Caitlin’s Story

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fecal transplant for IBS

Caitlin is our first IBS success story, and hers is a particularly happy ending.

Where are you from?

Portland, Oregan, USA

What percentage better are you?


What was your diagnosis and what treatments did you try before FMT?

I was diagnosed with IBS (officially with an unknown cause). I tried various antibiotics (which worked, but only while I was taking them), antimicrobial herbs (oregano oil, black walnut, garlic), dietary changes (gluten free, dairy free, GAPS diet, all of which helped but only made symptoms slightly better), muscle relaxers (to relax my colon muscles, which did not help at all)

When did you have your first and last FMT treatment?

I started March 20, 2013 and did my last one 4 weeks later.

How many FMT treatments did you need to see initial results and the results you have today?

I did 10 days in a row plus once a week for 3 more weeks. That was all that was required, I am now 8 months out and still feeling really great.

Were there other perpetuating factors in your illness or illnesses, or was your only issue a bacterial imbalance?

It seems that the only issue was bacterial imbalance (aside from my gluten intolerance, but I just don’t eat gluten and that way I’m fine). My gastroenterologists offered various other ideas, such as a nervous system disorder (causing my colon muscles to be in constant contraction) or some sort of autoimmune problem, but after the FMT all of my symptoms are gone so I don’t think those theories were correct.

How and when did you first hear of FMT?

From my naturopathic doctor

What factors did you take into account when deciding to do FMT?

That it was my last resort, after 6 years of chronic pain, great expense, and a problem that was only getting worse, I felt like I had no reason not to try it. I believed it would work because antibiotics always seemed to help me (as did antimicrobial herbs, such as oregano oil), but only while I was taking them. I felt I needed to change my gut microfloral community and FMT seemed the best way to do that.

What did your doctor/s say?

Both of the naturopathic doctors I was seeing said that they thought it was a good idea for me. When I brought it up to my gastroenterologist he thought that it might help me but that he couldn’t do the procedure on me because it has only been approved for c. difficile, which I didn’t have.

What criteria did you use to choose a donor?

General health, good (daily) bowel movements, very limited history of antibiotic use (only once as a child), someone I trusted and who was willing.

How did you approach your donor and what was that person’s response?

I told her that I was thinking about doing FMT (she knew how sick I had been for years) and she offered to be my donor without me even having to ask her. She is a great friend.

What was your FMT experience like?

It wasn’t as bad as I thought. I did it all myself under the instruction of a naturopath who does it both in his clinic and gives instructions to his patients to do it at home. I chose the at home option because it was much less expensive and I thought I would be more comfortable. I always retained the FMT enema for at least 4 hours, sometimes overnight. It was a little hard to keep in for the first 30 minutes, but usually after that I could get up and walk around and do normal activities.

What was your darkest moment when you were ill? What sustained you throughout?

Over the 6+ years that I suffered from severe IBS, I experienced constant and sometimes debilitating abdominal pain (always in the upper left quadrant), diarrhea, constipation, joint pain, and chronic fatigue. The hardest part about it, aside from the stress and fatigue of dealing with pain, was the feeling of hopelessness. Every time I thought I was getting better (such as during and right after I would take antibiotics) it was incredibly devastating when my symptoms would return. I also started to become very afraid of not being able to have children, getting colon cancer, and just living the rest of my life in pain. Those thoughts, thoughts of despair and helplessness were very hard to deal with. I tried to never give up hope, but when I was in the grips of an attack it was hard to keep focused on that.

What are the top 3 things you most enjoy about your post-FMT life?

I have FOUR!

  1. Not being in pain
  2. Having so much energy
  3. Eating whatever I want without being afraid of it causing an attack (except gluten of course)
  4. Being pregnant (my son is due in a month!) I could never think about having a baby until the FMT, because I could never go that long without taking things like oregano oil to keep my symptoms at bay (which you can’t take while pregnant).

What advice do you have for others to deal with the fear and (perceived) risk about FMT, in the face of scepticism from treating doctors, friends and family?

On the surface it seems like it would be a somewhat risky procedure, but the more I think about it the less risky it really seems. As long as you have a healthy donor the risk is really quite minimal. People have been doing enemas for a very long time, so that part of it seems very low risk to me. As long as you are confident in the health of your donor, it seems there is only a potential up side. As for the gross factor, I got over that pretty quickly, probably after the first time. I just decided to detach myself from what it was and focus on the positive outcome. It seems more risky to take all those drugs than to do FMT, in my opinion.

What advice do you have for someone trying to make a decision about FMT?

I think that it is definitely something to do if you have c. difficile, but I think that is only scratching the surface of the potential use for this treatment. I myself did not have c. difficile, but it cured my IBS (which was always ruled officially as “cause unknown”). I had an indication it was bacterial from a Metametrix fecal diversity profile I had done on a stool sample, which showed abnormal amounts of certain bacteria as well as a positive response from taking antibiotics. I would say that if someone has IBS that responds to antibiotics like I did, then FMT is a good option. new balance 870
What did your Metametrix profile show?

My Metametrix stool profile showed that I was above the 90th percentile in Streptomyces species and above the 80th percentile in Bacteroides and Mycoplasma species (all of which are obligate anaerobes). Also, my Bifidobacter species were low (20th percentile). The profile does not say whether any of these are known to be harmful or not, and even within each type there are many species, so it is hard to interpret. My naturopath did say that most bifidobacter species are helpful, so having low bifido was maybe a bad thing.

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Categories: fecal microbiota transplant, IBS

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26 replies »

  1. Which naturopath in Portland practices FMT? I’d be interested in checking them out.

  2. Bright Medicine Clinic

  3. I’m interested in what tests she has had before getting the diagnosis of IBS. Did they test you on c.diff etc. Cause I can’t find it in the story. Nevertherless great story!

  4. How soon after your FMT did you feel better. My wife and I have done 11 FMT’s in a row and I still don’t feel better. We are going to continue to try it once a week until whenever the day I feel “normal”.

  5. Caitlin, thank you so much for sharing your success story! I’m so happy that you are well and now expecting your first baby! Congratulations! Your FMT success is so inspiring! Thank you!
    Also, you do have a wonderful and kind friend!

  6. Caitlin, thanks for sharing your success story. It really gives me hope to know that someone out there who suffered from IBS can actually feel better from this treatment! I have been suffering from chronic IBS-C for 20 years now. I am severely lactose/whey/casein intolerant, gluten/wheat sensitive, complex carbohydrate intolerant… Pretty much intolerant to food! It often seems that no matter what I eat, I will eventually feel ill. I had a colonoscopy in my late 30s but it showed nothing, other than excess laxative use. I am well-aware that is a problem, and I knowingly and purposely use them, as well as enemas, on a regular basis. I am sure it has contributed to my problem but I have gotten so desperate and depressed about feeling sick (painful cramps, severe bloat and gas, etc.) that I really don’t care what I need to do to feel better.

    I have changed my diet multiple times, with little success. I am vegan by choice (though somewhat by default) and do okay with tofu and fermented foods. I take a high potency probiotic (“Colon Care” is on the label) on a daily basis; eat some fruits and some veggies, but the diet is very limited. I often go on liquid fasts because I feel too full to eat :-(

    Needless to say, I am at the end of my rope (when dying seems like a great option, you know you are at the end of your rope!). I am definitely going to look into this procedure and will do it at home if I cannot find a doctor to do it.

    Congrats again on your success! I am looking forward to enjoying mine sometime in the near future!

    Peace, Sue

  7. How about eatin cows, or goats, or sheeps fresh dung?

  8. Two Years Ago, Dr David Williams Wrote about FMT in his monthly letter “Aternatives”. It has taken this long to emerge in another Well regarded alternative medical news letter by Dr.Julian Whitaker, July 2014 titled “The Power of Probiotics”. he leads with the 2012 story of MIchael Hurst and a 12 years history of pain, and a scheduled Colonectomy (?) three days away when he hears of FMT. Cancels the operation. Self treated with stool from a healthy friend.He has written a book titled “Poop Power” detailing the event. …. Dr.W writes of Clinical trials treating C Difficile published in New England Journal Of Medicine, “last year”….. I’m so pleased at the Metamatrix stool sample guid lines entering the diagnostic technology. and the interpretation that Catlin’s support contributed. Dr W further “thousands ofdifferent patienjts have reported success, Crohn’s disease,IBS, Austrailian researcheers report 70% improvements in chronic fatigue syndrome. Another site more success; instruction for selfies.,

  9. We know Michael Hurst well and his story was one of the first to be told on this site.

  10. Hello Caitlin

    How long did you wait to see the results?

    I’ve done 5 fmts in 1 week…1 week ago…I haven’t seen any improvement, I saw some cases it delays around 3 weeks to achieve the balance…Can anyone confirm that?

    Thank you

  11. Dan please keep us updated, what are you suffering from?

    Hopefully it works for you.

  12. Glad you had a great response. I told feel like it would be better off not being here due to all of the issues I deal with with Post Infectious IBS. Sadd but true. God help me. Please keep me in your Prayers it’s so rough.

  13. Caitlin, which form of IBS did you have, diarrhea predominant, constipation predominant, or alternating? Did you also have any allergies or asthma and did this procedure make any difference with those problems? Thanks!

  14. can anyone tell me how to do FMT at home.

  15. Hi!
    I am so happy for you, Caitlin! It would be nice to get more details about how long it takes before there is any improvement. If there are certain steps to be made to make the procedure more effective so we who do it at home can get better. What kind of equipment is used at home and how the poop is handled for example. :)

  16. I’m really happy for your success! Can you please tell us whether your gluten and milk sensitivities are now gone? Can you eat and digest anything you want now? I’m really hoping this treatment could restore my ability to have a normal diet once again.

    Thanks very much for your reply. (If it’s not automatic, I’d be really grateful if you would email me).


  17. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I have been quite ill for 2 years and have had 8 foods that I can eat. The joint pain, histamine reactions to foods, food intolerances, gut pain and bloating and the feeling of hopelessness are becoming too much to handle. I debated on FMT about 8 months ago and chose to go another route. We are now back to FMT and I am anxiously waiting for us to have the money to have my donor tested. Fortunatley I have no fear of any negative impact a I believe my donor is a great match and I can only hope that this is the answer we have been searching for.
    What did you do prior to your first treatment as far as preping your system for the initial FMT? Did you use a blender for mixing with the saline or did you use the plastic bag method? How about enema bag or the plastic things that an OTC enema comes in? Any help or suggesting would be greatly appreciated.
    I am so happy for your success!

  18. Wow, I am so pleased for your success.
    I have my first in 3 weeks then do my own for the next few months under Gastro support
    I hope I have your results

    stay well

  19. This is a helpful site. The rest of my life will be spent on trying to get to people to help themselves be healthy. Your site will help me immensely.

  20. Caitlin, this is a very inspiring story.

    I’m suffering from IBS-D for 2 years now and I have almost the same symptoms as you described.
    I tried taking antibiotics but just like you said, it only helped while I was taking them.

    I think FMT is my last resort and I’m going to try it.
    Thank you for giving me the motivation and I hope I’ll get healthy as you did.

  21. I’ve been following Dr. Pimentel’s protocol: antibiotic [Rifaximin] followed by promotility drug for small intestine [Erythromycin] Was very helpful and now that finished protocol am about 50% better but my gastro said would be where I am for 3 more years then would need to repeat!!!
    Am thinking about FMT and that I responded well to the antibiotic might be a good sign. Doug

  22. Thank you so much for sharing your story. How’s everything going now? I am almost to the point of considering a fecal transplant.

  23. I also am very limited when it comes to food . No gluten dairy eggs…. I use to be able to eat a good variety of foods. Unfortunately, I received a dose of antibotic as an infant and many more thereafter. Now I have a myriad of allergies. Caitlin did your allergies get better with these treatments?

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