Stool banking: should you make a deposit?

What exactly is stool banking and what can it do for you?

Mature scientist testing in a lab

While it may sound a bit gross, the practice of stool banking is beginning to take off around Australia.

So, why is there a big push for poo banks?

At the moment, it’s for people who suffer from a kind of intractable diarrhoea caused by a bug called clostridium difficile. This infection can’t be fixed with antibiotic therapy or other medicines, so, the only thing for it is a fecal transplant.

When fecal transplants are used to treat this infection, they have a cure rate of between 81 and 94 per cent.

The Gastroenterological Society of Australia think there should be at least one ‘stool bank’ set up in a public hospital in each state and territory. These banks would house pre-stored frozen fecal samples derived from healthy donors, but not from obese people, as studies have shown that obesity can be transmitted via this type of therapy.

A recent trial, where fecal microbiota was transplanted from obese mice to lean mice, led to the skinny mice gaining weight.

How does a fecal transplant work?

It’s simple really – and quite cost-effective. Basically, processed poop containing ‘good’ bacteria is transplanted directly into the sick patient’s gut through a tube. There's also the option of a poo pill, which contains purified fecal bacteria made from fresh fecal matter on a patient by patient basis.

The success of fecal transplants in treating clostridium difficile has led to further trials to see if other conditions can be treated using the same method.

Doctors and scientists continue to study the role played by microbiota in other aspects of human health, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise when a ‘Brown Cross’ pops up in a hospital near you in the not-too-distant future.

Read more The Australian Financial Review

Have you, or do you know anyone who has had a fecal transplant? Did you know there was such a thing as stool banking?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    26th Jan 2017
    Sounds like a shit idea to me.
    But a good shit idea.
    26th Jan 2017
    Have they harvested from our Pollies yet?? They would have plenty to share :D
    26th Jan 2017
    Ha ha Mama C. But they need the good stuff to harvest - there's nothing in Canberra, only the other variety.
    26th Jan 2017
    If this "harvesting" was done with politicians their heads would be empty.

    26th Jan 2017
    Yes, a good idea. Something HAS to be done with this present government to give EVERYONE a bank account.
    26th Jan 2017
    It was inevitable that someone was going to spout rubbish about a new and emerging treatment that one day may save your life, rather than have a sane, rational discussion.

    Yes, it is not pleasant, but we are faced with many intractable bacterial problems now, that do not respond to antibiotics, and current treatments.

    Not going to be much different to a blood transfusion of donated blood from another person, and other than JW's, few of us now have a problem with that.

    Think about it.
    26th Jan 2017
    Just having a light joke here, John. I have no problem with poo transplants, except that these patients might have been saved a lot of time and pain, and avoided getting this sick in the first place.

    As for the gut problem, let's stop Doctors from prescribing antibiotics for every little thing? Let's allow our kids to eat some mud pies instead of chemical counter wipes to kill "ooo yukky" germs, that will actually increase a child's own immunity if exposed early enough. Let's encourage babies to be breastfed.

    I take a probiotic every day, plus eat fermented products such as organic sauerkraut. There are plenty of easy natural solutions to many health problems, but Big Pharma always wants a piece of the action, with more health problems created in the form of side effects. I'm not saying this is the case with the poo bank idea.

    I am speaking from my own observations here, where I've seen otherwise healthy people seek treatment for arthritis. The product prescribed causes gut upsets, so they get a prescription for that, then they need a drug because their bowels aren't working properly. Once they are at this point, they are re-absorbing toxins that should be eliminated, so chronic diseases like cancer are often the next part of their downward health journey.

    If only the original Dr could have told the arthritis patient to avoid acid-forming foods, like their morning orange juice!
    26th Jan 2017
    I agree with you about the over prescribing of antibiotics, but I can't see it ending. Patients seem to think it is their right to have what they want, despite what the doctor says, and even if it won't fix their problem.

    Sadly we've been brought up on the notion that pills will fix everything, and the ignorant in our community can't be persuaded otherwise. And not only that, but those same ignorant morons don't take the whole course, and "save" their pills for the next time, or give them to other family members.

    And don't get me started on the idiots out there who don't understand the difference between a "cold" and the "flu". I get sick of trying to explain that to ignoramuses over and over again.

    We need to spend more of our health budget on EDUCATION, not pills.
    26th Jan 2017
    And don't get me started on the idiots out there who don't understand the difference between a "cold" and the "flu".

    Or the difference between a bacteria and a virus! johninmelb
    Travelling Man
    26th Jan 2017
    You're really talking crap now, Johninmelb. By the way, the plural of ignoramus is IGNORAMI!
    26th Jan 2017
    You're spot on, John.

    I know the diff between a cold and a flu, and I know bacterium ain't viri, but I'm not sure whether you are ignoramusses or just plain ignorant, Travelling Man.
    26th Jan 2017
    Consensus on the net is ignoramuses. So I was correct in this case.

    Wiki says:

    The English plural is 'ignoramuses', ease of pronunciation not being relevant. 'Ignorami' would be a hypercorrection. Something strange happens when we want to use this word in Latin, though. It is a Latin verb, but in the play it is a proper noun.
    26th Jan 2017
    If anyone is interested in learning more try reading a book called 'Brain Maker' by Dr. David Purlmutter. Or take a look at his website. He explains it all, what effects our gut microbial and why and how it can be treated, including fecal transplants for those who have tried everything else. He recommends antibiotics only be used in serious cases. I had first hand experience being treated for Helicobacter Plyori with antibiotics and it made everything worse. Turns out we need this bacteria to regulate appetite.
    26th Jan 2017
    Oh please do lighten up johninmelb! As a nurse of 45 years standing, retiring as a senior nurse, I have seen more poo than you would dream about. Do not expect Scholarly articles from YLC this is not the forum for that. And there is no harm with some light hearted banter!
    If you are genuinely interested in the research try googling "faecal transplants australia" and you'll get enough reputable hits to keep you well and truly occupied.
    27th Jan 2017
    I had Clostridium.difficile resulting in a faecal transplant in 2014.
    Symptoms include severe diarrhea which for me was up to 18 episodes a day!
    Our daughter donated her faeces for which I am eternally grateful as I now have a gut full of good bacteria. A gastroenterologist told me it is one of the most difficult medical
    conditions to diagnose.
    27th Jan 2017
    Janran, I had a periodic medical condition which required me to take antibiotics.
    27th Jan 2017
    Penicillin saved my life when I was a toddler, so I'm very grateful that antibiotics were invented.

    Unfortunately, they are becoming less and less effective due to unnecessary over-prescribing and carte blanche use in animal/food production, which is exactly the opposite way they should be used. It gets into our food and soils and waterways, reducing their effectiveness even further.

    I don't believe Big Pharma cares a hoot about it - they are profitting from the sales of overused antibiotics and they are given grants and incentives to create bigger and (short-term) better super antibiotics. It's a win-win all the way to the bank.

    Both my parents-in-law died of super staph infections in hospitals. Neither of their death certificates stated this as the cause of death, even though mum was in an isolation room. She had open heart surgery three years prior, but the wound never healed.

    My advice is to avoid hospitals whenever possible, as most of them are rife with super staph, for which there's no known antibiotic.
    27th Jan 2017
    I agree antibiotics are over utilised & always advise family &
    friends to question their doctors. However it is a relatively new
    issue - approx. 10yrs. I think & is receiving more & more publicity.

    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles