One person's trash is another person's treasure. For some doctors, the same can be said about poop.
Fecal transplants, which involve transferring sterilized, slurried, stool from a tested donor to a patient by colonoscopy, endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or enema, are growing in popularity despite the fact that Canadian and American governments have largely banned the practice.
As exposed in a recent Buzzfeed feature, some clinics are taking a risk by performing the procedure on a variety of gut-related illnesses including irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, obesity, diabetes, epilepsy, autism, and even HIV.
Fecal transplants are believed to help restore the good bacteria in the digestive tract that may be killed off by antibiotics.
Currently, the treatment is only approved for C. difficile (or "superbug") infections in Canada and the United States.
The University of Alberta's Dr. Dina Kao told Global News last year that many Canadians have reached out to her, desperate to try the procedure.
"Sometimes I still get emails from desperate patients telling me they couldn't get a stool transplant within their own province," she said. "I just think that's very sad."
"When you see (the patients) in follow-up, and they tell you they feel great, their appetite is back, their energy level is back, their life is back on track," Kao noted, "it's just so rewarding to see that."