Try your best not to get sick when I tell you this. Like, you may want to sit down. There are now pills that are made of actual human feces that can cure Clostridium Difficile infections, which typically kill 14,000 people each year. In other words: a less yucky way to do poop transplants. I know. I feel queasy typing out the word poop as it is.
Apparently Canadian researchers tried using this new poop pill on 27 patients with the severe infection. The pill cured all of them when antibiotics failed to help at all.
So I know you want to know: How's this work? Well let's get to it, shall we?
The patient with the severe infection first needs to get donor stool, which usually comes from a relative. This donor stool is processed in a lab where they remove the food and then extract the bacteria. After it's cleaned, the remnants are packed into triple-coated gel capsules that don't dissolve until they reach the intestinal tract.
A comforting tidbit? There's technically no stool left inside the pill, just the stool bugs. OK, so maybe that isn't exactly comforting. But regardless, 24 to 34 pills later (all of which are taken in one sitting), good bacteria finds the infection and helps restore the normal variety of bacteria in the intestines necessary for recovery. Wam bam, you're no longer pooped out. (Sorry, I had to.)
At the end of the day, there's no butts about it, this sounds gross. But considering Clostridium Difficile infections are very painful and potentially deadly, it makes sense that patients would be open to this sort of thing. As frightening as it is to admit this -- I'd try it if I had to.
One thing's for sure: The guy who thought of asking family members for their stool, well, I'm sure at the first suggestion, he probably got some weird looks.
What do you think about this?
Image via Be.futureproof/Flickr