Can Poop Cure an Infection?

Can Poop Cure an Infection?


Anna Rothschild: Ever wanted someone else’s
poo pumped through a tube in your nose? Me neither. But doctors are performing this procedure
on patients across the country. I’m Anna Rothschild, and this is Gross Science. Inside every person’s digestive tract there
are trillions of bacteria and other microbes, and these little guys are really important.
They do things like produce molecules your colon cells need to survive, or they extract
nutrients from your food. Scientists call these microbial communities your “gut microbiome.”
And in a healthy person’s gut, there’s a balance among the organisms present that
keeps the whole system in check. But, let’s say you wipe out a population
of bacteria, say because you had to take antibiotics for some reason. Other microbes can suddenly
proliferate out of control, in ways they never could before. This is exactly what happens
in many patients who have Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, infections. Certain microbes disappear,
allowing the bacterium C. diff to take over, causing diarrhea and even deadly inflammation
of the colon. So, how do doctors reset the microbial balance?
Well, recently they’ve been turning to something called a “fecal transplant,” which while
extremely effective, is also about as gross as it sounds. Essentially, doctors collect poop from a healthy
donor, mix it up with saline, and then filter out any undigested bits to create a brown
milkshake looking substance. They administer the poop slurry in one of
three ways. The first is backwards, through the anus. The second is through the nose,
using a tube that gets threaded down to the person’s stomach or small intestines. And
a newer experimental way is giving the treatment in pill form. The idea here is that the poop slurry contains
a complement of gut microbes from the healthy donor, which re-colonize the patient’s gut
and out-compete the disease-causing bacteria. This process sounds totally revolting, but
recent studies have shown that patients with C. diff who were given fecal transplants had
an average cure rate between 91 and 93%. Fecal transplants really challenge our ideas
of what we think of as “clean” and “dirty.” Current research is showing that they’re
simple life saving treatments, and yet, I wouldn’t blame anyone for being a little
squeamish. By the way, don’t try this at home. Ew. Joe Hanson: That was definitely gross. Wanna
know more about C. diff and other superbugs? Head on over and watch my video at It’s
Okay To Be Smart.

55 Replies to “Can Poop Cure an Infection?”

  1. I like Brain Craft and Gross Science because they both have similar styles to Vsauce and I also like female scientists a lot.

  2. Cool, but is really gross … ewwwwwwww LOL My young daughters will love it. Congrats with your work…Great Material ..

  3. When the fecal matter is delivered through the nose, wouldn't the instruments used for the procedure be dragging the bacteria that are supposed to be in the gut back through the digestive system? Would that cause other health complications? Makes popping a poop pill a lot more sanitary somehow.

  4. doesn't probiotics help? pls tell me the alternatives if u know I took too many antibiotics not hatin on poop but don't think u can find it in my country

  5. I love it! I've had digestion issues my whole life. If talking about 'poop' weren't so taboo, I probably could have gotten help when I was a lot younger. So, I've made it a point to be very open eager to talk about digestion and poo, despite the comfort level of those around me. Thank you making these videos! We need to get more familiar and comfortable with our bodies and their functions!

  6. Maybe the way we consider stuff gross is universally biased? The more I watch about gross stuff the more I realize the enormous benefits they possess. Still I would only take poop pills if I am about to die.

  7. I got C. diff after I took a round of antibiotics for strep throat. Sickest I've ever been in my life. Luckily, the antibiotics they use to counter it worked for me, so I didn't have to get a fecal transplant.

  8. There is actually another way poop can help infection. Cow dung is actually antiseptic. I heard a story from my friend about her grandma's sister . When her grandma was young in a rural area in the early 30's she was playing with her sister running around outside barefoot. Her sister stepped on a squirrel bone and it punctured the bottom of her foot. By the next day she had redness, swelling, her foot felt hot and red streaks going up her leg. So their mother made a poultice of cow dung caught in a clean bucket before it hit the ground. Every time it dried, she would wash the area off with warm water and apply more fresh moist dung all night. By morning, all redness and streaks were gone as well as the wound healed afterwards without any other issues.

  9. how does one become a fecal donor? like blood, do you have be a match? like plasma, do the donors get paid? $-)

  10. I love how she says things! There's that certain emphasis that she has and it makes the videos super interesting!

  11. i thought the concept in strong woman dobongsun that poop wine can heal was not real until this ._. i still cant beleive it's real

  12. Why can't they Farm bacteria and puting it inside the human body, instead of putting fecal matter up through their nose.

  13. …The doctors who were in charge of the transplants sure had a… cruddy job. Though, it seems to work more or less poorfectly. I feces wasn't necessary, because that would pee terrible to have to go through.

  14. Always get your FMT from a US-Certified Organic Vegan who has not visited a doctor for the past 5 years,
    else you could die from antibiotic resistant bacteria common in livestock grown in industrial farms.

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