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Hirschsprung’s Disease: An Overview

Hirschsprung’s disease is a congenital condition that affects the large intestine. Here’s what you need to know. 

Causes and Risk Factors

Hirschsprung’s disease occurs when a baby is born missing nerve cells in their colon. Due to these missing nerve cells, they develop issues passing stool. While we do know that it’s a condition people are born with, the exact cause is not known. In some cases, it does occur in families. In fact, if one parent has the condition, their child has an increased chance of having the condition as well. In families with a child that has Hirschsprung’s disease, there’s between a 3% and 12% chance that if the parents have another baby, the baby will have the condition. 

Being a male is another risk factor for the condition. People with inherited conditions like Down’s syndrome and congenital heart disease are also at a higher risk of Hirschsprung’s disease. 

Symptoms

This condition can vary in severity, and as such so can its symptoms. In general, symptoms tend to appear right after birth. One well-known sign of the condition is if a newborn is unable to have a bowel movement within 48 hours of being born. Other common symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting a green or brown substance, constipation, gas, and a swollen belly. Newborns are likely to be fussy if they have some of these symptoms. Older children with the condition can have some of the same symptoms, and others including fatigue, chronic constipation, and a failure to thrive. 

Diagnosing Hirschsprung’s Disease

As noted before, one key sign your child could have this condition is if they are unable to have a bowel movement in the first couple of days after birth. Your doctor will also perform a physical exam to check the child’s condition. They can perform a number of other tests as well. They can take a biopsy, a tissue sample, of your child’s colon to send off for lab testing to determine if there are nerve cells present or not. They can also insert contrast dye into your child’s bowel and perform an X-ray to visualize their colon. They can then check to see if there is a narrow section of the bowel (a section without nerves) and a swollen section behind it, a sign of Hirschsprung’s disease. 

Treatment

The most common way doctors treat this condition is through surgery. The pullthrough procedure is the most common approach, and can be done in a few ways. Ultimately, doctors first work to remove the abnormal part of the colon. They then attach the healthy section of the colon to the anus. Today, this is most often done through a laparoscopic surgery which is minimally invasive and results in fewer complications for children with the condition. The surgery leads to very positive outcomes in the majority of cases, and can fully treat the condition. 

There are some potential complications from surgery. Children can experience diarrhea, fecal incontinence, a delay in toilet training, and constipation. In some cases, these complications resolve over time. Children who have had this surgery are also at a higher risk of a bowel infection up to a year after the surgery. 

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience treating patients with various GI conditions including Hirschsprung’s Disease. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.

Fecal Incontinence

Fecal incontinence is a condition in which you are unable to control bowel movements. Here’s what you need to know. 

Causes and Risk Factors

Many things can cause fecal incontinence, and may occur in combination. For example, nerve damage in the rectum or anal sphincter, which can occur during childbirth, may be a cause. Muscle damage in the anal sphincter, also possible during childbirth, may prevent you from being able to hold stool back. Diarrhea can also be a cause, as loose stool is more difficult to retain in the rectum. Other potential causes include aging, hemorrhoid surgery, rectal prolapse, and IBS. 

Risk factors for fecal incontinence include being older than 65, being female, having late-stage dementia or Alzheimer’s, having a condition that causes nerve damage, and having a physical disability. If more than one of these apply to you, you have a heightened risk of developing the condition. 

Symptoms of Fecal Incontinence

With fecal incontinence, you are unable to control bowel movements. In some cases, this may be temporary due to having diarrhea, while in other cases it may be a chronic condition. Urge incontinence is one type of the condition, in which you may feel the sudden urge to defecate and are unable to control your bowels. In another case, called passive incontinence, you may not feel the urge to pass stool and pass it unknowingly. Fecal incontinence can be accompanied by other symptoms like diarrhea, gas, constipation, and bloating. 

Often times, people feel emotional distress as a result of having fecal incontinence. They are often reluctant to tell their doctor about the condition due to the social taboo around it. If you do experience fecal incontinence, please talk to your doctor- they can help you manage the condition. 

Diagnosis

Your doctor can diagnose fecal incontinence in several ways. They will start out by asking you about your symptoms and medical history, before performing a visual exam. Your doctor will likely visually examine your anus first. They can also perform a digital rectal exam, whereby they evaluate the strength and coordination of your sphincter muscles. They can also perform an anal manometry test to evaluate the function of your rectum. To visualize your sphincter and rectum, they can also perform other tests like a colonoscopy, an MRI, or anorectal ultrasonography. 

Treatment 

Doctors treat fecal incontinence based on what is causing the condition in your case. If there is a particular food that is causing diarrhea and incontinence, they will help you work to identify and remove it from your diet. If you have diarrhea or constipation, your doctor may recommend increasing your fiber intake through your diet or through supplements. They may also recommend bowel training if muscle damage is at play; here, you will work to exercise and strengthen the affected muscles to help you better control bowel movements. 

In some cases, you may need surgery. Doctors can perform a number of procedures to help repair muscle damage, nerve damage, and other underlying causes of incontinence. 

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience treating patients with various GI conditions including fecal incontinence. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.

 

COVID-19 and the GI System

Back in August 2020, we first explored how a COVID-19 infection could affect your GI system. There was very little data to work with at the time, as the pandemic was largely still unfolding across the United States and across the world. 

Since then, much has happened with the pandemic. Now, at a time when vaccinations are widespread in the United States, case counts are ever decreasing, and more of the country starts to open back up, we’re going to take another look at the evidence around COVID-19 and its effects on the GI system. Here’s what the best evidence shows today. 

GI Symptoms in People with COVID-19

Over the past year and a half or so, well over 100 million people around the world have gotten the coronavirus. Researchers have been able to perform numerous studies to examine different aspects of the disease and its impact on communities globally. One study published in September 2020 found that 53% of people hospitalized with COVID-19 experienced at least one GI symptom. 

In our previous post on COVID-19, we noted that research on COVID-19 patients who were ill in March and April of 2020 found several common symptom clusters. One of these clusters was primarily characterized by GI symptoms, and several others included GI symptoms. 

Disease Outcomes when GI Symptoms are Present

An emergent insight from the past year and a half of research is that people with COVID-19 who have GI symptoms seem to be more likely to have more severe disease outcomes. A number of different studies, each focusing on different populations, have found the following: 

Why COVID-19 Causes GI Symptoms

Clearly, the coronavirus attacks the body in a way that implicates the GI system. Scientists have learned more about exactly how this happens, and thus why GI symptoms seem to be fairly common and significant. 

The coronavirus infiltrates cells in the intestine through the ACE-2 receptor, which is a protein in cell membranes. The virus’ spike proteins bind to this receptor and enter the cell. Once in the cell, the virus reproduces itself. When it leaves infected cells, it causes a release of cytokines, proteins that help fight inflammation in your body. When the virus causes too many cytokines to be released, they can damage your GI system and cause symptoms. The coronavirus can also attack your GI system directly in other ways. It may damage tissues, disrupt your gut microbiota, and impact your vagus nerve (which can lead to nausea).   

We hope this overview sheds some light on the recent discoveries of how COVID-19 impacts the GI system.

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience treating patients with various GI conditions. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.

 

Your Gut Health

A healthy digestive system can help you prevent many conditions, and reduce their severity if you do get them. While there are a lot of factors in your individual case that can impact specific advice, there are some general principles that are good to follow in most cases. Here are some important ways you can improve your gut health. 

Food

A lot of gut health starts with what you eat. The advice here is likely something you’ve heard before. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables regularly, and make sure you are eating enough fiber. Fruits and veggies help with the fiber issue, as they provide a good amount of fiber to build healthy bacteria in your gut. Nuts, legumes (think lentils and beans), and seeds are also great sources of fiber and protein as well. 

You should try to avoid red meat, substituting chicken or fish instead, or even going for a vegetarian alternative like tofu. Avoid charred meats as well, which can harm your GI health. Fried foods are also have a negative impact on your gut health. You should additionally moderate your consumption of alcohol and caffeine, as too much of either can be detrimental. 

Probiotics for Gut Health

On the topic of diet and nutrition, you should also be aware of an important ally in your quest for gut health: probiotics. Probiotics are living microorganisms that help your body improve and restore healthy bacteria in your gut. Regularly consume foods with probiotics to help your healthy bacteria flourish. You can find probiotics in foods like yogurt, fermented vegetables, and cottage cheese. Of course, in some cases probiotics may not be the right choice, particularly if you have a condition that weakens your immune system. Make sure to talk to your doctor about how to healthily incorporate probiotics in your diet. 

Exercise, Sleep, and Stress Management

Another piece of the puzzle for gut health is another evergreen health concept: exercise. Regular exercise helps your body in numerous ways. In terms of gut health, it’s particularly helpful for two potential risk factors for gut issues: weight and stress. Exercise is a great, sustainable way to maintain a healthy weight and manage stress. You can work to manage stress in other ways as well. You might consider meditation, relaxation therapy, or other techniques that are proven to help manage stress levels. 

One last key factor for gut health is sleep. Here, like with exercise, it comes back to maintaining a healthy weight. People who do not get adequate sleep are at a higher risk of obesity, which can lead to negative outcomes for gut health. Healthy sleep is multifaceted. In general, you should make sure you have a regular schedule for when you go to sleep and wake up. There are many other steps you can take to improve your sleep hygiene as well.

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience treating patients with various GI conditions. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.

A Review of Primary Biliary Cholangitis

Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC) is a chronic liver disease that causes damage to the bile ducts in the liver. Read on to learn more about this condition.

Causes and Risk Factors

PBC is considered to be an autoimmune disease. This means your body perceives your liver as invasive and attacks it. Your body’s T cells, which fight off bacteria and viruses, end up damaging cells in the bile ducts in your liver.

This condition may be caused by environmental factors as well as genetic factors. It is more likely to occur in women, people between 30 and 60, people who smoke, people with a family member who has PBC, and people who have been exposed to certain chemicals. Sex is one of the primary risk factors: around 90% of people with PBC are women.

Symptoms

PBC causes a few symptoms. These include intense itching, elevated cholesterol levels, swollen feet and ankles, musculoskeletal pain, darkening of the skin, and abdominal pain. In general, these symptoms develop gradually, and most people with PBC do not have symptoms when doctors diagnose them with the condition. Symptoms tend to develop over 5 to 20 years, becoming more significant over time.

Diagnosing Primary Biliary Cholangitis

In most cases, doctors diagnose PBC incidentally during a routine checkup or other medical visit. This is because symptoms tend to develop very slowly, and are often not present in the early stages of the disease. In many cases, your doctor may discover an abnormal result in a routine blood test, which leads them to further testing. If they do suspect you may have PBC, they will likely give you a blood test to measure anti-mitochondrial antibodies (AMAs). Doctors consider this the go-to test for PBC, since people almost never have AMAs present in their blood unless they have PBC. If your doctor does discover AMAs through the testing, that is a sign you likely have the condition.

Your doctor will also ask you about your medical history, along with your family’s medical history. This is to help determine if the disease may be present in your family already, which is a risk factor for you having it.

Treating Primary Biliary Cholangitis

There is no cure for PBC, but there are several treatments doctors can pursue to help manage your symptoms and disease progression. Over the long term, PBC can lead to liver failure since it damages your liver slowly over many years. If your liver fails, you will need a liver transplant, which is a major surgery.

To help mitigate damage, your doctor may prescribe a medication called ursodiol. This is a natural bile acid that can help bile flow through your liver more effectively. It can improve your liver function and reduce scarring. It is an effective treatment for a little over half of people with PBC.

There are many treatment options to address the symptoms of PBC as well. Your doctor may recommend antihistamines like Benadryl to help with intense itching, and eye drops to help with dry eyes. They may also prescribe calcium and Vitamin D to help maintain your bone strength, and if you have fatty stools there are other vitamin supplements they may recommend.

There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to help manage PBC as well. These include avoiding alcohol or lowering your intake, staying hydrated, exercising regularly, and avoiding smoking. You can combine these kinds of lifestyle changes with your medications to manage PBC and improve your health outlook long-term.

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience treating patients with conditions including PBC. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.

Colonic Ischemia: What You Need to Know

Colonic ischemia is a condition where blood flow in the colon is reduced. It can cause damage to the affected area of the colon. Here’s everything you need to know about this condition. 

Causes and Risk Factors

Colonic ischemia, as noted above, causes diminished blood flow in the colon. This can be caused by a number of things. Your risk increases if you have fatty buildups on an artery wall (atherosclerosis), extremely low blood pressure (often due to trauma, shock, surgery, or heart failure), or use cocaine or methamphetamine. Some disorders like lupus and sickle cell anemia can also be a cause of this condition. 

Colonic ischemia is more common in adults over 60 and in women. If you have had abdominal surgery, scar tissue from the procedure can also reduce blood flow in some cases. Additionally, people with IBS are more likely to develop colonic ischemia. 

Symptoms of Colonic Ischemia

Some of the most typical symptoms involved with this condition include abdominal pain or tenderness. This can be severe in some cases, and may also build gradually or occur suddenly. You can experience symptoms on the right or left side of your abdomen. Other symptoms also include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, blood in your stool, and a feeling of urgency to defecate. 

Diagnosis

This condition is difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are also associated with a number of other disorders. Doctors diagnose colonic ischemia with a combination of medical history, a physical exam, and some testing procedures. They often start by charting your symptoms and identifying any potential risk factors. Your doctor may also check your abdominal area to identify the location of any pain. They may choose to order a CT scan to help visualize your colon and identify the cause of the symptoms. They may also perform a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy to see detailed images of your colon and potentially take a tissue biopsy. All of these tests are ways they can get at the underlying cause of your symptoms.  

Treating Colonic Ischemia

Doctors treat this condition by helping proper blood flow return to the colon. In milder cases, this may just involve an IV to help you rehydrate. Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics to prevent infections, and may suggest you avoid medications that constrict your blood vessels. If there is a specific underlying disorder that has caused colonic ischemia (like an irregular heartbeat), your treatment will involve treating that disorder. 

In some cases, you may also need surgery to heal. This is for severe cases where your colon has undergone significant damage. Depending on your situation, doctors may repair any holes in your colon, remove dead tissue, or remove a portion of your colon. 

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience treating patients with conditions including colonic ischemia. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.

Anal Fissures: An Overview

An anal fissure is a tear or rip in the lining of the anal canal. Here’s what you need to know about anal fissures.

Causes and Risk Factors

Anal fissures are most often caused by trauma in the anal canal. They can be caused by straining during a bowel movement, chronic diarrhea, anal intercourse, childbirth, and anything else that may cause trauma in the canal. Anal fissures are most common in infants, but can occur at any age. Other risk factors include childbirth, constipation, and crohn’s disease.

Symptoms of Anal Fissures

This condition is characterized by a few symptoms. The most common symptoms include pain and bleeding with bowel movements. You may experience pain during and after a bowel movement, even hours later, with an anal fissure. Many people with this condition may notice blood on the outer surface of stool or blood on toilet paper after a bowel movement. Other symptoms can include a visible crack around the anus, burning and itching, constipation, and foul-smelling discharge around the fissure.

Diagnosis

Doctors diagnose anal fissures with a physical examination and asking about your medical history. They examine your anal region and look for a visible tear that indicates a fissure. They may be able to determine the nature of the fissure during the examination as well. An acute fissure will likely look like a fresh and more shallow tear, whereas a chronic case may have a deeper tear. Chronic anal fissures last longer than eight weeks.

Additionally, where your fissure is located will provide important clues for your doctor. Fissures that are on a side of your anal opening are more likely to be a result of an underlying condition like Crohn’s disease. If your doctor finds this is the case for you, they may order additional testing. They can perform a number of endoscopic procedures to get a closer look at the underlying issue. These procedures could include a colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, or anoscopy, depending on other factors in your unique situation.

Treating Anal Fissures

Doctors treat anal fissures primarily by helping to make your stools softer, decreasing the pressure in the anal canal. They may recommend soaking in a warm bath (sitz bath) for 10-20 minutes per day, which can help relax your sphincter. They may also prescribe stool softeners or recommend you drink more water and eat more fiber. All of these steps can help to soften your stool and promote healing. In most cases, this can help heal an anal fissure in a few weeks.

In some cases, anal fissures can persist after these treatments. Your doctor may prescribe a topical muscle relaxant, nitroglycerin (to relax the sphincter), or other medicine to help with pain. In some cases, you may need surgery to fix an anal fissure. This is usually the case only if your symptoms are severe and chronic, and have not responded to other treatment. Surgery involves cutting a small part of the sphincter muscle to reduce spasms and promote healing. It’s very effective, but does carry a small risk of causing incontinence.

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience treating patients with conditions including anal fissures. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.

A Review of Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome

Cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS) is a condition characterized by recurring periods of severe nausea and vomiting. Read along for a review of the condition. 

Causes and Risk Factors for Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome

Cyclic vomiting syndrome is an uncommon syndrome that can affect a variety of groups of people. In many cases, it begins when children are between the ages of 3 and 7. While it tends to be more common in children, it is actually becoming more common in adults. Doctors don’t know exactly what causes cyclical vomiting syndrome. It could be a result of genetic, hormonal, or other factors. An episode of vomiting can sometimes be triggered by external conditions as well. These can be things like menstruation, seasonal allergies, a cold, hot weather, physical exertion, and eating certain foods. There is also evidence that cyclical vomiting could be linked to migraines- most children with this syndrome have a family history of migraines. In fact, this syndrome may be a migraine variant. 

Symptoms

There are a number of symptoms associated with this syndrome. The condition creates recurring periods of severe nausea and vomiting. These episodes can last anywhere from a few hours to days. Between episodes, people with the condition do not typically experience symptoms, or experience milder symptoms. Episodes tend to be very similar for each individual as well. The episodes often start around the same time, last a similar period of time, and have the same symptoms. Your episodes may start with nausea and sweating at first. You may become so nauseated or experience such severe vomiting that you become incapacitated as well. Other symptoms can include dizziness, headaches, abdominal pain, diarrhea, gagging, sensitivity to light, and a lack of energy. Some children who have cyclical vomiting syndrome outgrow it as they age, but may develop migraines. 

Diagnosing Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome

Doctors diagnose CVS with a combination of an exam, talking through your medical history, and some testing. They will want to know details about your episodes like the symptoms involved and patterns in the episodes to gather information. Your doctors may also perform imaging testing like an endoscopy or a CT scan to visualize your gastrointestinal tract and identify any blockages or other conditions. They can also pursue motility testing to evaluate the movement of food through your body and find any possible digestive disorders. Overall, doctors will use a variety of methods to rule out other potential issues or disorders before diagnosing cyclical vomiting syndrome. 

Complications and Treatment

CVS can cause dehydration, since the body loses fluids due to vomiting. Additionally, the acid from vomit can cause tooth decay. This condition can also cause inflammation in the esophagus due to recurring damage.

Treating this condition involves a combination of managing symptoms and preventing episodes by identifying and avoiding triggers. Your doctor may prescribe anti-nausea medication, stomach acid suppressants, pain relief drugs, or migraine medication to manage symptoms. Additionally, they will work with you to figure out what tends to trigger vomiting episodes. You should avoid the things that tend to cause an episode, whether it’s a particular food, stressor, or environmental factor. Long-term, having a strong support system and a plan for good preventative measures is key to managing CVS.

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience treating patients with conditions like cyclical vomiting. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.

 

Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction

Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction is a condition in which the muscle between the bile duct and pancreatic duct does not open like it should. This results in digestive juice backup. Here’s an overview of the condition. 

Causes and Risk Factors

The sphincter of Oddi is a smooth muscle that surrounds the end of the common bile duct and the pancreatic duct. It opens and closes to allow bile and pancreatic juice to flow into the intestine for digestion. This muscle can develop the inability to properly function in some cases. The exact cause of the condition is unknown, but there are a few things that seem to increase risk. For one, people who have had a gallbladder removal seem to be at a higher risk of this condition. It is also more common in middle-aged women. 

Symptoms of Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction

A key symptom of this condition is recurring pain attacks in the upper right abdomen. The pain tends to be steady, and may be aggravated by eating fatty foods. It may also worsen with the use of opiates. Given the condition’s association with gallbladder removal, doctors are often on the lookout for these sorts of recurring symptoms for patients who have recently undergone that procedure. If you have undergone a gallbladder removal and have recurring upper abdominal pain, it could be a sign of this condition or another issue. Contact your doctor if you are experiencing recurring pain following the procedure. 

Diagnosis

Doctors diagnose sphincter of Oddi dysfunction in a few different ways. As mentioned before, if you have recently had a gallbladder removal and have recurring upper abdominal pain, doctors may suspect this condition and investigate. There are several noninvasive testing options available. Doctors may order a blood test to measure enzyme levels in the liver and pancreas. They may also perform an ERCP to check the drainage times and functioning of your pancreas and bile ducts. Additionally, they can perform manometry during the ERCP to measure the sphincter’s function by evaluating pressure changes. Manometry is often considered one of the best ways to test for this condition. 

Complications and Treatment

Depending on the specifics of your condition, doctors may pursue different treatment options. In non-severe cases, doctors may first prescribe medication to control pain and prevent spasms. Another treatment option is a sphincterotomy. This is a surgical procedure in which doctors cut the muscle to provide relief and ensure there are no stones in your gallbladder or bile ducts. This is often successful in treating symptoms from the condition. Up to 70% of patients experience long-term pain relief. However, it is a difficult procedure with a significant risk of complications. As many as 5-15% of patients who get this surgery experience complications like mild pancreatitis, and might need to stay in the hospital to recover. It can also cause scarring around the incision. As such, doctors only recommend a sphincterotomy if other treatment options have not been successful. 

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience treating patients with conditions like sphincter of Oddi dysfunction. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.

Fecal Transplant: What You Need to Know

A fecal transplant is a procedure in which stool from a healthy donor is transferred to your GI tract. Here’s an overview of the procedure and what you can expect. 

What is a Fecal Transplant? 

Fecal transplants are used to help treat a bacterial infection condition called C. difficile colitis. This condition involves inflammation in the colon as a result of the C. difficile bacteria being present. It can cause diarrhea, fever, and pain, and can be severe if untreated. In some cases, this condition is a complication of antibiotic treatment- antibiotics may have killed off too many good bacteria in your GI system. It can also be caused by ingestion of the C. difficile bacteria itself. In any case, a fecal transplant can help. Doctors often first attempt to treat C. difficile colitis with antibiotics, but if the condition recurs they may shift to a fecal transplant. 

Before the Procedure

Leading up to a transplant, you will have to meet with your doctor to confirm that it’s the best option. You will need a stool donor as well. In some cases, you may be tasked with finding your own potential donor. There are also organizations that gather qualified donor samples for use. 

Doctors evaluate stool donors through a rigorous screening process. Many factors can disqualify potential donors, including recent antibiotic exposure, a recent tattoo or piercing, a history of drug use, a chronic GI disorder, or a history of high-risk sexual behavior. When a donor is a potential match, doctors will also screen them for infectious pathogens. They perform blood and stool tests to look for things like Hepatitis, HIV, parasites, and multi-drug-resistant organisms.

In the days leading up to the actual procedure, you’ll need to follow a few guidelines as well. You should not take any antibiotics in the two days before the transplant. You will have a liquid diet and will need to take a laxative or enema the night before the procedure as well. Follow your doctor’s specific instructions for the best outcomes. 

During the Fecal Transplant

You will need someone to accompany you on the day of the procedure, as you will be undergoing anaesthetic. Doctors use a colonoscopy as the method to transplant the stool. As such, normal colonoscopy procedures are followed (you can read more here). You’ll be under anaesthesia as doctors use an endoscope to enter your GI tract and perform the transplant. The donor stool is deposited in your colon during this process. This healthy donor stool is then able to help replenish the balance of bacteria in your gut. 

After the Procedure

Since this procedure involves a colonoscopy, you’ll have to recover from sedation immediately after the transplant. It can take around an hour to recover. Once recovered, your doctor will discuss how the procedure went with you. Sedative effects can linger for about a day, so you should avoid making important decisions or operating machinery for 24 hours afterwards. Make sure the person who brought you to the doctor’s office also takes you home, as you should not drive. 

This procedure is highly effective at preventing a recurrence of C. difficile. A number of studies have shown around a 90% rate of success. This is a largely effective treatment option to solve issues with C. difficile colitis long-term. 

Our experienced team at GHP has years of experience treating patients with conditions like C. difficile colitis. We can help establish the best plan of care for your situation. Contact any of our office locations to learn about the options we offer and schedule an appointment today.