Fecal Microbiota Transplants for SIBO? My Experience

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February 10, 2017 by Amy Hollenkamp

 

From December 5th through the 16th, I was in the Bahamas receiving fecal microbiota transplantations to help rebalance my imbalanced gut. It was a unique experience and I think it could be a promising treatment strategy for many diseases in the future.

So, why did I decide to undergo FMT treatment? The primary reason was that after years of trying to rebalance my gut, it remained full of overgrowths with little diversity. Both recent  stool and organic acid testing revealed overgrowths of bacteria and yeast in my body. According to SIBO breath tests, the SIBO was gone, but many of my symptoms remained. I had definitely made improvements and had become an expert at managing my symptoms, but I still had thyroid issues (not autoimmune), GI discomfort, bloating and low white blood cell count. I felt like FMT could be the nudge that my body needed to reach my health goals. All my strategies were approaching the problem from the top down and I was hoping a bottoms up approach would be more effective.

I also felt like some of the antimicrobial and diet treatments I naively completed early in my treatment might have been helpful at eliminating the SIBO, but had a steep price. That’s why in past posts I have warned against long periods on low FODMAP diets and cyclical antibiotic treatments. I, like so many within the SIBO community, was very narrowly focused on killing and starving the small intestine bugs that I failed to see the collateral damage these treatments had on my large intestine, hormones and overall health. By the time I did see the light, the damage was already done.

What is FMT?

Fecal microbiota transplantation involves taking bacteria from a healthy donor (from their stool) and putting it into a person with an unhealthy colonic bacterial population. I always think of FMT like probiotics on steroids. FMT can introduce a more robust and diverse bacterial population to your GI tract than any probiotic food source or supplement. Typically, the bacteria is administered via enema, colonoscopy or endoscopy.   More recently, FMT pills have become available and seems to be the most convenient way to deliver the gut bugs to patients. While convenient, I find the idea of swallowing someone’s poop rather disconcerting. But, if it helps people, I guess I can get used to the idea.

So, you might be wondering, if FMT is like probiotics on steroids why isn’t it a more popular treatment for gut problems like SIBO and IBS? The main problem is that the law prohibits FMT as a treatment for these conditions. In the US, FMT is only FDA approved to treat recurrent C. Diff infections.

But in other countries, FMT is used as a treatment for a variety of conditions like MS, Crohns, IBS, UC, neurological conditions and even autism. In fact, according to the nurses at the clinic I went to, they had recently treated a number of autistic children in their facility with positive results (not curing, but greatly improving their social behaviors).

I remember first reading about FMT in Dr. David Perlmutter’s book Brain Maker. He describes in his book how he has great success utilizing FMT as a treatment for his patients with severe neurological conditions like MS. While these are diseases of the nervous system, Dr. Perlmutter astutely understood that the root cause of these diseases is usually disturbances in the gut microbiota. One patient Perlmutter highlights even went from wheelchair bound to walking after his miraculous treatment of FMT overseas.

With my own gut problems in full swing, I investigated further. I stumbled on a Chris Kresser podcast that featured Dr. Glenn Taylor, a microbiologist and co-founder of the Taymount Clinic in the U.K. that specializes in performing FMT treatment.  This podcast was extremely informative and I highly recommend any one interested in FMT to check it out. But in case you don’t want to listen to a whole podcast, I am going to lay out some of the highlights from various interviews with Dr. Taylor about FMTs.

DIY FMTs are not recommended by Dr. Taylor

With FDA only approving FMT for C. Diff, many desperate sufferers take matters into their own hands and perform the transplant themselves. This process involves finding a donor, which is usually a friend or family member with good gut bacteria. It always makes me laugh thinking about asking a loved one for their poop. I would assume it might be hard to slip that casually into a conversation. “Oh by the way….can I borrow some of your poop?” I would do anything to be a fly on the wall when that convo went down! Once they nab a donor, the more responsible DIYers test their donor’s stool to make sure it has a healthy bacterial population and doesn’t have any pathogenic bacteria. If the poop passes the test, you throw it in a blender with some saline and whip up a nice bacterial cocktail that is later injected into the colon. I can only hope that they have a special “poop” blender for this endeavor. Wouldn’t want my smoothies to be sharing the same blender as poop. But, I digress haha 🙂

While intimidating, the messiness of preparing the implant is not what turned me away from DIY methods, but rather the flaws in the extraction process. In the interview, Dr. Taylor points out that 90% of the bacteria in the large intestine are anaerobes, meaning that they can’t survive in oxygen rich environments. He states:

“…all these poor people who don’t really quite understand that particular aspect are taking stool from a friend or a loved one, putting it into an ordinary kitchen blender, blending it up in the presence of oxygen and perhaps not quite the right liquid medium, and almost instantly they’re killing 90% of the bacteria that would have been available.  When you don’t know precisely which one you’re missing, I cannot understand why you’d take the risk of killing 90% and hoping that the one you need is in the remainder.  Then subsequent mishandling of the rest of the process means that people are getting exposed to a very, very small amount of what they need.”

So, while I admire the gung hoe spirit of DIYers, the extraction process doesn’t preserve the robust diversity in the donors stool. The only real way to solve this problem is to extract the bacteria in an anaerobic environment that mimics the conditions inside the colon. Luckily, Dr. Taylor and his team have perfected an anaerobic extraction method that preserves nearly 100% of the bacteria.

After extracting the poop, the Taymount team also filters out everything other than the bacteria. This isolation of the bacteria greatly reduces the risk that the recipient will react negatively to the transplant, because it removes all the excess gunk (hormones, food particles, fibers,etc.)  from the donor’s stool. The end product is a small pellet of bacteria that can be implanted into donor. At home fecal transplanters don’t have the equipment or know how to separate the bacteria from the other poop components, so they run a higher risk of reacting to their transplants.

Screening a donor is complicated.

Dr. Taylor also has concerns about donor screening methods with at home FMTs. First, many DIYers fail to thoroughly screen their donors for any auto-immune or communicable diseases. While a donor may appear perfectly healthy, great precaution needs to be taken to ensure that they are not a hidden carrier of disease. Second, DIYers usually fail to have their donors stool properly screened. Dr. Taylor doesn’t think a one time stool analysis is enough to rule out potential pathogens in the donors stool. Instead, he believes that donor stool should be frozen and retested over a period of time to make sure that no dormant infections remain.

Picking a family member is also not the best idea since living in the same environment usually produces similar bacterial profiles among family members. Taymont focuses on finding “super donors” who are healthy lean individuals with great gut bacteria! The vetting process to become a super donor is like something out of a CIA investigation. It requires multiple interviews and tons of testing.

They also help their donors foster a vast microbiome by challenging them to consume a diverse paleo diet. They challenge their donors to eat 100 different foods per month to feed as many different bacterial species as possible. An infusion of bacteria from these super donors is going to expose the recipient to a robust variety of bacteria that is hard to match. And to further enhance the diversity of bacteria to patients, Taymount uses different donors implants in each of their patients.

I am very curious to know exactly how they recruit their donors….I am just imagining a person dressed up as the poop emoji wandering around London twirling a “Poop Wanted” sign. That must be how they do it!

 

Poop Costume

Source: Walmart.com (God bless Walmart)

Who is a good candidate for FMT? And what about for SIBO?

At Taymount, they treat a wide-variety of conditions that are rooted in dysbiosis. Some conditions do respond better than others. For C. Diff, they have a 100% success rate. You literally can’t get any better than that! Dr. Taylor also says they have a lot of success with post antibiotic infections and IBS. Taylor states:

“We’re having a great time with IBS at the moment.  Really, a good time…. And I think perhaps it won’t take too long before FMT becomes the treatment of choice, the first treatment of choice for all IBS.”

With the leading researchers at the most recent SIBO symposium concluding that 60% of those diagnosed with IBS have SIBO, it leads me to believe that most cases of SIBO would benefit from FMT as a part of a comprehensive plan treatment plan. But, I definitely think the etiology of each individual SIBO case needs to be understood before considering FMT. For instance, experts agree that SIBO cases in which the ileocecal valve is compromised should probably refrain from FMT.

Timing of FMT treatment is also a very important factor to consider. Because FMT is focusing on balancing colonic  bacteria, it won’t directly eliminate active overgrowths in the small intestine. That’s why I think it is important to treat the small intestine with pharmaceutical or herbal antibiotics before undergoing FMT treatment. I would love to see a controlled study that looked at the long term success/remission rate of antibiotics followed by FMT treatment for patients with SIBO.

The reason I think FMT could be a powerful tool to help treat SIBO is because by rebalancing the colonic bacteria it could potentially reboot motility. SIBO is often rooted in dysfunctional migrating motor complex (MMC). The MMC stimulates the peristaltic waves that move food through the digestive tract at an appropriate pace.  You can think of the MMC as a broom that sweeps the small intestine clean after in between meals. SIBO sufferers MMC activates much fewer sweeps than a healthy person. This MMC deficiency leads to bacterial fermentation of foods that are sitting in the GI tract for long periods of time

As my former probiotics post describes, having a healthy colonic bacterial population is essential for having a healthy MMC. Without a healthy MMC, SIBO will persist. No matter how many times you clear the small intestine with antibiotics, bacteria will continue to overgrow unless you rebalance colonic bacteria. And this is why FMT could be such a game changer for SIBO patients (when timed correctly)!

While FMT is very powerful at correcting colonic dysbiosis with SIBO, people struggling with IBD need to take extra precautions when undergoing FMT treatment. Because FMT ramps up the immune system, in some cases this can exacerbate the immune attack in the intestines of these conditions if the FMT (especially if FMT is completed during a flair). Dr. Taylor says that they have been having greater success with colitis, but it usually takes a more long treatment plan. Crohn’s seems to be the trickiest of the bunch when it comes to FMT and Taymount is seeing about a 50% success rate with Crohn’s patients.

In my case, my Bahamian doctor considered me a prime candidate for FMT, because my GI issues are rooted in dysbiosis without any autoimmune disease of the GI tract like IBD.

My Experience with FMT at the Bahamas Medical Center

So, now that I have given you a little background on what FMT is, I would like to share my experience in the Caribbean. After being very impressed with Dr. Taylor, I decided to have my treatment at the Bahama’s Medical Center, which is associated with the Taymount clinic.  I first have to say that the team at the BMC was top notch. Shout out to Sakina and Kemala and the nursing staff there! Basically, the treatment involved going into the clinic every day of the week where I would receive the implants via enema. The enemas sound a little bit intimidating, but while not very glamorous it was easy.

Once the implant was placed in the colon, measures were taken to insure that the bacteria traveled the whole length of the colon. This process usually involved a quick manual massage by a nurse and then laying in different positions to move the bacteria to different parts of my colon. I was usually in and out of the clinic everyday in about an hour. Then, I was free to lounge around on the beach.

During treatment, I definitely had some ups and downs, which is pretty normal. After my first implant, I felt like my gut had been woken up from a deep slumber. It felt like my gut was like Snow White and the new gut bacteria was the prince’s kiss I needed to bring my gut back to life. It was a strange sensation!

Around Wednesday after my 3rd implant, I definitely started having pretty severe die-off reactions. And I continued to have die-off on and off for the remainder of treatment and even in the weeks post-treatment. My die-off symptoms usually involved pretty severe fatigue and flu-like symptoms right after treatment. I would usually feel better after I laid down for a couple hours after treatment.

A dip in energy (detox reaction) at around the three to four day mark is usually quite common according to my nurses and Dr. Taylor who calls it “dip-day Thursday.” I think my detox reaction was stronger than they typically see, because I theorize that I had an allusive fungal issue that amplified the die-off reaction.

The nurses also explained that many people respond to treatment at different rates. Some people notice drastic positive results right away, while it takes others longer to see results. According to my nurses, it takes about 3 months for the bacteria to mature and form a cohesive community, so many see improvements 3-6 months after treatment.

It was interesting because a woman who was receiving FMT treatment while I was there had incredible results during her second week. For years, she had basically only been able to consume white refined grain products. She would have severe reactions if she veered away from a strictly white carb diet. After venturing all over the US to consult with all the top GI experts in the country with little relief, she decided to give FMT a try!  By the end of her second week, she ate an arugula salad without reacting! I haven’t kept in touch with her, but I bet she is slamming all kinds of veggies and fruits by now!

At two months post treatment, I am still waiting it out to assess the full impact of the treatment on my health. I have seen some positive indicators such as an increase in my white blood cell count, a couple regular menstrual cycles (which are rare for me) and much healthier looking stool (lots of 4s on the Bristol stool chart). I am looking forward to see what additional improvements I might have in the next couple months! (and I will keep you all posted)

With stool banks starting to open in the US for C. diff, I hope to a see a push to loosen FDA regulations on transplants and an increase in availability of FMT for other disease states. Its a shame that I had to go overseas to undergo this type of treatment, but I am hopeful the FDA loosens the requirements in the next 5 years or so.

If anyone has any questions about FMT or my experience, please leave a comment or reach out to me in some way and I would be happy to answers them! And if you anyone reading has had experience with FMT please comment about your experience!

Also, I know I have been sort of quiet the last few months, but I am hoping to start posting at least once a month, so be on the look out for new material soon. And if you don’t want to miss a post please like the Facebook page (click here to go to FB page). My next post on SIBO and the brain will be hitting the presses next month. That’s all for now!

 

 

 

71 thoughts on “Fecal Microbiota Transplants for SIBO? My Experience

  1. Katherine Moore says:

    I have thought about this for quite some time. It only make sense that it works.TFS

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Calvin Kramer says:

    Glad this got you better, no surprise you had to leave the country. I can see how good this could be for after antibiotics, and as you say, i.e. catching H.A.I.’s The gut is so important to immune strength. Also, we still need to look for these root causes like i.e. parasites, even little guys like the many lyme bugs and blastocystis both of which are just plain elusive to the medical industry as they just won’t take the time to dig deeper, so instead patients suffer on for years on end, while the medical industry patiently waits for that opportunity to cut out guts out with empty groupthink promises of health in return – yeah right.

    To be honest, FMT sounds like it would be good for just about anyone who’s immune strength is suffering.

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    • Yeah I know the conventional medical industry can be very frustrating, but the good news is that the importance of gut bacteria is becoming more and more prevalent in even the conventional world. And I agree that FMT could be a good tool in the treatment of immune compromised individuals and many other diseases. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  3. Kalvin Sortih says:

    So all in all would you say that an FMT for SIBO is a good idea?

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    • I think that when timed properly (after overgrowth is cleared) and if you have a high quality donor sample with a proper extraction method….I think FMT could be a good idea. But, there are really no guarantees!

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  4. Hey! Can I ask how much the cost of the FMT was?

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  5. Abbie says:

    Thanks for your great post. I have sibo after a 3 year battle with hashimotos following tonsillitis and many many rounds of antibiotics as a trigger. I have a question regarding having my FMT at the taymount clinic VS via colonoscopy and getting the bacteria from openbiome ?i will of coarse do the antibiotic treatment before the FMT but wanted your opinion on Taymount 10 day transplant process vs colonoscopy w openbiome. Your option will be greatly appreciated.

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    • Hi Abbie! I am not super familiar with the colonoscopy route unless it is for C. Diff in the US. I know that the colonoscopy route in the US for anything other than SIBO would be illegal (annoying I know!). But, if you are outside the US that could be an option. Would you just get one implant then??

      The Taymount clinic was fabulous and I highly recommend it, but it definitely is pricey. I think the amount of different critters and a 10 day process can fundamentally change the microbial landscape in the colon!

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      • abbie says:

        thanks for all of your information. i am signed up and heading for my 10 day treatment at Taymount clinic London in July. the polyclinic here in seattle finally approved of my FMT via colonoscopy (out of pocket) but i have decided to go with Taymount clinic.
        I start my antibiotics very soon. as you said, timing is everything.
        Abbie

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      • Awesome! You will have to keep me updated on how you progress. Best of luck!

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      • Abbie says:

        So my tranplant is second week in september instead in London-at Taymount. How did you time your meds for the sibo before tranplant?

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      • Cindy says:

        How do you order testing for stool diversity? My hospital has stopped doing breath testing for,SIBO . Since doing FMTs my weight has stabilized but gas and bloating has become enormous (by the end of the day I am at a 9 month pregnant size), so I assume I have significant SIBO and take antibiotics to combat it. I feel like I am on a yo yo of trying to introduce good bacteria then probably killing a lot of it later with antibiotics. My doctors are not helpful as they don’t want to get involved with the “illegal” FMTs. I do have an immune deficiency and am concerned about putting too much bacteria into my small intestine. I have been alternating the NG route and the enema route, although I know that Taymount only does the enema route (they told me that they do not believe FMT should be done via NG as those bacteria “dont belong” In the small bowel), but I have had campylobacter isolated in my stomach and believe the good bacteria has to get to the stomach to combat that, I’m confused and distinctly uncomfortable. Help!
        Cindy

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      • Jenny says:

        Cindy – you can have your stool analyzed by Ubiome, you can also have your mouth and vagina done as well, if you’re interested. Unfortunately, this will not tell you the contents of your SI.

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  6. Jay Goshler says:

    Amy, how is your digestion these days? Would you say the FMT improved things? If so, how much?

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    • From a GI standpoint, I am having a lot of improvements in regularity and stool quality. My hormones have also continued to improve (regular monthly periods…which were extremely rare for me). But, I am still struggling from an energy and fatigue point of view and I think that it could be related to a latent and chronic form of Epstein Barr. I noticed after my FMT that my lymph nodes have been swollen and I have some spleen pain, which I believe is my immune system powering up with my new gut bugs to fight the EBV. So, I am still sort of waiting it out to see all the benefits from my treatment. Thanks for requesting an update! I will probably post another official update in like 3 months or so!

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      • Isabelle says:

        Amy I just had a FMT myself 3 months ago… Going back next week to Center of Digestive Disease in Sydney (Australia)… At first it was AMAZING!!! But now it’s a little bit back to where I was before…. Sibo with sooooo much wind and sticky poo 😦

        I had the first injection with a colonoscopie and then for 2 weeks just like enema…. After I went back home and just took it day by day…. I did have some pretty full on die-off effect as well in the first few weeks. Massive headache, nausea and fatigue…. Now I’m ok just bloated like crazy…

        I found very interesting all you said about your Sibo side affect… Hormones (me too it as been a challenge), and very interesting that you have an on going Epstein Barr situation… Me as well… And the Dr. could not understand why it would never go away… Is it related with Sibo?

        Did you say you had fungal problems?? I do so much….. Everyday it is a battle, the cream, the peroxyde, the tea tree oil… It as been worst since the FMT… Do you think it’s related?

        I am very nervous to go back next week… I am afraid it didn’t work for me…. 15 years I have been sick…. So ready to get my life back…. Just weird that the bloating came back.

        Hope it’s going well for you, was good to read someone else that is on the waiting to get better from a FMT, thank you!

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      • Hi Isabelle! We are FMT soul sisters hahaha! I am excited I could connect with someone who has done it too! It sounds like you feel like you are having a set back, which is unfortunate! I hope your next round of FMT goes better.

        I did have fungal problems and I think that everything is related so it is hard to pinpoint what was causing what. I believe Epstein Barr kicked things off for me and can play a role in digestive and immune breakdown. So in my opinion, there is a connection between EBV and gut issues like SIBO.

        Let me know how round 2 goes!!!

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  7. M. Young says:

    Hi Amy. I’m glad to hear you are noticing a reduction in symptoms. I am looking into Taymount myself now. May I ask why you chose the Bahamas clinic over the UK?

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  8. Jenny says:

    Hi Amy,

    I am most likely headed to England’s Taymount this August. I have come to the same reasoning as yourself, that IBS/SIBO are most likely the same thing for many. Also, when I had my Taymount consult, they said that many IBS sufferers that they’ve seen, may have undiagnosed SIBO, and they do well with the treatment.

    I have a big battle ahead of me yet as I’ve been at it for a year already, and the antimicrobials are now failing me. I will soon see a sibo specialist who will give LDN and rifaxamin. I am prepared to do the elemental diet as well as I understand the necessity of having as much SIBO eradicated before the implants.

    I’ll be sure to drop in on this page periodically to see how you’re doing.

    All the best to you in this journey.

    Jenny

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    • Hi Jenny!! Thanks for your comment! I wish you the best of luck on your treatment and you will have to let me know how you respond. It is so fascinating to me how people respond to FMT. Safe travels and keep me posted!

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  9. Linda Payne says:

    Hi Amy,
    I am in Australia and just had my second FMT at the Centre for Digestive Diseases Professor Borody. I have had gut problems largely since birth. I was first diagnosed with Sjogrens Syndrome by several eye specialist and a rheumatologist about 10 years ago but had not had the lip biopsy. My main symptom was extremely dry eyes and corneal erosions.
    My gut problems got so bad last year with huge weight loss and constant diahrea and gut pain. I finally saw Professor Borody and diagnosed with SIBO. First treatment Refixamin 1500 mg per day and Vancomycin 1000 mg. All my SIBO symptoms cleared from day 2 of treatment. On this treatment for 6 months then low fibre diet for one month plus antibiotics. Then FMT first implant colonoscopy on the 1st May 2017. I had my second FMT today 8 more to go. I am feeling OK some bloating and gut pain but not to severe. I will see how the next few days go. As I hopefully killed of most of the bad bacteria I do hope it works. Do you take many probiotics Kimchi, yoghur fermented foods?
    The most amazing outcome from the antibiotic treatment is that my eyes are now totally cured. It appears the first diagnosis was incorrect. Not Sjogrens but Optical Rosacea. I am using cyclosporine eye drops but they only had a very limited benefit until I went on the antibiotics.
    It is truly amazing what the gut bacteria imbalance effects. I am hoping my eyes stay good as I am now no longer on the antibiotics from day one of FMT.
    Great to hear your story it gives you confidence for a positive outcome. Maybe not perfect but conciderable better.
    Linda

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    • Hi Linda!!

      That is amazing about your eyes!!! You are correct about how “truly amazing” some of the unexpected benefits of FMT are!

      I do eat fermented foods. I like pickles, kraut, beet kvass and kombucha. I also tolerate fermented dairy, so I like full-fat grass fed goat milk kefir and yogurt as well. I take MegaSpore Biotic as well, which is a spore based probiotic supplement that I find to be very helpful.

      You will have to keep me updated on your progress! Best of luck in your healing journey!

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      • Linda Payne says:

        Hi Amy,
        Thanks for your interest. I have just finished 10 days of FMT. I was so pleased with my treatment with Professor Borody he was excellent and every member of staff was just so supportive and caring. There was certainly discomfort and I felt like a war going on in my gut.The best advice I received was from the nurse giving me the treatment each day was just to lie down for about 5 hours after treatment with my feet up to keep the implant as long as possible before needing to go to the bathroom then I would go for a long walk.Really my symptoms were not too bad compared to gut pain last year before antibiotics. I am day 12 I have very normal body functions very slight gut pain but otherwise normal. Their advice was not to have any commercial probiotics for at least 6 months wait a while before I go on any fermented products. My eyes are still perfect. It is only very early days and I really won’t know how I am until 3 months time. If I have any problem I will have a weekly top up again using their donor. So so far all good news.

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    • joao370 says:

      Hi Linda . How are you doing , iam thinking of going myself to do the treatment i also have rosacea.

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      • Linda Payne says:

        Hi Joe,
        Thanks for your interest I have just posted a reply for Amy I am going very well and very pleased I had the treatment. It is however very early days for me so I will out really know until after about 3 months. So far very positive.

        Liked by 1 person

      • joao370 says:

        Hi Linda . Thanks for your reply very nice of you.

        What are you feeling this days ? Did you see progress in your eyes from your fmt . I reaaly hope that you are fealing nice and the fmt still working for you. Thanks for taking time to reply my post. Take care Linda.

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  10. Jamie says:

    I’m so intrigued by this and reading about your symptoms and other issues. I came across this post after reading your gut brain axis post. I too have SIBO as well as hashimotos, celiac and Epstein Barr Virus. Of course I don’t know what is causing what, maybe ebv is root for hashimotos or maybe it is the celiac which is genetic, causing dysbiosis in gut leading to other issues. I was curious since you mentioned non autoimmune thyroid issues and elevated cortisol but a low carb diet caused thyroid levels to drop. I just experienced that. Allthyroid levels are low except antibodies (making mine autoimmune)…do you have any experience with bringing those back up? My drop seems to correlate with starting herbal antibiotics for SIBO treatment? Did yours level out when you changed diet? What does your diet consist of now if you’re not doing low carb to starve bacteria?

    Like

    • Hi Jamie! Low carb diets can cause thyroid levels to drop TSH, free T3, free T4 and usually cause reverse T3 to rise. This pattern is usually considered secondary hypothyroidism and is often seen in individuals with a high amount of stress (can be physical or emotional) that can impair the brains ability to send a message to the thyroid gland to increase thyroid hormone. This phenomenon is called low T3 syndrome. The brain is essentially telling the thyroid gland that the tank is full (thyroid hormones are at a good level) when in reality thyroid hormone is very low. I can speculate that this is probably a specific protective mechanism by our body when we aren’t getting adequate nutrition or if we are experiencing stress from infections and our brain is purposely trying to slow down our metabolic processes to preserve fuel.

      I don’t know the specifics of the case, but you said that your thyroid levels started to drop when you started antimicrobials. If the antimicrobials are causing herxheimer reactions that are increasing oxidative stress in the body, it could also be causing a dip in thyroid levels. But, if during this treatment you were also on a low carb diet, that could also cause a decrease in thyroid hormones. I think it is important to pinpoint if the dip in thyroid hormones are being caused by the switch to a lower carb diet or the antimicrobials. And honestly they both could be impacting the thyroid hormones.

      Currently, I eat around 200-225 grams of carbs a day (40-45% of my macros). I am not a huge believer in trying to starve the bacteria through diet in the long run. I eat plenty of potatoes, plantains, sweet potatoes, rice, sprouted quinoa, sprouted lentils and a diverse array of fruits to better support my hormones. I found that finding the right diet can be a very experimental process. It took a lot of tweaking and trusting myself to find out what worked best for me.

      Best of Luck!

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  11. Cindy says:

    Hi! I have common variable immunodeficiency and malabsorption. I too have SIBO and was intrigued by FMT. I am a physician so I did a 10 day course of rifaxamin and then did my own FMT using my healthy 30yo daughters stool. I did 2 weeks of NG tube administration followed by 12 doses of enema administration. I have had many more Bristol 3 and 4 stools but have actually lost a couple of pounds instead of having what I hoped would be a weight gain. Feeling very bloated now and suspect the SIBO is the culprit. I have been drinking ensure which I’m afraid may have too much sugar feeding the bacteria. Not sure what to do now- more antibiotics, decrease the FMT, stop the FMT, just wait it out? Any ideas? Anyone?? Thanks! Cindy

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    • Hi Cindy!

      Thanks for sharing. I have a couple questions. How long has it been since you have had your FMT? Also, have you done a follow up breath test? Feel free to contact me directly through my contact page if you want to discuss more in depth 🙂

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      • Cindy says:

        Hi Amy! I only ended a couple of days ago but I am thinking I may have been using too small a volume for the enemas. I was using 45-50g of stool and 80cc of sterile saline for both the NG and enema route. I have read some articles that you need more like 500cc of total product, using 100g or more of stool. I may give it another go. What volumes have you had? How do I get to your contact page? Thanks!!

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      • Hi Cindy, the whole first month post FMT was a little rough for me. I definitely had some bloating and herx reactions as different bacterial populations were shifting around in my gut. Some of your symptoms sounds like possible die off symptoms. It may be worth taking a couple weeks off to see how you feel before doing another round. Unfortunately, I don’t know a whole lot about the volumes that are optimal for FMT. The implants were already prepared by the facility. I could look into the volume and get back to you. You can contact me by clicking on the “Contact” tab on the home page. Thanks! Amy

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      • Cindy says:

        Great- thank you!

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    • Linda Payne says:

      Hi Cindy,
      I am now day 16 after first FMT so very early days yet. I have certainly been very bloated and had 24 hrs of vomiting 3 days ago. Now I am feeling so much better bowel movement excellent about 2 per day and Bristol level number 3. My queries are are you drinking enough water 8- 10 glasses per day. Also I have now started on a High Fiber diet for all meals and snacks to feed the good bacteria. Monash University has a great web page with recepies etc. Also have you looked at the old Catalyst TV programs 2014 they have some great links?

      Like

  12. Deanna says:

    Hi!!! I am so happy for you and your new found healing!! That is fantastic! My very first Functional med Dr said this would be the quickest way for me to heal, but as you know, they don’t do it here unless it is for c-diff. That was 2 years ago and while I am better I still have a long way to go. I deal with a lot of inflammation, food intolerances and a Histamine Intolerance. I would love to have this done so I can get my life back as this condition has been extremely debilitating and left it almost impossible to work. I spend many days in bed from severe fatigue. How do you go about getting this done over there and if I can ask, how costly was it?? Prayers for continued healing!!

    Like

    • Yes it does suck that it is not available in the US. I think a good first step is to check out the Taymount website, which has all the information you will need to know about the procedure and the cost. Also, you can also do a consultation with the staff to find out if you are a good candidate.

      Like

  13. Michael says:

    Hi Amy,

    Was wondering how long the waiting list is at the Taymount clinic ?
    Did you have to wait long to get treated ?

    Like

  14. Hi! I just went through three days of FMT, two days enema and one day of capsules.

    Bowel movements have improved, however I’m noticing I don’t feel so well (it’s been about two weeks) and still very bloated. It was a little relieving to hear you had die-off symptoms in the weeks following. Did you notice your immune system seemed maxed out too? I feel susceptible to colds and have fatigue. I also have insane cravings. Another weird thing is feeling more yucky in my mouth! Like it doesn’t stay as clean for as long after I brush. So odd. Hoping it will balance out.

    Thanks!

    Like

    • Hey Breanna! Yes die off is very common from what I have heard! I definitely felt worse before I felt better. I would just focus on resting and letting your mind and body relax as much as possible. Keep me posted!

      Like

    • Linda Payne says:

      Hi Brianna,
      I am now 5 weeks after FMT. I had first implant with colonoscopy on the 1st May this year in Australia. Then nine further treatments as enemas at the centre. I certainly had die off symptoms. For me nausea bloating and initially vomiting. After five weeks I am now starting to feel a great deal better with normal bowel movements. The first time for many years. I had a lot of fatigue and as Amy said you just have to rest. My nausea has thankfully gone and I am getting my energy back. I did not have any problems with the mouth The clinic said to expect to have die off symptoms up to 3 months after treatment theneverything settles down. Hope you start improves soon.

      Like

    • Oktay says:

      Hi. It could also be that you are reacting to foods. I tested and reaffirmed that i have a massive problem with most grains and gluten. Even whilst doing the FMT procedure, keeping a food diary may help.

      Like

  15. Emma says:

    Hi,

    Can you remark how the FMT treatments affected any fungal issues you had? I am looking to it in hopes of eradicating a resistant fungal infection

    Like

  16. Oktay says:

    Hi, i suffer from dysbiosis, fungal infections etc etc . Same symptoms as the other posts, fatigue, histamine issues etc. i am booked in for a FMT here in Sydney at CDD on July 3rd and reading the previous posts i feel that i am in 2 minds as i feel there are no conclusive anecdotal evidence on the positive effects of FMT. Its obviously hard to gage other peoples conditions and all the success stories would probably not make it to a site such as this. Its not an easy decision as its such an expensive procedure. I have undergone SIBO treatment and i am managing my histamine issues with probiotics but i feel its just a bandaid solution. I am happy to have tools such as probiotics at my disposal now as previously i could not tolerate any probiotics however i would like to fix the root cause if possible. This i feel is my last resort, however i just dont want to waste my money or even worse make my condition worse. Should i go ahead with this procedure is what i am getting at?

    Like

    • Hi Oktay! Sorry for the delayed response. I don’t think FMT is a miracle cure for most people. It certainly quiets down the noise so that you can focus on some of the underlying issues that need to be addressed. I hope you listened to your gut about treatment. Keep us posted!

      Like

      • Oktay says:

        Hi Amy , I obviously decided to bite the bullet and give FMT a go and I thank god i did. Just an update and my take on things atm. It’s now been 5 days since the last FMT enema and the benefits that i initially received are still with me which i am delighted about. They are as follows , 1) Improvement in fatigue, i feel now when i am walking up stairs or going for a brisk walk or run that power and energy are making it’s way to my legs, before i could not even feel my legs. An unbelievable feeling to somewhat feel energised again. 2) My depression has improved dramatically, now i am having bouts of happy spells, little things that we take for granted. 3) my cognition has improved and so too has my memory 4) no more Histamine issues 5) my senses of touch and feel and MY consiousness is returning. It feels like i am getting the old Oktay back. With me i think numerous food poising episodes whilst travelling plus the subsequent use of board spectrum antibiotics completely decimated my gut flora. I did not contract C- Diff or any other diseases but as Professor Thomas Borody pointed out to me that there is so much we don’t know and that I obviously have some unwanted critters in my stomach that we don’t know about as yet. I knew FMT would help me because when i took probiotics such as prescript assist and the strains of S Boulardii and Lactobacillus Rhamnosus it felt like they had an positive immune regulatory effect and it would kick in on days 1 or 2 and last for sometimes 5 days after which all my symptoms of fatigue, brain fog, histamine intolerance etc would return. This led me to believe that i had a massive dysbiosis in my large intestines as it took a few days for the benefits to surface. So for anyone contemplating doing FMT that has suspects dysbiosis , i would as yourself whether you feel better after taking “certain” strains of probiotics, if you do and as FMT is the mother of all probiotics i would seriously contemplate it. NOW, that’s all the positive news for my current post FMT predicament, not that there were any negative reactions to my FMT treatment but it was not a cure for all my underlying GI problems. My expectations were met as i did not expect a magic cure as previous posts had suggested that FMT was not the silver bullet however for me it has helped me TREMENDOUSLY overall :-). Some of the issues that it has NOT helped with are , 1) my SIBO still remains, 2) Malabsorption and Fructose Malabsorption 3) Food sensitivities . As all of these symptoms are pointing to the Stomach and Small Intestines where FMT does not have much of an impact on , it makes sense. The Human Digestive system is a multi chambered system working differently in different sections so it makes sense to have multiple problems occurring at the same time. I am hoping FMT will give a chance for the rest of the components to also resynchronise. I am now at the point of letting my body do the work whilst keeping to a low formap / paleo diet with exercises every other day. I will not be trying to kill my SIBO at this stage as i want my new babies to grow. I hope this helps other people considering FMT and thank you to all those that have shared their experiences. If you believe it will manifest.

        Like

  17. Oktay says:

    Just to let everyone know that I have finished my 1st week and I started feeling better straight away. My tongue is turning red from the white coating colour, my fatigue has improved and so too my food intolerances. I am just hoping it continues after I have stopped and the new bugs are happy and have taken up permanent residency in their new homes. I will provide another update in a few months. I hope this helps with people that suspect dysbiosis due to travel infections and antibiotic use.

    Like

    • Jenny says:

      Oktay,

      Were you successful in treating your SIBO prior to commencing with FMT’s? Also, what probiotics did you take for your histamine issues? Lastly, do you feel the FMT has helped with SIBO? I’m booked for Taymount, England in a month and really having a tough time with SIBO symptoms and all meds no longer helping and I have total insomnia for past month. I’m at the end of the rope with this stuff. Any and all words of wisdom from anyone would be appreciated.

      Like

      • Oktay says:

        I know exactly how you feel, it feels like every road ends up being a dead end but all I can say is always believe that you are going to get better and the solutions will magically appear. I treated my sibo for 3 months this year but did not get retested. I felt that my sibo had cleared but I was still suffering due to infections in my colon, the reason I know this as when I took probiotics it would make me feel better afterr a day and last for 3 days which was a sign it was my large intestines. I had previous multiple infections in third world countries which started my problems and the broad spectrum antiobiotics totally made me worse although they cleared the parasites. The probiotics I was taking for relief were a mixtures of s boulardii and rhamnosus gg strains as well as prescript assist. I feel that the sibo treatment is not the magic bullet and sometimes the treatment can contribute to further dysbiosis. I am not exactly sure of your situation and whether fmt would be of benefit but I can tell you that I am feeling so much better, I just feel I am absorbing more, I wake up feeling better, can exercise more, my bags under my eyes are gone and this is just in a week. I gave Dr Thomas Broady a hug on the second day as thats what a differrence it made with me. I must of had some bad bugs in my colon, the Dr said to me that we are finding new species every week and that there is a lot we don’t know. He put it as a simple infection in my Colon. He too was ready to quit his work 15 years ago he was telling me, the FMT saved his life and he is still working (thank god) to this date. I am more than happy to help, if you have any questions please do net hesitate. Remember if you believe it will manifest, don’t underestimate this otherwise doors will not open for you to heal. Don’t lose sight. You are going to be fine, that’s why you are talking to me.

        Like

  18. Jenny says:

    Hi Otkay,

    My heart is warmed by lovely response, and indeed I teeter on hopelessness at times. I am so excited about your incredible progress and truly believe you’ll be whole again once more. Here’s my story. After years of progressively worsening digestion and severe fibromyalgia, I finally pieced together the stomach stuff to the muscle/joint parts. I started with treating myself as an experiment to see what would happen. Within 2 weeks, my fibro was 75% better! So while looking for a competent doctor, I spent an entire year on herbal antimicrobials while doing low fodmap/low carb diet, I’ve done all the typical tests. In the last couple of months I was given LDN and another med to help with MMC – neither of which make a huge difference. Also, I tried rifaxamin for the 1st time as well as vancomycin – only the vanco brought relief, but it also affected the colon so badly as to cause unrelenting insomnia. My stomach has given out after a year of antimicrobials, besides which even with biofilm meds, don’t help SIBO anymore and I’m truly up against a wall and out of ways to help myself. I have constant pain in SI and terrible GERD. I did the blood test for IBS and came out positive (salmonella poisoning twice) [I’ve had antibiotics more times than I can count in the past 2 decades, so it was the perfect storm for SIBO.] I believe I’m the methane type due to constipation, although both breath tests came back negative!!! which is still a shocker for me. I would embrace the FMT more easily if I had a handle on the SIBO. I’m thinking of a salt flush to clear the SI, but that will also effect the colon which is in awful shape given everything I’ve done in the past year. The silver lining: I no longer have fibromyalgia which crippled me to the bed for some time and rendered me almost entirely helpless. I believe I’ve had SIBO for at least 15 years, probably more and it became very extreme before I figured out what hell was going on, even longer to find a competent doctor. While your “Down Under” would you mind asking Borody what the chances are that FMT will clear someone with very active SIBO?

    Like

    • Oktay says:

      Hi. I think we sometimes narrow mindedly focus too much on Sibo. You say you tested negative for SIBO and by all reports it sounds like you have wiped out the good bacteria in your colon, just like I did. Remember nothing works in isolation , i am no doctor but if I relate my journey you sound like the right candidate for FMT and I would say that your current symptoms are not SIBO related but rather a dysbiosis in your colon. Remember these bad bacteria produce endotoxins which produce a wide array of symptoms such as brain fog and fatigue just to name a few. I would suggest you are on the right path with FMT and would also suggest to take your focus away from SIBO. Just be mindful of food intolerances such as Fodmaps and fructose malabsorption, once you sort out which foods you can tolerate life becomes much more manageable.

      Like

      • Cindy says:

        Hi! How does one sort out food intolerances without losing weight? Whenever I go on a food elimination diet, or any kind of diet for that matter, I end up losing too much weight! I have none to spare! Some foods, like onions and garlic, I know are not good. Alcohol is also not generally good. Peaches and cherries are also problematic, I assume because of the FODMAP. I went on a gluten-free diet for year and was no better. But does that mean that gluten is OK for me? Maybe not. I am so confused. Cindy

        Like

      • Oktay says:

        Just listen to your body, sometimes it’s clear as soon as you put food into your mouth whether or not you are going to react.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Jenny says:

    Oktay,

    The biggest indicator of SIBO is constant upper GI gas/pain, relieved upon belching and acid reflux. I know it is possible for a 3rd type of gas, hydrogen sulphide to also reside in the SI – which no test has been developed for yet. e, I m certain it is SIBO as the fibro starts returning if I let it go untreated for too long. With regards to diet, I eat mostly soups and protein drinks that are low fiber & low carb. I avoid wheat/dairy/soy/corn and all grains and beans (of course being low fodmap/carb). My diet is cooked low fodmap veges and some fruit, and MCT – coconut oil (which requires no digestion – and goes from liver right to the brain). I suppose there may be some veges I react to, but I vary what I eat so as to not get overly sensitive to any one vege. I also eat eggs 2-3 times a week for additional fat/protein. My FMT trip is paid for (thank god for credit cards) and there’s no turning back for me at this point. I hope my FMT is as successful as yours. Thank you again and I hope you keep posting here as I will want to track your oh-so-exciting progress.

    Like

  20. Jenny says:

    Everyone reading this blog may be interested in the latest IBS/SIBO information from the world’s leading expert Pimentel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARaEnKQIPTo&t=1146s – For all SIBO sufferers, the vagus nerve stimulation seems crucial to good recovery from SIBO.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Georgia Phillipou says:

    Hi thanks for the info it is very helpful 🙂

    I am on day 3 of my implants and I have been overwhelmed with emotions the last few days and feeling low, did you have these symptoms?

    Like

  22. M. Young says:

    Hi Amy~I have been anxiously awaiting an update since your FMT. Do you have any updates to share? How are you doing now? Thanks so much for your blog! Meredith

    Like

  23. Trevor Perkins says:

    You are at the forefront of digestive medical treatments! Congratulations on your bravery and tenacity to make this all happen. Thank you for your contributions. It means a lot to those of us struggling to step out of this hole we’re stuck in.

    Like

  24. Jennifer Bordon says:

    Hi everyone, I’m on FMT implant #6 @ the Taymount Clinic in Letchworth England. I arrived early to do the 3 day colonic cleanse, which was excellent and well worth the $ as my colon was pretty backed up. Then impants 1-5 went very well, with rather minimal consequence: fatigue, brain fog, headache, little emotional… However, what has surprised me most is my ability to reintroduce a new food daily to feed the new guys. I am tolerating everything quite well so far and my SIBO is not terribly effected. For my SIBO I take Atrantil and prior to arriving I took a probiotic called Just Thrive, which really helped turn around SIBO symptoms quickly. Now I just take Atrantil,enzymes, 5-HTP and am doing remarkably well. My energy levels are good, no brain fog to report this morning, and most significantly, my mood is excellent! I have also noticed a patch of skin where I had fungal infection for years, completely resolve already!!! While I’m only 50% done, the progress so far is exceeding any expectation I could have hoped for at this point and I’m really looking forward to what progress this week brings!!!

    Like

    • joao370 says:

      So great news jennifer , i also have skin issues ( Rosacea) and i think the culprit is Sibo . Iam so in to do the ten days implantsin the taymount but its a being hard to find the days off that i need. Iam curious that you try to use atrantil , cause i thought it works a liitle bit like a natural antibiotic ans so could be damage to your new implanted flora??? , even it only stay mainly on your Small intestine. I whis my skin problems could also heal just like yours. Wish you all the best to the rest of the days of implants,

      Like

    • M. Young says:

      Hi Jennifer, Amy and all~I am following this blog with great interest and enthusiasm! Congrats Jennifer on your progress so far. My main goals with FMT (in the future) are to get off of goldenseal, which I have been taking for 2 years to control SIBO and to be able to add more foods. I am so encouraged by your progress. I guess my big question for those who have had a positive experience is, does it last? Or do you need additional implants? Anyway, best of luck and thank you for sharing your story and Amy for providing this space. Amy, any updates on you? Meredith

      Like

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