This is the second part of my experience with receiving a Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT, a.k.a stool transplant). After having received 5 implants at the Taymount Clinic in England, I took home 5 more (frozen) implants to administer at home by myself.
If you haven’t read part 1 yet you can read it here.
If you’re not sure what I’m talking about you can read all about FMT here.
I had opted for the cheaper 5+5 treatment plan, which means receiving 5 implants in clinic and then administering 5 at home by myself.
Therefore, I took 5 frozen implants home at the end of my time at the clinic and stored them in the freezer.
Whilst in the clinic, I had received an implant each day for 5 days. For the home implants, 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 the clinic before doing my first implant at home.
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.
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, probably because it had been a longer time since the colonic irrigation now. 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.
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 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.
It had 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.
That night I didn’t sleep very well and I had generally been sleeping worse since starting FMT treatment.
Eating a lot of prebiotics to feed the new bacteria had also resulted in quite a lot of bloating.
I found that really disheartening!
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.
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 had been slightly inflamed which worried me a bit since I had been free from interstitial cystitis for almost a year!
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.
It had been another week since the last implant again and once more I did it just before bed.
When the implant was in, I started feeling pretty drained again, although I hadn’t been tired at all.
A day later I started being stressed for no reason again and had some belly ache but by the evening felt pretty good.
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 kept feeling hungover in the mornings and hadn’t been sleeping as well as I used to.
Generally, I was eating so many more different foods, which was amazing after all the restriction!
It had 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 stool softener 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.
Was it Disgusting to Administer the Implants?
I know many people would 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 was 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…
My Health after Finishing the FMT Program
Generally I felt about 80% better since the start of my health journey two years before FMT.
A lot of issues had improved through diet and lifestyle changes but the FMT pushed this further in a short period of time.
Since FMT I noticed a lot more energy, drive and appetite.
I had less indigestion and constipation.
A few things had still been bad including my sleep, hair loss, skin breakouts, teeth and hormones but I had to remind myself that the treatment was a bit of a shock on the body and that I needed to give it the designated 3 months before casting my final judgement.
A Year Later
I started eating a larger variety of foods again and didn’t seem to have as many intolerances as before. I increased my intake of carbohydrates. My energy levels have been pretty good. I started having fairly regular bowel movements and no more constipation. I sleep better.
But how much of that is due to the treatment? And how much is due to eating more foods and being more relaxed around foods? I am not sure!
Unfortunately my constant bloating had only marginally improved!
My Gut Microbiome
A test by Genova labs showed increased levels of the same yeasts I used to have before going on restrictive diets, nothing major but FMT didn’t seem to have affected this.
A Ubiome test showed overall increased numbers of bacteria. There were not many new strains though. My bifidobacterium and lactobacilli levels were still low. However, I had pretty good numbers of butyrate (short chain fatty acid that servers as fuel for cells in the colon) producing bacteria such as roseburia and f.prausnitzii.
I have paid a lot of attention to eating prebiotic foods, i.e. foods that feed beneficial bacteria. So again, was the modulation due to diet or FMT treatment? I’ll never know.
I am better since FMT treatment, but it is not clear how much of that is due to a change in diet and a more relaxed attitude towards food. FMT treatment has been no ‘cure-all’ for my digestive issues. It was not the golden bullet I had hoped for.
There seem to be no conclusive studies or even anecdotal evidence on the efficacy of FMT treatment for IBS or SIBO – but since these problems are so multi-factorial and individual, the outcome of treatment is likely to be as well.
It is an expensive treatment and also taxes the body. In hindsight, I think it may have flared up my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (judgeing by the symptoms I had, as I didn’t have a diagnosis back then).
I don’t regret trying it, but I won’t do it again. I think it should be considered carefully, depending on the health issue.
Have you had any experience with FMT or are you considering it? If so I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
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