Welcome to ‘Tried and Tested’, my new series where I share my experience playing guinea pig with various ‘alternative’ health treatments. First up: my experience with receiving a Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT) for IBS/SIBO/gut dysbiosis at the Taymount Clinic in England.
If you’re not sure what FMT is, please read this article first!
FMT stands for Fecal Microbiota Transplant, which is ‘the process of restoring the bacteria commonly found in a healthy human gut’ (according to the Taymount clinic).
Or, to put it in plain English: implanting a healthy person’s stool (+ microbiome) into a sick person’s gut.
The reason I wanted to share this information is that I’ve had FMT myself and will be sharing my experience in the future.
If you haven’t heard about the connection between the human microbiome and our health yet, you’ve probably been living under a rock – there’s been tons of news articles, blog posts, research studies etc. about this topic in recent years.
Type in ‘human microbiome’ into PubMed (the database for scientific research) and you’ll be rewarded with over 30.000 results!
Although the topic has probably been covered enough, I’d like to offer my own little summary here to use as future reference on my blog and for completeness sake.
I’ve recently come across an info-graphic on Twitter, claiming that interstitial cystitis (IC) is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks the bladder lining, causing the painful symptoms of IC. This reminded me that it’s about time that I explore this question further: Is interstitial cystitis an autoimmune condition or not?
The short answer is: maybe sometimes.
Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a painful bladder condition that, in the research, is usually described as being of ‘unknown etiology’  i.e. the true cause is unknown.
Several researchers have suggested that IC should be called ‘Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS)’ or ‘Bladder Pain Syndrome (BPS)’ .
When we talk about a syndrome (such as IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome), we normally talk about an array of similar symptoms for which the causes are not known or for which several causes could exist.
If you’ve been following my blog, you will have seen several articles about different root causes of IC. This begs the question: is IC really just one disease? Or could it be several conditions, resulting in similar symptoms in the bladder?
The stomach and its acid secretion may seemingly be unrelated to bladder health but as a matter of fact, stomach acid plays an important role in overall health – as a first line of defense for our immune system, in protein digestion and nutrient absorption.
Many may think of stomach acid in relation to heartburn/GERD, which affects up to 27 % of adults  and has risen recent years. As a result, antacids are the 7th most popular personal care product in the US alone, with sales of many million dollars .
However, the symptoms for low and high stomach acid are very similar. While high stomach acid can definitely be very irritating, low stomach acid may have more far reaching consequences.
There are different forms of Inflammation, ranging from acute to chronic. Inflammation plays an important part in the immune response and is designed to help us survive – it is the immune system’s response to infections and injury.
The inflammatory response has helped us to survive in the evolutionary environment. Throughout evolution, the inflammatory response has stayed the same – our environment however, has changed drastically in the past couple of centuries (not a long time in evolutionary terms!).
The changes in our environment are thought to parallel the rise in chronic disease. Could inflammation be one of the reasons?
Interstitial cystitis is often associated with a range of other degenerative diseases such as IBS, IBD, Fibromyalgia, Sjoegen’s, Lupus and also allergies.
‘Classic’ interstitial cystitis has some common features with allergies such as increased mast cells, histamine and inflammation.
Is something else causing IC, allergies and associated diseases or could allergies be a root cause? What if some cases of IC are simply a symptom of food intolerance? I call this the allergic bladder.
Pharmacies usually sell ‘cystitis relief’ products designed to serve as a first aid for urinary tract infections. These preparations are designed to alkalize the urine.
Moreover, flushing through increased fluid intake is usually recommended.
I have previously recommended doing this as it is the common advice for cystitis relief before taking antibiotics.
Some people may well have success with this approach but is it scientifically validated?
If you suffer from incontinence there is a chance that you have a prolapsed bladder. This is also known as a dropped bladder, cystocele or a bladder hernia.
This can (and should be) diagnosed by your doctor but there is also an easy way to check for it at home.