Scientists Discover Strange Solution to Intestinal Bug

...halfway down your back on either side of your spine, which could signal a kidney stone or infection. "Any severe abdominal pain also warrants immediate care," Dr. O'Brien says. Ectopic pregnancy, appendicitis, and gallstones are a few of the possible causes.More from Health.com: Want to skip the doctor? Try this iStockphoto.com

Scientists Discover Strange Solution to Intestinal Bug
Scientists think they have found a strange cure for an intestinal bug (iStockphoto.com)

(CBS/AP) A heart transplant? Great. A lung transplant? Sure. But a fecal transplant? Gross.

But that's the basis of a new medical treatment that a small but growing number of doctors are trying in an effort to fight off C-diff, a superbug that ravages some people's intestines.

The concept behind the procedure is to transplant a healthy person's stool - which has good bacteria - into a sick person's colon.

The idea might make you gag, but reports of several dozen cases in a medical journal and at a meeting of gastroenterologists this fall suggest that with no more inconvenience than a colonoscopy, people who have suffered C-diff for months, or longer, can rapidly improve.

"This is the ultimate probiotic," says Dr. Lawrence Brandt of New York's Montefiore Medical Center, who has performed 17 of the procedures.

But experts say more testing is needed.

"There's very good reason to think this fecal transplantation, or bacteriotherapy, might work, but it needs to be proven before everybody starts to do it," says Dr. Lawrence Schiller, a gastroenterologist with the Baylor Health Care system in Dallas. He followed reports on the treatment at the American College of Gastroenterology's recent meeting, but hasn't joined the fledgling trend.

So keep your mind (and perhaps your bowels) open, because someone else's stool could save your life one day.

MORE HEALTH CONTENT FROM CBS NEWS

  • Sammy Saltzman

Comments

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.