If you have an autoimmune disease, I’d bet that at some point, like me, you’ve been at your wits’ end. How far would you go to heal?
One nasty-sounding-yet-potentially-effective experimental option is the fecal transplant.* People are doing this. Seriously. And sometimes it helps.
It’s a relatively new procedure, and it is what it sounds like. You take someone else’s crap and put it into your body. Some glamorous ways of doing this include 1. swallowing it (in a pill); 2. having it shoved up your derriere (by enema); 3. eating it (in a gluten-free brownie). Just kidding about that last one.
My oversimplified explanation is this: About 75% of the immune system is in the gut. If you have an imbalance of helpful v. unhelpful bacteria in there, autoimmune dysfunction can occur. So, if you take a healthy mix of gut bacteria from another person who’s a shining bacterial superstar and put into your own body, you can heal your gut and give your autoimmune disorder the boot.
I saw a NY Times Op-Doc video about a NASA scientist who gave himself a fecal transplant. It made me gag, but you should watch it because it’s totally bonkers and fascinating. Afterwards, I joked with my doctor about getting one, and he very sternly chided, “Don’t joke! It’s the future!” I didn’t expect to get yelled at for laughing about swallowing someone else’s shit. Lighten up, doc! Can’t I be open to a treatment and simultaneously acknowledge that it’s bizarre? Geez!
I would actually consider having a fecal transplant, once they've been better tested, and if I could figure out how to keep my gut healthy after the procedure.
Would you? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
And stay tuned! Next time, we’ll talk about people who infect themselves with parasites! Yay!
*Important note – this post is for informational purposes only. It is not a recommendation. See a medical pro if you wanna get a fecal transplant, but don’t try it on your own!