I recently got a question from a reader about selecting a donor to do the Fecal Transplant for Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis.
Can you post something about how you collected a sample from a friend? I am mortified about the social part. I would also like to make it the physical process as easy for them as possible (could get a sample kit from a medical test package, I guess). Do you have suggestions? How did you choose a donor? How much to collect to make it worth all the trouble, etc.? Any input on all these things as I and others try to figure this out would be wonderful. Thanks and good luck to you.
I asked a very good friend of mine who I knew to be pretty open-minded to become my roommate with this plan in mind. He was well aware of the toll this illness had on me and is very comfortable with his body.
So for about 5 weeks my donor faithfully pooped in a glad ware container and put it in the fridge if I weren’t home at the time. Ideally you would do the fecal transplant everyday at roughly the same time, however I didn’t. Also some treatment protocols say that it only takes 5 days or even once or twice. Others like Sky Curtis assured me that 4 months were necessary. My experience was this, I did it for 5 weeks and then did not do anymore. Then I added various drugs into the mix. Over time I kept getting better, minor flares still happened but each one was less severe and shorter in duration than the one before it.
I speculate that this could be because there were still some pathogenic bacteria possibly like MAP bacteria that had become active and then had to be gotten under control by the bacteria in the colon. However since I was using drugs that slowed diarrhea and strengthened the immune system (see other posts about Doxepin, Bupropion and Low Dose Nalrexone) and provided bowel rest and adequate nutrition (meal replacement shakes like Muscle Milk) I was able to keep going and I assume that the healthy bacteria and my immune system were able to fight off any possible inflammation triggering infections.
If I had it to do over again there are some things I would do differently.
1) I would do a course of anti-biotics like Vancomycin, Flagyl or Cipro to wipe out all existing bacteria. Even if this did not help treat the infection it would reduce the number of competing bacteria and help the new bacteria colonize faster. This might also reduce some of the bloating that I felt which could have been due to the new bacteria competing for dominance in the colon.
2) I would do a full bowel prep like for a colonoscopy. This could also help clear out existing bacteria to make it easier for the new bacteria to colonize.
3) I would continue on a maintenance medication like Apriso and also Mesalamine Suppositories. This could help reduce inflammation and speed up the process of the new bacteria colonizing.
4) I would start on drugs to reduce Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms like diarrhea and muscle spasms like anti-anxiety drugs or anti-depressants at the time of starting this procedure. It took me until after I had finished doing the transplants.
5) Low Dose Naltrexone may also be very helpful starting at about the same time as the transplants if not before since it can help strengthen the immune system.
6) Bupropion could also help for some of the same reasons and because it may reduce inflammatory response because it is a TNF-a inhibitor.
And above all else keep the faith, this takes time as you get better and it’s not a smooth uphill ride. You will still have some flares along the way, but by the end of about 4 – 6 months your symptoms will be almost completely gone.