Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Intestinal Saga, Part 8: A Fecal Transplant Story

I've done a lot of crazy things in my life.  I dropped a college scholarship to go live on an isolated homestead with a mountain man named Peter Bigfoot.  I lived in my car in frigid cold temperatures in the foothills of the Chiricahua Mountains, waking up in the middle of the night to high speed winds rocking my vehicle and groups of 50 illegal immigrants passing by; border patrol agents would flash their lights in my windows hours later.  I did several survival trips into the wilderness with little or no gear, sleeping on the cold hard ground and eating cactus, lily bulbs, any creature I could get my hands on -- lizards, rodents, grasshoppers, scorpions.  I went for years as a low-calorie, highly-active vegetarian, working as a wilderness guide for troubled youth for weeks at a time and hiking many miles on nothing but lentils and ash cakes.  I jumped into dumpsters to retrieve ripe avocados and flour tortillas to avoid buying food from our country's faulty factory-farm system.  I ate rotten meat because I thought it would improve my health based on the recommendations of a guy who calls himself Aajonus.  Oh, and I worked in a retail store at the mall once.

My friend and yours ... Fleet Eneman!
But all of that pales in comparison to the gastrointestinal exploration I was about to embark on.  Bathroom door closed behind me, a sealed yogurt container in front of me.  I popped the lid.  Smelled like sh*t.  Looked like sh*t.  It was definitely sh*t.  My friend had left it for me that morning, a gift -- "the good sh*t," we had earlier joked.  It was helpful to have a sense of humor around such an odd and awkward circumstance.  But with the backing of an MD and an ND, hours and hours of research, and the home infusion protocol in hand, I was confident in this circumstance.  I decided to skip the antibiotics in the protocol because I wanted to avoid them if I could, and I wondered if things would work without this step.  I also didn't do a colon lavage or bother to get any saline solution for mixing.  I wanted to see what would happen if I just did the damn thing with no preparation.

So this was it.  Now or never.  My friend's turd was my medicine.  I scooped out some poo with a spoon and mixed it in a separate container with a little water until I had a brown slurry.  I then poured the slurry through a strainer into another container.  This watery sh*t shake was then streamed into a small fleet enema bottle, after which the I screwed on the probe-like lid.  The concoction was prepared.  The mad scientist in me became excited for the unknown results of what I was about to do.  I got in enema position.  Then in it went, where the sun don't shine.  Squirt.  I held it, got up, cleaned up, and left the bathroom that cold winter morning with somebody else's crap in my colon.

I went about my day as usual, preparing some breakfast and sitting down to eat.  "Hmm.  No difference so far."  About two hours later, I felt the urge to "drop the kids off at the pool."  To my surprise, what came out wasn't my usual brew -- it smelled and looked exactly like my friend's sh*t.  And it came out much easier than was usual for me.  Okay, so obviously my donor's bacteria had multiplied and formed stool in my colon.  But would that last?  To my disappointment, I had my usual hard stools that evening.  The next morning I did the protocol again with the same result.  Again the following morning.  Damn.  Something isn't right.  I realized I might not be getting the bacteria far enough up the colon to make a difference.  In Borody's clinic they often implant the feces deep in the colon through a colonoscopy instrument -- all I had was a little squirt bottle.  Add in the fact that my bowel problems appeared to be more in my small intestine near my ileocecal valve, and I decided I needed to treat more than just the first few bends of my colon.  Knowing it wasn't possible at home to replicate the clinical procedure, I began pondering another route to get deeper into the GI tract.  Borody had employed another method of fecal transplant which involved a "nasojejunal tube."  This instrument was basically a complicated way of getting the feces into the small bowel through the nasal passage and stomach.  Well I wasn't about to snort some sh*t.  But crazy as it sounds, I was strongly considering drinking a sh*t shake.

Part 9 of "My Intestinal Saga" coming soon ... 


Jonathan said...

Holy sh#%t!! haha. I can't wait to read the end and the cure of your intestinal saga!!!

Yves said...

Loving the story Ryan. The small bowel is relatively free from bacteria, so I don't know how good of an idea it would be to administer the HPI into the small bowel (although as you say that is the method used in some settings). Do you know the volume of the solution you administered? I am surprised you were able to go about your day without relieving yourself sooner. I have tried Probiotic infusions (with commercial probiotics, not human) and have difficulty with retention. Like you though I think my problems may be more to do with the small bowel (b. hominis infection) than large.

Gabriella Kadar said...

Hm, I was just thinking, aquarium airline tubing is thin, soft but not too soft and probably if it is lubricated, can be inserted gradually into the colon quite a distance.

So in the interests of promoting your experiment, I tried on your behalf to find out if this is feasible.

Without too much forethought or effort, I managed to get the hose up 12 inches. Yes, the sensory nerve endings were telling my brain that something foreign was making it's way in. And to be honest with you, since I didn't make Sharpie markings on the hose prior to, I didn't know how much went up. I measured after removal. So I was surprised that it was actually that easy to do.

Probably you could pick up a few meters of hose from an aquarium supply shop and determine for yourself how easy or difficult this procedure can be. On the plus side, airline hose is very inexpensive, thinner than a colonoscopy tube, probably more flexible but not so flexible that it will curl up and when you are done, you can sterilize it with dilute Chlorox solution.

Probably you should do a colon cleanse first so fecal matter won't block passage of the airline hose. Also, if you don't have any of your own any fecal bulk present you will increase retention time of the fecal transplant material.

See if the hose will pass around into the transverse colon. That way it will potentially stick around for 24 hours per dose.



dannheimjellett said...
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Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Perhaps you would get better results if you feed the implant/good bacteria.

There is a practitioner who has written a couple of books on the subject and who also performs a similar procedure in his office. He uses sweet whey to feed/grow beneficial bacteria.

I can attest that feeding the good bacteria is critical. And have run into a more that a few people who were able to treat their problems only after they feed the implant.

Matt Stone said...

With the exception of the shit squirt, that all sounds pretty familiar. Vegetarian - check. Starvation - check. Lost in Wilderness without enough food - Check. Drop everything for some wacky health thing - check (I left Maui... MAUI, to drink raw milk?). Trip to Planet Vonder - check.

Anyways, I'm lovin' it.

When we get together someday, we can poop back and forth, forever!!! I'm so putting this on your Facebook wall right now.

Ryan Koch @ Health Matters to Me said...


You're right that the small bowel has low numbers of bacteria. I figured that whatever bacteria rooted there during the implant were meant to be there. I've never had a problem with SIBO or anything like that. I probably inserted about a quarter-cup of liquid.

dr. gk,

Wow! Thanks for taking one for the team! :-)

That is quite inventive and might help things establish better. Alternatively, one could use gravity to get the solution in further by hanging an enema bag. This is suggested in the protocol (which I didn't follow hardly at all).

Ryan Koch @ Health Matters to Me said...


Until you go shit squirt, you will never fulfill your health extremist potential. Pooping back and forth forever will get you there, for sure. Just don't leave Maui to do it.

trix said...

Quite an apropos video link, Matt.

I am enjoying the series...glad we didn't have to wait over a month for another part.

Wouldn't an enema/douche bag system work better than a bulb syringe type? I tried a coffee enema once with one of those...(caffeine jitters was all I seemed to get from that experience)

Still hoping this really eventually 'cured' your bowel problems.

Ryan Koch @ Health Matters to Me said...


An enema probably would have gotten things "deeper," so it may have been better. That's what's recommended in the protocol that I didn't follow.

I don't want to leave you in suspense. I still have gut problems, but I definitely have a better idea how to approach this therapy if I were to try it again (which I would like to do at some point). I'll talk about what I learned and what I'd do differently in upcoming posts.

Guitar said...

Hi there great post!
I've had ibs-diahrrea symptoms since i got sick with glandular fever and viral meningitis when i was 16 years old. To cut a long, long story short, i've had severe problems my whole life because of all the antibiotics they pumped me full of. I'm now 35. I recently ran the hydrogen breath test which came back telling me i had severe SIBO. And the other week i ran a DNA ecology profile, which basically examined my faeces. The results came back telling me i had extremely severe levels of candida in my gut.

Anyway, I am now on the Paleo diet which has really helped to slow things down and reduce all the other symptoms that come with it. Basically, I avoid all sugars, dairy products, grains and carbs as much as i can.

After much research and having tried just about every form of treatment i really feel that Faecal Transplantation is my only option. I have Borody's home protocol which I can send you if you don't have it. My problem is I would need to get it into my small bowel and the only way to do that is to drink it as i can't see myself sticking a tube down my throat. I've got so desperate now that it doesn't phase me any more. I just wonder is it dangerous to swallow shit?? (Yes, I would screen my friend's feces before doing it for any nastys)

Any thoughts? I just want to get on with living again as life is passing me by very quickly.....

Thanks and good luck yourself!


Guitar said...

Sorry, I've just seen you already have the 'Borody Home Protocol'.

Dr Borody, is well ahead of the game when it comes to intestinal flora and all things stomach related. Thanks to him and his colleague they found a cure for the Helicobacter Pylori. For years doctors said that nothing could live in the acids of the stomach until they discovered the HP bacteria swimming around in there. Then afterwards none of the pharmaceuticals companies wanted to acknowledge its existence because too much money was being made from medicine like antacids. Finally his colleague injected the HP bacteria into himself and then eradicated it to show the world that it could be cured.

It's a twisted world we live in. It makes you wonder how many other cures they already have but don't release because of the amount of money that's made from prescriptions and over the counter medicines.

I'll quite my ramblings now...



Anonymous said...


can I get your email address? I have some info/insight that might help, dont want to leave a long page of comment.

Ryan Koch @ Health Matters to Me said...


I'll talk about swallowing shit next post, which may be a week from now since I'll be traveling.

Anonymous May 31st,

product reviews said...
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Anonymous said...

Well, first time in your blog. I haven't read it all, at least all the parts concerning your intestinal saga. So I'll ask anyway, maybe speaking as an ignorant. Haven't you tried gaps diet protocol to restore intestinal function and bacteria? Not to question your fecal transplant, I'm having a lot of fun reading it, but gaps has worked for many people without such drastic measures. Anyway, good luck with it, hope you get better.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, my husband went to see one of Borody's colleagues here in the states W.Chamberlain ( Texas) for his Ulcerative colitis years ago. Great guy. But really sounds like your gut flora is messed up. Why not take some blood type specific probiotics and Intrinsia which has something called ARA-6 also known as Larch. Sounds to me like you migh like the work of Dr. D'Adamo he is all about individualized diets and gut health related to the gut biome.

We did one of these fecal transplants at my job, I am a nurse in an Endoscopy unit. Might want to do a cleanse then after a BM, use an enema bottle and lie on you left side and hold it in for a few minutes. You could also use an enema bag to do a similar thing.

Dr. L.I.F.E. said...

So as a scientist myself, I needed to see what the literature had to say about this bacteriotherapy and it appears there is data to support that it does in fact have a positive relationship with the reversal of bacterial pathogens and in the promotion of oral health.



Who knew? Maybe we all should have sh*t shakes for lunch. Clearly better for your colon than the shakes McDonald's are serving.

Bravo Ryan!

Yves said...

Ryan, sorry if I missed it, but you said you would talk more about the b. hominis. Were you able to resolve the infection? I believe mine is gone and 90% of my digestive problems with it. I am skeptical that bacteriotherapy is the appropriate therapy for this infection since b. hominis is known to consume bacteria, all that I have read seems to indicate probiotics are neutral to harmful for b. hominis infections. The bug also resides not just in the large intestine (destination for the probiotics), but the cecum and ileum, and probably the the small intestine (it does in animals anyway). Looking forward to the updates!

Ryan Koch @ Health Matters to Me said...


Blasto may still be part of the problem for me, and I figured a fecal transplant would cure it/displace it with high number of beneficial bacteria. Maybe it did, maybe it didn't. I haven't gotten tested recently to find out.

As far as I know, probiotics have not been scientifically documented to be food for Blasto. My suspicion is that people with Blasto as their problem have trouble with probiotics because they typically come with a lot of bloating, which can easily exacerbate any intestinal issue.

I'll be going on an antibiotic regimen in the near future and will see how things turn out. What did you do to help your infection?