Poop Transplants Exist, Save Lives

Just in case you wondering, a thing called a "fecal transplant" exists, and saves lives. Like most terrible medical phenomena, we can blame poop transplants on Purell moms and the antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" they hath wrought.

Warning: The following true medical story is heinously disgusting.

An intestinal superbug called C-diff causes diarrhea so debilitating that the world's most powerful antibiotics cannot treat it. But some doctors have had success with a creative new medical procedure. Take it away, AP:

Now a small but growing number of doctors are trying a last-ditch treatment: Using good bacteria to fight off the bad by transplanting stool from a healthy person into the sick person's colon.

15,000 people die of C-diff every year, and though only a few dozen fecal transplants have been documented in medical journals, the breakthrough is exciting enough (or, uh, weird enough) to have the gastroenterology world buzzing. Fecal transplants function "like an organ transplant minus the anti-rejection drugs": Bacteria from the healthy poop colonize the unhealthy colon and end up vanquishing the unhealthy bacteria. And now, the grossest part of all: How fecal transplants are performed.

There's no one method. Brandt insists on a list of tests to make sure the donor doesn't have diseases such as hepatitis or HIV, or intestinal parasites. Then the donor, usually a close relative, brings in a fresh stool sample that Brandt liquefies and essentially drips into the patient's colon during a routine colonoscopy.

And that is the story of how a gross punchline from Me and You and Everyone We Know became a great medical breakthrough. [AP, image via Konstantin Chagin/Shutterstock]