.
    To medical professionals: Start listening to your patients, and start pushing the system to study and integrate these live- and livelihood-saving treatments.

  9. SH

    Don’t you need to discontinue use of the antibiotic so the probiotics can proliferate?

  10. J David Auner

    Dr. Brandt is an example of a real doc solving problems for patients. I think he was too kind in his comments about the FDA which could design its own data collection system for community docs to use for example in c. diff. or inflammatory bowel disease treated with various agents.
    The FDA did not approve methotrexate for inflammatory arthritides for decades after it was in common use – the lack of available knowledge putting patients in harm’s way from treatment or lack of treatment.
    The potential harm of fecal transplant, not mentioned, would be HPV virus which would predispose to colon cancer. Donor stool could be screened for HPV. This problem would in most recipients be asymptomatic for longer than the FDA would be studying this method. If pre and post stool samples from previous transplants have been saved, the documentation of HPV infection/transmission could be documented.
    “Bypass” fats where soap capsules keep a cow’s rumen from contact with added designer fats to increase meat properties could be a model for a cheaper and more acceptable fecal dosing method. Pre-treatment of patients with one high dose of omeprazole could keep stomach acid low enough that a simple capsule could deliver live bacteria to the small intestine. Alternatively, the camera capsules in use for “endoscopy” or traditional endoscopes could deliver stool to the upper small bowel.
    The People’s Pharmacy is ahead of the curve again.

  11. MFK

    Interesting discussion. You have covered this before and it seems important to know how to minimize risk of c. diff and how to treat it, as well.
    I wonder whether any research has used commonly-available probiotic strains to treat c. diff? (One product made by NOW Foods has ten different strains in their version.) They could be administered in ways other than the oral gel caps. It seems some people would have tried repopulating their digestive tract with probiotics during early stages of c. dff.

  12. Fred Milton Olsen

    Very glad you did this show– have been aware of this since early contemporary use. Your program this morning left out one very important thing– the need for donor testing. Several extremely nasty pathogens including Hepatitis and possibly AIDS and its co-factors can be passed by stool, and therefore by fecal transplant. This is a good technique, but if you have people practicing it willy-nilly without donor testing, BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN. It was a shocking lack.
    Would other website users chime in on this next one?
    I am becoming quite discouraged and discomfited at the level of BAD advertising carried on the People’s Pharmacy website– more geared to morons than your listeners. “Grocery stores fear him!” and “New wrinkle treatment horrifies surgeons!” Please have more respect for us than to subject us to this kind of low-class pitch. Have you even checked out the safety of these things or do you just allow anyone with money to advertise with you?
    These are reasonable questions and positive communications / advice to you, Joe and Terry.

  13. Michael Guritz

    I just listened to Dr. Brandt on your show and would like to comment that both my uncle and mother may be alive today had the fecal transplants been available to them.
    My mother contracted c. dificile 6 times in 18 months; her body expelled watery wastes every 15 minutes and the medical staff struggled to keep her hydrated. These bouts with c. dificile lasted multiple days and the staff advised on several occasions that the disease was likely to be fatal.
    I know little about my uncle’s bout except that he contracted c dificile one time and that was the cause of his death.
    Thanks for the show.
    Mike Guritz

  14. SH

    I enjoyed the show and maybe I missed when the hosts asked this but why is fecal transplant any different from taking probiotics supplements?

  15. JD

    Excellent program on c-diff and fecal transplantation. I have read about success with this treatment being done in England. Dr. Brandt’s insight and experience will hopefully open the eyes of many to the benefit of understanding the role of beneficial bacteria in maintaining good health.
    Thanks again for all your investigative work.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.