Today in things that really exist: Poop banks
There are blood banks. There are sperm banks. There are, ya know, regular banks filled with money and (presumably) mountains of gold coins. Now, there are… poop banks?
In the Netherlands, around 3,000 people are admitted into hospitals for one specific reason: they are coping with C. difficile. This is a painfully unpleasant, deadly condition that causes stomach pains, fever, and diarrhea. The worst part: the C. difficile bacteria is super talented when it comes to resisting antibiotics. Even after using antibiotics, people have been known to get this type of infection (since antibiotics kill both bad and good bacteria.)
To combat this chronic infection, the Dutch Donor Feces Bank has been established. This location will be acquiring feces samples from healthy individuals to help those with C. difficile in their system. Essentially, they will take these samples and perform a poop transplant, which involves healthy poop being inserted into a patient’s gastrointestinal tract. (It’s basically a poop enema.)
Poop transplants are performed to put good bacteria back into a patient’s system. By inserting healthy poop inside their gut (along with healthy bacteria), this can help to fight the infection and destroy the C. difficile once and for all. Plus, according to Leiden University professor of microbiology Ed Kuijper, this is often the only solution for people coping with this condition (especially if they’ve already tried using a copious amount of antibiotics).
You may also be surprised to learn that other countries, like the United States, have poop banks for those in need. There’s one called OpenBiome located in Massachusetts, which only accepts 3% of applicants – proving that healthy poop isn’t easy to come by and that healthy candidates are, without a doubt, a must.
However, with poop banks becoming more popular (and with infections like C. difficile in the world), it seems that donating feces may become the way of the future. “Stool donations are not as accepted yet as blood donations,” Kuijper explained. “But I think it’s a question of what people are used to, and donors are offering the possibility of a safe treatment to patients suffering from what is a difficult illness.”
While donating your poop may seem unusual, it could actually save a person’s life.