Centre for Nutrition

Fecal transplantation is good for abdominal symptoms for IBS patients

Placing stools from healthy people in the stomach improved both the symptoms and bacterial flora in the intestines of persons with a variety of irritable bowel syndrome.


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Abdominal symptoms are a common struggle for the Norwegians. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common cause to these symptoms, a collective term for stomach aches, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. Having IBS can be very disabling and until now the main cause is not yet known.   

Today, the so-called low FODMAP-diet has been beneficial to a lot of people with IBS, a diet where they avoid or reduce certain “heavy digestible carbohydrates”.  There is still no cure for IBS, but scientists are now investigating whether stool transplantation, also called fecal transplantation, can improve the everyday life of this patient group.  

At the Centre for Nutrition at the Department of Clinical Medicine, researchers have investigated the composition of intestinal bacteria of 13 patients who have received a fecal transplantation. Both symptoms, using a questionnaire, and bacterial composition in the stool was measured at one, three, twelve and 28 weeks after transplantation. 

“Our investigations show that 70% of the patients experienced improvement in their symptoms and ameliorated quality of life three months after treatment”, says Professor Gülen Arslan Lied who contributed to the research. They also found that the bacterial composition between the patients and the healthy feces donors became significantly less different from each other. 

Bacterial composition in our intestines plays a significant role in how we feel, according to Lied. The recent findings indicate that it is possible to cause a lasting change in the bacterial composition in our intestines and re-establish a healthy flora in IBS patients, says the researcher. 

More research is on the way as a large, randomized control study is about to be finished where patients received three different treatments, including placebo. “We also received support from The Research Council of Norway (FRIMEDBIO project) for a third study where we will investigate how the intestinal bacterial composition influences the brain”, says Lied. 

The main author of the project is Tarek Mazzawi from the Centre for Nutrition, Department of Clinical Medicine.