Trans-POO-sions

I haven’t spoken about poo in a while, have I? So, here’s a new use for poo…

WHAT? you say – there is only one use for poo and that’s to go down a toilet. WRONG!

798035-fecal-transplants

Faecal Microbiota transplantation has been viewed by many doctors as the crack-pot end of medicine but a recent study has suggested it might have a use.

What I’m talking about is a healthy person, with no nasty infections, donating their poo to have it mushed up with saline and then inserted via a tube into the intestine of the recipient. The idea is that medications like antibiotics kill off the natural bacteria in our bowels and that the usual probiotics containing lactobacillus may not replace the full range of natural organisms we need for health.

To explain the process simply, stool is put in a blender with saline (salt water), and poured into a syringe. The sick patient is then given the freshly homogenised human stool via a colonoscopy, which is done through the rectum.

The transplants are currently used to treat gut bacterial conditions such as colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Clostridium difficile, or C. diff – an infection which causes diarrhoea so severe that it kills thousands of people every year.

Tests are also being done in Europe to look at what else FMT can be used for – it is thought to be effective in treating metabolic issues, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and neurological conditions including Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinsons.

“Contrary to popular belief, stool has no waste in it – it’s a mass of good bacteria,” says Professor Borody, director of the Centre for Digestive Diseases , who does one to six transplants a week in his Five Dock clinic.

“The incoming bacteria are capable of killing bad bacteria and recolonising your gut, restoring your body’s balance and leading to a resolution of your symptoms.”

While it might sound gross, the results speak for themselves. Prof Borody has had people flying in from as far afield as Paris to undergo stool transplants in his surgery.

Many of his patients are C. diff sufferers who have been plagued with recurrent diarrhoea for years, but are cured within days.

So if FMT is so successful, why isn’t it more widely available?

“Some people just can’t get past the ick factor,” says Prof Borody. “It’s similar to any new theory or practice when it’s introduced – is very hard to get old dogs to learn new tricks. Little interest has been shown within the pharmaceutical industry. Young doctors are very much on board with FMT, it’s the old farts who are holding us back.”

Some enterprising individuals have taken up doing the job of doing it on their own by recruiting stool from their spouse or family. Some have had surprisingly good results as far as combating Crohn’s or Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms (but all the links I found in regards to this had been deleted – so, perhaps you might not want to try this one alone.)

Take a Deep Breath

A friend of mine sent me an article, which set off an alarm in a small area of my brain, which then made me start thinking – very dangerous stuff! All of this stuff together led me to:

1. There’s a theory that Fibromyalgia is the result of our bodies being in constant Fight or Flight response.  That somewhere deep in our brains a switch went off telling us there is danger afoot (permanently) and we need to stay alert and fight it off. Many of the symptoms of the flight and fight response are characteristic of FM. These include contraction of the musculature throughout the body, most particularly in the upper back, diaphragm, pelvis and legs; cold hands and feet due to the contraction of blood vessels; and gastrointestinal problems due to the blood shifting away from the digestive centres of the body. Sound familiar?

2. About 70% of fibromyalgia patients are diagnosed with non-allergic rhinitis every year, but close to 90% of people with FM complain of nasal allergies with constant runny noses and congestion.1 Rhinistis is often used as a synonym for sinusitis – hence the reason I ran my unofficial research poll, where over 70% of you claimed sinus problems most of the time. Recent studies have found that non-allergic rhinitis has a definite impact on the sleeping patterns of people with FM. Those who suffer from the symptoms of non-allergic rhinitis are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea, insomnia, and other sleep disorders.2 In addition, an estimated one-third of FM patients have pain or dysfunction in the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) which are located where the jaw meets the ear. If the muscles around the jaw go into spasm or develop trigger points, this, too, can cause sinus symptoms.

Conclusion: Many FM patients have problems breathing through their nose, therefore they must breathe through their mouths.

(Now this next part is where my friend’s article enters our little equation)

3. Mouth breathing serves an important function – to get large quantities of air into the lungs quickly in order to deal with an emergency. In an emergency, a survival response signals certain emergency fight-flight receptors in the sympathetic nervous system, which help us deal with the situation. Some researchers have suggested that chronic mouth breathing can actually stimulate a sustained Fight or Flight (survival) response common in states of anxiety and fear.

And this leads us back to Point 1 about FM being a chronic flight or fight response condition. Are you following my train of thought? Or am I just rambling?

I couldn’t back any of this up with cold, hard research as all the papers that I could get my grubby little hands on were way out of my depth of understanding.

The basic point is: maybe our FM just started as a really bad case of untreated sinusitis? Maybe everybody has been looking in the wrong place for the cause behind this condition? AND wouldn’t it be great if our horrible condition could be easily cured by a course of really strong antibiotics and antihistimines?

Anyway, just an idea…

1.           http://www.fibromyalgia-symptoms.org/fibromyalgia_cold_symptoms.html. Please note, however, this figure from this site has been quoted numerous times despite the initial figures not being attributed to any particular research.

2.           Ibid.