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My Experience Getting a Fecal Microbiota Transplant For IBS, Part II

FMT stands for Fecal Microbiota Transplant and is a treatment in which the microbiota of a healthy person is transplanted into the colon of a person with a compromised microbiota through a stool transplant. You can read all about it here.




You can also read about why I decided to get FMT treatment here.

I’ve had 10 FMT treatments over the course of two months. The first 5 treatments were administered at the Taymount clinic in Hitchin, England over the course of 5 days. You can read all about my experience at the clinic here.

Since I opted for the cheaper 5+5 treatment plan I took 5 frozen implants home at the end of my time at the clinic and stored them in the freezer.

The clinic suggested to space them out over a longer period of time and to reduce the frequency with each implant. Therefore I waited a few days after returning from Hitchin before doing my first implant at home.

Implant 6

I decided to do this implant in the morning as I had done at the clinic. I managed the self-administration alright.

The nurses at the clinic had taught me how to do this and had provided me with all the disposables needed.

It was a little more obvious that the implant actually consisted of stool as the smell was more noticeable when preparing the implant myself. After administration I experienced the same warm sensation in my gut again and straight away felt tired, drained and headachy.

Keeping the implant in seemed a bit harder this time. I also felt quite crampy again.

The next day I suddenly felt quite a bit better. However, my hay fever got worse again too. I kept taking a lot of the prebiotics which still caused a lot of bloating.

Implant 7

I did the 7th implant 4 days later in the morning again and everything went well.

Straight away after I felt more drained and irritable again and the hay fever got worse.

I was really bloated in the evening again as well, my SIBO seemed to be back with a vengeance.

Eating loads of prebiotics which are also FODMAPs probably caused this return.

I had work in the evening so I probably didn’t pick the best day for the implant as I couldn’t rest properly.

My skin had gotten worse again and my hair was also still falling out. Bloating had been rough following the implants and as a result my mood had been low.

Generally I’ve had more energy though but this could also be a result of eating more (healthy) carbs again.

Implant 8

It’s been a week since my last implant. This time I decided to do the implant before bed so that I’d have no stress afterwards.

I had really bad gas and cramps just before doing the implant but they got better as soon as the implant was in. My belly was still pretty big and bloated though.

I didn’t feel much different the next morning apart from being a bit irritable.

This night I didn’t sleep very well and I’ve generally been sleeping worse since starting FMT treatment.

I’m still eating lots of prebiotics and that’s been a bit rough but I just didn’t want to starve the bacteria again.

Was wondering if it will even get to the colon if there’s already fermentation going on in the upper gut.

This made me feel quite disheartened but I think I just need to give it time. The Past week has been quite bad with bloating and cramps and I’ve been easily stressed.

My drive has been better though! I spoke to the clinic and they said I might be rushing all the prebiotics a bit.

They advised me to take only one prebiotic for now and see how I feel on that. I know I’ve been a bit too keen feeding my new bugs! I decided to only take the Bimuno prebiotic for now in the evening rather than the morning and am hoping that this approach will improve the bloating problem.

After the first day of doing this I did indeed feel better and had quite a lot more energy.

My mood was up but I was still stressing a bit about stupid things. Also my bladder has been slightly inflamed which worries me a bit since interstitial cystitis was the main issue that got me to embark on this healing journey. Maybe it’s something I’m eating now or toxins leaving my body.

A few days later I started feeling a lot better. Suddenly I had more energy, felt more positive, awake, eager to do things and had less hay fever symptoms.

Implant 9

It’s been another week since the last implant again and once more I did it just before bed.

It’s getting really easy to do my own implants now. When the implant was in, I started feeling pretty drained again, although I hadn’t been tired at all.

The next morning I felt kind of ‘hungover’ – a feeling I had often experienced when my body was still detoxing a lot on the GAPS diet.

As before I wanted to keep the implant in for 24 hours. It wasn’t too hard but I started being really full and bloated in the evening. Altogether I felt fine though.

A day later I started being stressed for no reason again and had some belly ache but In the evening felt pretty good.

Got high hopes now. For the first time in a long time I went out on my bicycle and felt really good – for over a year I had just been too fatigued for physical activities.

I decided to leave it two weeks until the next and final implant.

I kept feeling hungover in the mornings and haven’t been sleeping as well as I used to.

Some carbs give me a headache and I still don’t do great on fruit but generally I’m eating so many more different foods which is amazing!

Implant 10

It has been two weeks since the last implant so I was a bit scared to be too impacted for the implant to go in. I had kept on taking the oxyklenz and actually it was fine.

Same as before I was drained after the implant and sleep wasn’t optimal but I felt pretty good the next day.

So what about the ick factor when doing your own implants?

I know many people will be grossed out by the idea of transplanting someone else’s poo into their colon but honestly when doing it in a clinical setting you can’t tell what’s in the syringe (apart from that it’s brown…) so I never really thought of it in that way.

When preparing the implants yourself at home it was slightly more obvious as you’d get a whiff of the smell. But nothing too strong as this is obviously really healthy poop!

So overall I was never grossed out at all but can imagine it being a whole different experience if you’re doing DIY FMT!

But I guess we humans can get used to anything if we’re desperate enough…

So what’s my takeaway after finishing the FMT program?

Generally I’ve been about 80% better since the start of my health journey two years ago.

A lot of issues have improved through diet and lifestyle changes but the FMT has pushed this further in a short period of time.

Since FMT I’ve noticed a lot more energy, drive and appetite.

I’ve also had less indigestion and though I still get bloated a lot it’s not as painful as it was, and given that I’m eating lots of prebiotics/FODMAPs which I hadn’t been able to eat for a year at least, this is pretty good progress.

My digestion is still not ideal but I reckon a lot of it is caused by low stomach acid which I’m treating separately.

A few things have still been bad including my sleep, hair loss, skin breakouts, teeth and hormones but I need to remind myself that the treatment is a bit of a shock on the body and that I need to give it the designated 3 months before I cast my final judgement.

So the takeaway on FMT for IBS/Sibo from my point of view is (for now) that it’s not a miracle cure-all and a bit of a slower process than maybe for some other conditions but it definitely helps.

I think it’s important to work on other aspects of the condition before and after FMT through diet and lifestyle changes and possibly supplements/medication.

It is not a treatment that should be taken lightly and I definitely feel like the treatment has taken a toll on my body with regards to hormones and nutrient status but I’m positive that I’ll recover in time.

It is also a costly treatment as it is not funded by the NHS (£3500). But I don’t regret doing it and I would consider topping up if I don’t see another improvement after the 3 months (once you’re a patient at the clinic topping up is not a problem and also affordable).

From my experience and everything I read so far the outcome for IBS is highly individual and it doesn’t seem to be a cure-all, but it helps.

I definitely feel like I’m heading in the right direction now and am looking forward to see what it will be like after the three months are over. I will post an update on my progress in a few months so watch this space…

Have you had any experience with FMT or are you considering it? If so I’d love to hear from you!

Receiving a fecal Microbiota Transplant for IBS, part 2: my 5 implants at home and how FMT has worked for me so far| Real Food Real Health UK

 

 

photo credit: Bacteria via photopin (license)

2 Comments

  • Reply

    Jay Goshler

    February 3, 2017

    Layla, thanks for sharing your experience! I have IBS and am very much considering getting an FMT. I have been managing it OK with a very strict low FODMAP, but still have some daily symptoms. I live in the US, so it will probably be some time before I am able to receive an FMT, but I’m hoping for cure, but trying to keep expectations realistic! Any update on your condition?

  • Reply

    Layla

    February 4, 2017

    Hi Jay, I did get somewhat better after the treatment but some of that I attribute to re-introducing more foods and being a bit more relaxed around food generally. I had my microbiome tested after and I had pretty good diversity but some of the key species were still missing or low. The main improvements have been less constipation and more energy. However, I still get bloated a lot and I’ve recently discovered that the root of this is mainly a low metabolism/thyroid, stress and undereating. At this point I’m not sure I’d recommend FMT for IBS unless you know the cause is definitely dysbiosis in the gut. I think the problem with IBS is that the root could be so many things and often it affects the small intestine, which wouldn’t necessarily be affected by FMT. I wouldn’t expect a cure, but each case seems to be very individual.

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