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Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT) – Is it right for you?


What is FMT?

FMT began as a more radical treatment involving the insertion of donor fecal material into the affected patient through a colonoscopy, however, it is becoming more widely used specifically in treating recurrent C. diff infection.


Am I a candidate for FMT?

FMT is currently only found to be effective for patients with recurrent C. diff at this time. Research does not show it to be effective in treating symptoms of IBS, SIBO, or IBD.


What is C. diff?

Clostridium difficile is a bacterial infection causing diarrhea and abdominal pain and is typically triggered by antibiotic use or immunodeficiency.


How effective if FMT?

FMT has a 60-90% success rate in C. diff patients after just one treatment.


How does the process of receiving a fecal transplant work?

The most common FMT delivery method is through a colonoscopy. During the procedure, the doctor places a small amount of donor fecal matter into the terminal ileum. Recently, there has been development in delivering FMT to restore normal microbiota noninvasively through swallowing a capsule.


Which method is the most effective?

In a recent study, patients diagnosed with C. diff were treated with Vancomycin and randomly assigned to receive FMT either through a colonoscopy or an oral capsule. The group assigned to FMT by means of capsule rated their overall experience as more pleasant and had fewer minor adverse side effect than the colonoscopy group with the same success rate of 96.2%.

Oral capsule FMT also allows for office administration possibly reducing cost and allowing for a more expedited process in timely treatment. However, colonoscopy administration may be beneficial in identifying an alternative diagnosis (such as ulcerative colitis). While this study seems favorable of oral capsule FMT, there is ongoing research allowing for a further understanding of the optimal timing, format and microbiota make up of FMT to increase the effectiveness in C. diff treatment.

To reference the article directly, click here.
Kelsey Zuckerman Patient Care Coordinator

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