What are the benefits of fecal transplants for ulcerative colitis?

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Fecal transplant, or fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), is considered an experimental treatment for steroid-refractory (when steroids fail) ulcerative colitis. Available evidence is limited, however small studies have shown some benefit for mild to moderate ulcerative colitis with repeat treatments more likely achieving the primary outcome of steroid-free remission for at least three months. A placebo controlled trial using intensive-dosing, defined as multi-donor FMT delivered by colonoscopy followed by enemas five times per week for eight weeks, found that the FMT group was more likely to achieve the steroid-free remission for at least three months than the placebo group. Small studies have shown the potential for FMT to be a safe and effective treatment option for ulcerative colitis when standard treatments have failed.

Fecal transplants for ulcerative colitis are getting a lot of press, but it is generally felt that they are not ready to go mainstream as yet. Fecal transplants are being studied at some centers for UC but the results have not supported their use thus far.

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic, inflammatory bowel disease, so a one-time or even a series of fecal transplants are not necessarily going to change the bacterial composition of your colon in a permanent way immediately. That said, fecal transplants are certainly an area where further investigation is needed. The technique may simply need to be refined a little more.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.