REAL LIFE

Saved by poo!

Donor poo was put inside Emma to help her tummy troubles...
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Emma Ferguson, 29, Melbourne, Vic

Pushing my plate away, I rubbed my swollen tummy. 

 ‘I look six months pregnant,’ I moaned to my mate.

 ‘The same thing happens to me when I eat pasta,’ she said.

 She was trying to be sympathetic but I wanted to scream.

What I was feeling was so much worse than being a bit bloated. It was excruciating. And all I’d eaten was chicken and veg.

My problems had started back in high school. First, I developed intolerances to dairy and wheat, then eggs and lentils. My stomach would go rock hard and sometimes I couldn’t poo for a week. Tests for Crohn’s or coeliac disease came back negative. In the end, doctors diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome.

It might sound gross, but I didn’t care. I would’ve tried anything.

‘It’s more than that,’ I cried, frustrated. ‘I feel like all my organs are being compressed.’ I couldn’t even eat a banana without my belly ballooning and pains ripping through my middle.

Last year, I was referred to a specialist who took a stool sample to analyse the levels of bacteria in my gut. The results showed an imbalance – there were too few beneficial bacteria and an overgrowth of bad bacteria. And it had a name – dysbiosis. ‘Finally!’ I said. ‘So how do we treat it?’

The doctor explained I needed a course of antibiotics to kill all the bacteria. Then they’d do a fecal microbiota transplant. It meant donated poo would be put inside me to replace the good bacteria.

A poo transplant! It might sound gross, but I didn’t care. I would’ve tried anything.

This May, I had a colonoscopy and a healthy stool sample was placed inside me. Over the next few weeks, I used an enema kit at home to insert another nine.

Amazingly, the poo procedure has already changed my life.It’s not a quick fix but I’m sleeping better and have more energy. I can’t believe I was saved by poo! 

 What is fecal microbiota transplant (FMT)

➜ Stool is collected from a tested donor, mixed with saline or other solution and strained.

➜ It’s placed in a patient by colonoscopy, endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or enema.

➜ The purpose is to replace good bacteria that has been killed or suppressed, usually by the use of antibiotics.

➜ The success rate is estimated to be well over 90 per cent.

 If you would like to help emma, go to www.gofundme.com/emstransplant

This story was originally published in that’s life! Issue 24, 9 June 2016.

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