Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Intestinal Saga, Part 9: The Long Journey of Mister Poop

Having decided that the best way to treat the entirety of my GI tract with a fecal transplant was through the oral route rather than rectally, I pondered just how in the heck I would get myself to consume my friend's sh*t -- I mean, it can't taste good, right?  Hmm.  Probably not.  Then there was the problem of administering the concoction.  I didn't have a nasojejunal tube and sedatives, as Borody's clinic does, so I would certainly have to just toss it down the hatch and pinch my nose.  One woman I was in contact with -- a retired nurse -- said that fecal bacteriotherapy used to be around in her day (the 60s) as a last resort therapy for ailing patients, and it often worked (interestingly enough without antibiotic or colon lavage preparation procedures).  How did they administer the therapy back then?  Milk + poo.  A sh*t-shake.  I thought this would be an easy and perhaps even pleasant way to go.  Heck, I might even have a burger and fries with it.

So, on day three of my adventure in feces shenanigans, I popped open the yogurt container with my donor's deposit inside.  Stinky!  (Duh.)  I mixed a bit of the stool with water and strained it into a mason jar.  I had some goat milk on hand and stirred it in.  The mad scientist was at it again, and nobody could stop him.  I looked at the whitish-brown beverage in front of me.  For a second I thought about sweetening it or something, but I had already begun to feel my body and mind rejecting the idea of consuming the liquid, so it was now or never.  Just do the damn thing before doubt takes over.  Glass to lips, in it went.  Oh, dear God!  It was the most acrid taste I've ever experienced in my entire life.  My gag reflex kicked in and almost kept me from swallowing, but somehow I managed to get it down.  Gurgle!  Gulp! ...  Holy sh*t.  I just ate sh*t.  The horrible taste remained, so I immediately began rinsing my mouth and smearing toothpaste all over my gums.  I must have rinsed for 20 minutes.  During this time, I realized I could have probably at least pinched my nose while I drank the poo drink.  Oh well.

And so the millions of bacteria were now in my stomach doing God knows what.  The long journey of mister poop had begun!  Thankfully, I had no need to vomit.  In fact, besides the objectionable taste, it was a downright quick and painless experience.  I wondered how this would turn out.  Would I have diarrhea or a food-poisoning kind of episode?  Only time would tell.  Surprisingly, that evening, as I laid down to go to bed, I had a feeling that I hadn't had since I ate very little food for several years and did yoga and meditation every day.  It was a feeling of complete and total comfort in my gut -- my body felt 100% relaxed.  I think it worked!  I fell asleep quickly and woke in the morning feeling refreshed and energetic.  I remember playing guitar and singing that day -- my voice was smoother than it had ever been.  I presumed this was due to my stomach not being bloated and stiff, so I could finally breathe fully again.  Amazing!

The afternoon rolled around and I felt a strong urge to sh*t.  When I did, it happened very quickly and without difficulty -- definitely something new for me, since I was usually the opposite.  It was a soft, well-formed stool and, hot damn, it smelled just like my friend's poo!  The poo cocktail must have survived the acid bath of the stomach and traveled the entire length of the intestinal tract.  The question was, would these feelings remain?  Unfortunately, they didn't.  That evening, I had trouble sleeping again and woke the next morning to another difficult bowel movement.  "Well," I thought, "maybe it will take some time for the bacteria to fully establish."  I was certainly done drinking sh*t-shakes, so I decided to stop the experiment.  Everything returned to "business as usual" in my intestines, and I decided that most impressive conclusion of this experiment was that nothing changed, good or bad.

Up next, Part 10 of "My Intestinal Saga" -- final thoughts ... 
.

11 comments:

Gabriella Kadar said...

Maybe all you need do is take magnesium. 600mg per day. Oftentimes people aren't getting enough magnesium.

The other thing is potassium. Excess stays in the bowels and hydrates feces.

According to Konstantin, the difference between constipation and a good bowel movement is only 1 tablespoon of water.

Drinking water won't help.

Otherwise, I don't know.

Anonymous said...

I have crohn's, have failed multiple treatments, but have been fascinated with stool transplants as a cure. while changing my daughter's diaper (3 years old, never on antibiotics, eats a good diet with good digestion) i took the plunge and downed about 2 tbsps worth of stool with a ton of water. 2 days later i was the sickest i had ever been with flu-like symptoms. this persisted for almost 10 days. not sure if it was a die-off reaction or just plain coincidence. i still might give it a run again in the future.

Anya said...

Mixing it with milk seem counter intuitive.
Is milk not VERY anti-microbial ?

Why not make your own pills from empty capsules ?

Why not let it dry/freeze first, if you look at dogs for instance they'll prefer to eat dried or frozen cow dung.
(maybe there's something about the bacteria going into 'hibernation' mode which is needed for travel through the stomach's acid ?)

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

Anya:

Wow! Good observation about the dried/frozen thing.

I was just talking to my permaculture friends who discussed with me the fact that it is better to let horse manure sit and dry before using it in compost and in mixtures designed to aid in building microbes in soil. Perhaps the drying allows other unwanted organic matter to be disposed of as a part of the microbe survival, leaving just the microbes behind.

I am no soil or sh*t scientist, but that seems pretty intuitive to me.

Ryan Koch @ Health Matters to Me said...

Gabriella,

Thanks for the input. I actually do take magnesium to keep my stools from becoming hard, and it works well. It doesn't take away the bloating and stiffness, though.

Anya,

These are things I would consider if I were to this procedure again. Very good points. I was confident that the milk wouldn't really affect anything because of what the retired nurse told me about how they administered poo therapy back in the day. And, judging by my body's reaction, it seemed that the bacteria survived just fine. Thanks for the thoughts.

Ryan Koch @ Health Matters to Me said...

Regarding milk + poo: Just came across one man's recollection of using the "milkshake" version of fecal transplant 40 years ago (source):

Forty years ago, we treated antibiotic resistant bacteria in the colon by giving the patient a dose of antibiotic sensitive E. coli in a malted milkshake. The sensitive bacteria would replace the resistant bacteria in a day or so. Our theory, or that of my professor who devised the treatment, was that “wild” or sensitive bacteria are better adapted to the normal colon environment. Antibiotic resistant bacteria can only take over when the sensitive bacteria are killed off by antibiotics, as when a patient has been treated for an infection like diverticulitis. When the antibiotics are stopped, the normal sensitive bacteria will quickly oust the resistant ones which are less adapted for life in a normal colon. All that is necessary is to provide a dose of the normal wild bacteria.

In the County Hospital, we used the same method although we did not have the nicety of cultured sensitive bacteria. We would take a fecal sample from a healthy patient coming in for hernia surgery, for example, and give it to the patient in a milkshake.

Needless to say that none of the patients were ever told the extra ingredient of the milk shake.

Anonymous said...

Oh...:( I was so hopeful this was a cure for you.

I thought the above idea about freezing/capsules might work over time? Sounds reasonable.

Ok, I am fairly new here. So forgive me if you are aware of the following information.

FODMAPS. This has brought new hope to my life. Check out the book "IBS Free At Last" by Patsy Catsos, MS,RD,LD.

I too have all of the symptoms you do. However, reading the above book has helped me be in control of the cause/effect of the foods that are responsible.

Anyone suffering IBS should read this book. Not that all IBS sufferers will be helped, however, many will.

A fellow sufferer introduced me to Tri-Salts last week. Tri-Salts by
Ecological Formulas. It is wonderful. I take one tsp in the evening. I prefer this product to magnesium alone.

I also take mega amounts of ascorbic acid Vit C crystals by Now brand.

Wishing your colon to be at peace.

Ryan Koch @ Health Matters to Me said...

Anonymous,

I have looked into various restrictive diets and have come to the conclusion that the single most deleterious food for me is gluten and that, while I do get bloated from ice cream or cherries or other high-FODMAPS kinds of foods, most actually improve my stools.

Tri-salts looks to be a simple cal/mag formula with added potassium. I'm pretty happy with magnesium alone at the moment. Vit C definitely causes cramping for me.

Thanks for the information and well wishes!

Anonymous said...

You are deluding yourself that you are a mad scientist, you are just MAD, the bacteria would have all been destroyed by your gastric acid, and passed dead into your colon where they would have exerted some minor immunomodulatory effects but nowhere near what you would have had had you gone to a medical practice. The antibiotics are also used to reduce colonisation resistance with your bad bacteria. People who claim they are scientists just because they do something completely negligent and idiotic really bug me

Ryan Koch @ Health Matters to Me said...

Sorry that you feel that way about my little experiment. Before you judge me, though, you should really look further into some of the claims you've made. You may be surprised to find that the procedure isn't as black and white as the research suggests and that there is sufficient anecdotal evidence to raise questions, my experience included.

For example, there is a fecal transplant clinic in Oregon that has had success without using antibiotics. Also, there are stories from the mid-1900s and earlier of clinics that would give their patients "poo-shakes" (poo and milk together) to successfully restore their health when nothing else could -- oftentimes without the patient knowing about it!

So much for your claims about gastric acid and the necessity of antibiotics, eh?

Somebody like yourself is a good example of what is wrong with science today: ego. There are too many people who act like they have the answers and are so sure of themselves, yet they fail to address the anomalies or question further the obvious intricacies of any given subject. These people stop asking questions when they have found "the answer."

People who claim to be rational or scientific but are really just close-minded, self-righteous know-it-alls who have nothing better to do than discredit anything that falls outside of their realm of understanding really bug me.

John from Eugene said...

As a coprophile, I find this story titillating.