Dutch diarrhea has a new enemy: a poop bank. The Netherlands is opening its first fecal bank (like a blood bank for poop) in the hopes of making healthy poop available for patients with chronic gut issues.
The new Netherlands Donor Feces Bank at Leiden University will collect and store healthy stool samples to distribute to doctors performing fecal transplants. Intended to rebalance the bacterial populations found in a healthy gut microbiome, fecal transplants can help cure persistent, recurring Clostridium difficile infection, which is a potentially deadly condition caused by antibiotics. In fact, the CDC calls fecal transplants the “most effective method for helping patients with repeat C. difficile infections,” though the technique is still experimental as far as the Food and Drug Administration is concerned.
In the future, fecal transplants might be used to cure other hard-to-treat intestinal diseases, like Crohn’s disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The U.S. currently has two nonprofit poop banks, one in Massachusetts and one in California. And if you're looking to donate, the U.S. may be a better place to be a poop donor than the Netherlands. In fact, you can even get paid for it.