Saved by poo!

Donor poo was put inside Emma to help her tummy troubles...

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

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

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