Return Home

Poop the Magic Gut Cure

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 03:00 PM

Okay, no puns. No polite, squeamish euphemisms. This is big news.

A team in the Netherlands has shown that fecal transplants are wildly effective in curing intestinal infections. Fecal transplants! That's the taking of a healthy person's stool and putting it into your gut.

The technique was so effective that the trial was actually stopped. Why? It was considered unethical to continue while withholding the wonderfully-effective fecal transplants from the other control groups.

The way it works is that the healthy bacteria in the stool transplant essentially repopulate the flora in the barren ecosystem of the sick person. Though there has been talk of this method for a long time, (occasional papers on it, doctors practicing it here and there), this study represents the first randomized trial comparing transplants to antibiotics. The results were pretty astounding. 43 patients. All of them have a vicious intestinal infection called Clostridium difficile. 17 got the fecal transplants. 13 got an antibiotic (vancomycin). 13 got the antibiotic plus an enema (to deep clean the colon). One of the fecal transplant patients had to drop out for unrelated reasons, and from there, 15 of the 16 were completely cured. Of the folks on antibiotics, only 7 of 26 were cured.

There's been a lot written about this in the last few days, but I found Maryn McKenna's article at WIRED to be the most thorough. She had written about this treatment a year ago and received overwhelming interest from patients -- those suffering from intestinal infections and desperate for a cure -- and almost complete radio silence from doctors. Her read is that the main barrier to the treatment being widely available is reluctance from doctors: "physicians’ own distrust of the procedure, or distaste for it."

It's true, the nuts and bolts of fecal transplant are pretty grody. Since doctors don't know exactly which bits of the healthy stool are necessary for the transplant to fight off the bacterial infection, they have to transplant it basically as-is. Stool is taken from a healthy person (and screened to make sure there are no parasites or infectious organisms). It's put in a blender. It is mixed with salt water. It is then pumped into the gut via enema or nose. Yes, nose -- a tube full of stool is fed in through the nose and down the throat, past the stomach and into the intestines.

The hope is that, over time, it will be possible to isolate the helpful bacteria from the healthy stool, and come up with an easier (and less stomach-churning) way of getting it into patients. But for now the stool needs to stay intact. So, poop in a blender it is.

So, here is my question for you. Couldn't we come up with a better sounding name than "fecal transplant?" A Canadian group came up with the term "RePOOPulate." Cute, but I'm still not feeling it. Couldn't we come up with something more soothing-sounding? Something that would sound reassuringly potent and healthy if you had a painful infection? Something you could brag about to your coworkers on your way to the doctor's office?

Please post your ideas below! And heck, if we get some good ones, I will gladly send them over to the good folks in South Holland who conducted this trial. Onward folks, poop to the people!

To get your brain whirring, remember -- the way this works is that the sick person's intestine gets repopulated with lots of nice healthy flora (bacteria) from the transplant. So maybe something about fertilizer?

Avoid marketing mistakes from times past. Turns out this treatment has been around a long time. A really long time. The Chinese were doing it as far back as the 4th century (according to this New York Times article); they'd give it to people by mouth. But they apparently called it (again, according to the New York Times)... "yellow soup."


More in:

Comments [88]

D. Helper from Ventura

STOP! Please! Come on... poop? Really? I had a similar problem and my friend had C Diff. We both got rid of it with acidophilus... it works, it makes sense, it's heathy, it's clean, and it's easy! She even gave it to her cat and the cat got better too. So that rules out the placebo thing. (Note: get the live stuff, not the pills.) You don't need someone else's poop for pete's sake!

Mar. 12 2015 11:10 AM
David Scott from Edinburgh

You could call it " Preprofix '

This is a word I have created today...

A health solution that adds something to support an already existing, but failing homeostasis within a living organism's body.

Sep. 21 2014 03:23 AM
Len Payne

"Poop Soup"

Oct. 23 2013 09:00 AM
Todd Miller


Sep. 26 2013 12:22 AM


(lumen is another name for the tube of the GI tract)

Sep. 24 2013 10:26 PM
Bill from NC from NC

I worked on a brood mare farm (horse foaling) and I have seen many foals naturally eat their mom's manure (it is called coprophagia in the trade). When foals have serious diarrhea, many vets collect manure from the healthy mare and blend it with water (maybe sterile) and stomach tube the mix into the foal's stomach. It is a common practice. I love all the prior creativity - my offer is: illuminate :-)

Sep. 24 2013 10:11 PM
Gwen from Northern NJ

Repoopulate is not a normal stool transplant. It's a new product being developed where lab grown artificial stool is mixed with the needed 'good' bacteria, instead of having to take stool from a donor (who can carry diseases.):

I am currently undergoing treatment for C Diff. I am a candidate for a stool transplant. The FDA *did* put a hold on them not long ago but also recently lifted the temporary ban. (They were treating 'poop' as a new medicine... saying they needed to approve it first.) Stool transplants are currently allowed.

I am on my 4th round of antibiotics and also just today adding Cholestyramine (cholesterol drug that also is effective in binding C Diff and flushing it out of system) along with prescribed Florastor (probiotic with saccarymyces bollardi and other good bacteria.)

If you are just looking into treating your C Diff, the following page has been helpful in finding holistic/supplemental things to try:

Sep. 04 2013 06:24 PM
Paul from Canada

Yes it's done in Canada Edmonton, London , Hamilton, Toronto and it does work, provided you don't consider it a panacea.

Aug. 31 2013 10:35 PM
Sally from California

Hi Lulu,
I am with Margaret and have a daughter in her early 20's and cant believe the FDA has put a stop to a procedure but sure it has something to do with the fact it does not benefit drug companies. It is very sad that we would rather have people die then get this done. I have talked to many Dr offices that was doing the procedure but can no longer do it and expect the FDA will drag their feet and not allow Drs to treat their patients as they would like to and help them If every FDA employee contracted C-diff and realized that antibiotics dont work well maybe it would get approved faster, but in the mean time it will mean that those who are even well enough to travel will have to go out of the country. So I am also asking you if we can get the emails/names of this study and if they are willing to treat people out of the United States. I already checked with Canada and they said their indemnity policy wont allow them to treat anyone in the US so need another country that will. Please help if you know who will help those who want this procedure done.

Jun. 03 2013 09:31 PM
Margaret Horn from North Carolina


I need help, urgently. I have c. diff., and I need a fecal transplant. The FDA has put a hold on such transplants as done by doctors in the US. I need to know where they are done outside the US, ie, for example, where in the Netherlands? I will fly there if I need to, though it might be easier for me to fly to Canada.

Plz help if you can; you might be helping others as well. Thanks, Margar

May. 17 2013 11:28 AM
larry wag from metairie la

does lulu miller have her own show i thought i heard mention of such an endeavor.

May. 04 2013 11:00 AM
Tony Ruiz from Chino Valley, AZ 86323

I'm already starting to fill test tubes with my crap. I fill them very carefully then cork the little suckers, and comes with a bulb syringe for $19.95. It comes with an aerosol air freshener to be used prior and during the procedure, along with nose plugs and is delivered in a plain brown paper wrapper coated with lip balm.

Mar. 24 2013 08:01 PM
Jerome Campbell from Los Angeles, CA

Is there a homeopathic version?

Feb. 27 2013 09:47 PM


Feb. 27 2013 03:59 PM

I see a lot of older patients from nursing home are infected with C-diff, and never heard about stool transplant. This treatment provides a better outcome and seems more cost effective than to give more antibiotics like Flagyl and Vanco to patients. Hope to see this as a treatment option in the hospital soon.

Feb. 26 2013 04:30 AM
GmJ from San Diego

This is the one I would vote for. Before reading this article, I was unaware of this. Blenderizing with, let say caramel syrup, would be a mighty taste and healthy treat.

Feb. 23 2013 11:25 AM

Fecal Recall
Duty Calls!
Poo--Take Two
Italian Style-- I Adora flora no mora!
Stories from The Dirt Road

Feb. 23 2013 11:15 AM

stem stool therapy

loop the poop
bon appetit
back to the throne

He's got his head up his ass

Feb. 21 2013 09:27 PM

stool therapy

Feb. 21 2013 09:14 PM
The Man

(Gastrointestinal) Microbial Transplant... a decent euphemism for all the fecalphobes.

Feb. 21 2013 12:00 AM

poop water

Feb. 20 2013 10:02 PM
Tegan from Massachusetts

helpful link:

Feb. 17 2013 03:19 PM
Mary Zins from Miami

Coprophagous therapy

Feb. 13 2013 04:30 PM

BBR-Butt to Butt Resuscitation ;)

Feb. 06 2013 04:37 PM
Wayne Schmotzer from Bend, Oregon

I am a board certified equine veterinarian living in Bend, Oregon and was a staff veterinarian at Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine from 1983 - 1994. My medicine mentor introduced me to fecal transfaunation then and have been using the technique in Cattle, Sheep, llamas, alpacas, and horses for many many years. This is an excellent treatment technique for gut floral imbalance. My suggestion for some commenting is get over the thinking that the treatment is gross. Focus on what works.

Feb. 04 2013 05:00 PM
TommyD from Oakland


Feb. 04 2013 01:05 PM

I think that the key to making this treatment for appealing is to get away from any term relating to feces. Instead the name should focus on the bacteria that are being replaced. For example:

Enteric Bacteria Recolonization
Enteric Bacteria Replacement Therapy

Feb. 03 2013 11:54 PM
Phil from Eden Prairie, MN


Feb. 03 2013 04:34 PM
P. Triulzi from RTP, NC

For naming the procedure, I suggest:

Feb. 03 2013 03:13 PM
Edward Z. Rosenthal from Marlton, New Jersey, United States


Feb. 03 2013 02:28 PM
Amycate from Morristown, NJ

Deuce doping

Feb. 02 2013 05:46 PM
Ann E. Buddy

All of these suggestions are perfectly crapulent.

Feb. 02 2013 04:29 PM
TL from Boulder CO

Interflora? Oh, wait...

Jan. 31 2013 05:50 PM
Ryan from Ohio


Jan. 31 2013 04:16 PM
smyligerl from NYC

My sister-in-law in PA suffered from c-dif as a complication of chronic illness. Because she had already been on a heavy course of antibiotics for other health issues, they did nothing for the acute diarrhea that the c-dif caused. She did her own research and found out about fecal transplant having saved another woman's life. She drove to an out of state facility that would not only actually perform the procedure, but show her how to do it at home, should subsequent transplants be needed to completely resolve her bacterial imbalance. She only needed one more treatment at home after the one she received at the facility in order to re-balance her intestinal flora. One side note: a blender was not used in this process (as it was described in Lulu's article). Also, her brother, the donor, followed a regimen of his own in preparation, part of which was supplementing with probiotics. It's frustrating to me that this type of intervention isn't more widely used, and that sick patients have to go out of their way for treatment; as with other natural/homeopathic remedies, fecal transplant can't be patented or sold. If a hospital or pharma company can't make money off of it, they're less likely to use it. Even in life-threatening situations such as this.

Jan. 31 2013 10:32 AM

flora auctus

flora + latin growth

tbh anything with flora I think is a good starting point. Already a nice sounding and currently used euphamism for intestinal bacteria.

Jan. 30 2013 03:13 PM
Dave Id

Lateral promotion

Jan. 28 2013 01:58 PM
Bebarce El-Tayib from Unfortunately, NJ

Bastardizing a word that Jad enjoyed earlier.


Jan. 28 2013 12:31 PM
Bill Lewis from Chula Vista

Great suggestions all! You might be interested to know that a friend from India, an R&D manager here in California, regularly consumes small amounts of cow feces as preventative and cure, especially when traveling. He says it's a common practice in India.

Jan. 27 2013 11:02 PM

I can see the ads now... A handsome, slightly greying man and his gorgeous, slightly younger wife each swallow a small brown pill, turn to the camera, and proclaim, in unison, "That's some great sh@%!" Subsequently, a deep, concerned, disembodied voice from afar informs us that we should not take any sh@% if we are nursing, pregnant, or may become pregnant.

Jan. 27 2013 09:14 PM

How about "The Shitaqua Treatment." Like the Chautauqua Institute. Hey, after all, it is poop and (salt)water.



Loadincolon Treatment?

Taking Love Potion Number Two?

Getting a re-doo-doo?

Pooinya Procedure?



Poolisec OTC?

Getting a dump tuck?

Latrinal infusion?


Jan. 27 2013 09:08 PM

Turds with Friends

Jan. 27 2013 08:11 PM
Pavani from Minneapolis

STiA (Shit, this is amazing!)

Jan. 27 2013 06:16 PM

Flora Assistance/Replacement Therapy = F.A.R.T.

Jan. 27 2013 08:40 AM
Gordon from Blue mountains, Austrlia

Humanure Hand-me-down

Jan. 26 2013 07:01 PM
Mike Schwab from Springfield, IL, USA, Earth, Sol System, Milkway Galaxy.

Chocolate custard pie, special recipie from The Help.

Jan. 26 2013 06:05 PM
walter Murch from New York


Jan. 26 2013 05:56 PM
Scott and Joy from Normal

Trectal Ransfusion.

Retrograde Feco-phagia.


Re-use Re-cycle Re-Deuce

Jan. 25 2013 10:57 PM
The Eyeteaguy

My daughter suggested Pooh-Pooh-ectomy.

Jan. 25 2013 03:15 PM
Malcolm from Melbourne, Australia

I think the 'biota smoothie' gets my vote

Jan. 24 2013 11:12 PM
John Metcalf from Michigan

Beneficial Bacterial Repopulation, or BBR

Jan. 24 2013 07:34 PM

I call it a nightmare for BIg Pharma because they can't mass produce it and call it "FloSlo" or "C-difference maker". I call it a wakeup call for the doctors whom have forgotten that organic medicine has a place within modern medicine. For everyone else, think of it as a better way to view your stool. One day you could save a life by dropping the deuce.

Jan. 24 2013 04:38 PM

Return to the Hershy Highway "Re-visited"

Jan. 24 2013 04:25 PM
Alexa Miller from Boston

how about Re-Blast from the Past
or fortified smoothie

Jan. 24 2013 03:33 PM
David Muir from Sydney, Australia

Dregulation Therapy

Jan. 24 2013 09:46 AM


Jan. 24 2013 08:07 AM
Tom And Terri Dean from Walton

Life Loaf or diareplant.

Jan. 24 2013 02:17 AM
Bernhard from South Africa

Floralizer maybe? "I was was Floralized last week, I feel awesome!"


Bioflora Smoothie " I had a Flora Smoothie, wow to I feel revitalized"

Jan. 24 2013 02:16 AM
Otmar from OR

Maybe instead it's time to get more comfortable healthy bodily functions including feces?
As others have said, call it whatever you like so long as it helps!
I've done a fecal transplant on myself, and after years of using a composting toilet (check out the Humanure Handbook for that) I'm pretty comfortable thinking about this essential part of my bodily functions. I'm much less likely to think of it as gross than I was in the past. Though the idea of a tube through a nose does make me a bit squeamish, I guess I have a ways to go still!

Jan. 23 2013 08:35 PM
Nauti-boy from ga






Jan. 23 2013 08:12 PM


Jan. 23 2013 07:41 PM
Mark Halvorson from Columbus, ohio

How about "Beneffluence?"
It sort of rolls off my tongue, except that would be gross!
I also liked the beneflora shift above!

Jan. 23 2013 07:39 PM
Curtis from Bahamas


Jan. 23 2013 06:46 PM
Adam Miskie from Delavan, wi

Pro-biotic transfusion.

Jan. 23 2013 06:19 PM
Charles Peden from Benbrook, TX

Flora delivery.

Jan. 23 2013 05:33 PM

Down with O.P.P. (other people's poo)

Jan. 23 2013 05:12 PM
D.Reedy from Dallas, TX

How about "Mi caca es su caca"?

Jan. 23 2013 04:52 PM
Ryan B from Maryland


Jan. 23 2013 04:11 PM

This procedure just saved my Grandma's life! NIH was at a loss on how to help stop the cycle of dehydration from C.Diff and antibiotic overload. At 87 years old there was no reason for her to come this far and die from diarrhea! Thankfully this "experimental" procedure was approved to be done on her, and now she will enjoy her 88th birthday next month. I don't really care what you call it. This is a simple idea, albeit gross concept, that saves lives. Thank you RadioLab for giving this procedure some publicity!

Jan. 23 2013 04:10 PM
Zack from NJ

Microbial Booster

Jan. 23 2013 03:30 PM
Adriana from Boston, MA

I don't know, I'm pretty sold on "RePOOPulate"

Jan. 23 2013 03:26 PM

Poo it forward.

Jan. 23 2013 03:25 PM
Carlos from Montreal

Intestinal microbiome replacement

Jan. 23 2013 03:22 PM
Dawn from Minnesota


Jan. 23 2013 03:16 PM
Ross from Nyc yo

Bacterial Inheritance

Jan. 23 2013 02:50 PM
Iara from Rio de Janeiro/Brasil

Apparently, in portuguese and spanish it's also called "bacterial therapy". I think that sounds ok, medical but still harmless enough.

Jan. 23 2013 02:41 PM
Andrew Goss from Owen Sound, Canada

i suggest getting away from words we are familiar with. Hence "Ordural Transfer" based on the seldom-used "ordure."

Jan. 23 2013 09:06 AM

Flora Infusion -- sounds ready for Rodeo Drive.

Jan. 23 2013 03:16 AM
Jim from San Luis Obispo

I propose a merry game of Musical Stools.

Jan. 22 2013 11:32 PM
Jessica from Brooklyn

My grandmother just fell and broke her hip Christmas night. She should have been in rehab by New Years but got C diff colitis in the hospital. Twenty days and a ton of vancomycin later, she can finally start rehab. Call it whatever you want-if the could have cured her with poop, it would have saved my family so much stress and my grandmother would probably be healthier!

Jan. 22 2013 08:55 PM
Louise Lafond from Ottawa, ON

How about a Large Intestine Flora Transplant (LIFT)? It would sound so normal... "I got a LIFT and it saved my life!"

Jan. 22 2013 08:48 PM
Gary from Colorado


Jan. 22 2013 06:25 PM
Márcio from Lisbon, Portugal

Floral Arrangement?

Jan. 22 2013 06:16 PM
Linda Lopez from NYC

I'm starting to feel really bad for stopping my dog from eating poop. Poor guy probably knew something I didn't. Poobiotics -- it does a body good.

Jan. 22 2013 05:57 PM
TimM from Colorado

Fascinating story. Naming suggestions:

Repotting soil.
ICBM (intra-commununal bowel movement)

and just for grins but not exactly on-the-mark: Dropping somebody else's kids off at the pool.

Jan. 22 2013 04:52 PM
Tom Cope from New York

Surely something like "biotic transfusion" or "flora rebalancing" would be innocuous enough. But I'm sure some would be unable to resist the "Dutch chocolate shake" pun.

Jan. 22 2013 04:47 PM
Debbie from Islip, NY

How about Beneflora shift?

Jan. 22 2013 04:39 PM
Nick Ryder

It was called a transpoosion on a Freakonomics episode.

Jan. 22 2013 04:14 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Supported by