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Medical Edge: What is Fecal Transplantation?

Updated: Monday, December 9 2013, 10:44 PM EST
MONTGOMERY, Ohio (Liz Bonis) -- Sarah Jividen was recently referred to Doctor Allen Peck after four years of serious GI symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, and diarrhea.

She says, "There were days, I have two young kids, and it was getting so I couldn't even play with them, I was always having to tell them mommy's tummy hurt."

Jividen had what is called Clostridium Difficile, or C-Diff for short.  It is initially treated with antibiotics.  But in about one out of every three people that's not enough to keep it and the symptoms from coming back.

Dr. Allan Peck said, "When you treat a patient with antibiotics for an infection what you find is you not only kill off the bad bacteria but also the good bacteria.  So when you do that an infection can come into the intestine called C-Diff, or Clostridium Difficile, and cause people to have diarrhea."

So Jividen made the decision to have what is called fecal transplantation. 

"The idea comes from having bad bacteria in the gut, and then taking a healthy volunteer, screening them, making sure they are healthy, no infections or anything like that, and then actually taking a stool matter and through a process in the lab, being able to actually instill it directly into the intestine of the person who has the problem."

The stool matter is placed in the intestine with a procedure just like a colonoscopy. In most cases it has a success rate of over 90 percent.

So what you are wondering is what can you do to avoid or reduce the risk of getting C-Diff?

Hand washing,  your own hands is the first step.  But Dr. Peck also suggests if you are in a hospital or doctors office for care it's okay for you to ask the provider if they've washed their hands when they come into a room.

Sarah Jiveden says reminding people of the importance of proper hand washing is why she is sharing her story; but she also wants others to know, you don't have to live with the symptoms of C-Difficile.

"I feel more normal than I have in the past four years, the most healthy I've been."

Video HEREMedical Edge: What is Fecal Transplantation?


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