Apparently blood and organs aren’t the only things humans can donate from their bodies to one another.
Demand for faeces (yes, poo) is booming at the moment, as faecal matter transplants (FMT) are becoming more and more popular to treat certain gut conditions.
In fact, demand is so great there’s currently a shortage of healthy stool supplies in Australia, so if you’re down under and want to drop trou in the name of science, pop on down to your nearest hospital.
At the moment, faecal matter transplants are used to treat clostridium difficile infection – a bacterial condition in the gut, which causes anomalies in regular bacteria and allows dangerous organisms to emerge.
According to associate professor Andrew Holmes, a microbiology expert from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perks Centre, FMT was ‘spectacularly successful’ in treating clostridium difficle-associated conditions.
He said, via News.com.au:
Effective cure can be seen within one to two days of a single FMT treatment, and it seldom requires more than three treatments.
Though some people may smirk at the idea of a poo transplant, Holmes said sufferers of the condition had ‘little to no stigma’.
Fear of missing out is a bigger problem than fear of faeces. And if you bounce back to health after treatment, no one is likely to hold it against you for whatever shit you ate.
The need for poo donors in Australia has become so great that poo transplant clinics are appearing, some operating as ‘poo banks’ so people with healthy guts can go and deposit their donation to help those in need.
Potential donors are screened of course – you can’t just go and use the facilities when you’re caught short and need somewhere to dump. Around one in 12 donors are found to be viable matches, and they become regular contributors to the poo bank.
Donations and transplants can vary. The donor can either drop off their stool if they don’t want to poop at the centre, while transplants can happen either by direct transplant via an enema in the anus, or via pill form – which are referred to as ‘crapsules’.
According to Dr Sudarshan Paramsothy, a gastroenterologist and researcher at The University of Sydney’s School of Medicine, using faeces in medicine is not a new development.
Dr Paramsothy said:
Using faecal suspensions has been reported since fourth century China, but in terms of Western science, the first instance was in 1958.
But really, it’s only been in the past decade or so that its use has grown significantly. It’s something that kind of captures the attention because it seems a bit odd to use a stool to try to treat disease.
Patients have reported a significant improvement in gut conditions after undertaking FMT, and doctors are now looking at more ways in which a poo transplant can benefit the human body.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.