There is a long-time myth that Blacks can’t get inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. However, that myth is untrue. Although Blacks may be at a lower risk for developing an IBD than other races, they can still get them. Black people may also receive different surgical and medical treatment than whites. This can be difficult when dealing with a painful disease such as ulcerative colitis, but research suggests there is a method of treatment that can help ease the pain.
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease triggering pain and bloody stools, and it can raise the odds for colon cancer.
Fecal transplants — basically, delivering a healthy person’s stool into the colitis patient’s digestive tract — may be an effective treatment, according to research.
The Australian team behind the small study says the strategy may work by introducing millions of healthy bacteria into the dysfunctional tract.
“Bacteria comprise more than half of the fecal mass, [but] not all poop is created alike,” Dr. Arun Swaminath, a U.S. gastroenterologist says.
In fecal transplant, patients receive stool laden with bacteria from a healthy donor’s microbiome — those internal communities of “good” bacteria, Swaminath says. And that might help restore balance to the digestive tract of people with colitis.
In recent years, “new technology has now allowed us to get a deeper understanding of the microbiome,” Swaminath adds. That’s led to the whole replacement of the colonic microbiome with donor fecal transplant.
The new Australian research involved 73 adults with mild to moderately active ulcerative colitis. The patients received a few treatments of low-intensity fecal microbiota transplantation delivered via colonoscopy.
Patients were divided into two groups: Some received pooled donor fecal matter processed anaerobically (in an oxygen-free environment), while others received their own fecal matter (essentially, a placebo, used for comparison purposes).
The rate of ulcerative colitis remission was