Every field of medicine has its rather unappealing areas of interest. For gastroenterologists it is feces.
I will admit that for most of my career I have found the topic as disgusting as any layman. True we had to examine it for blood, send it to the lab for analysis, check for toxic predators etc. But quite frankly it seemed strange that our bodies would have devoted so much space to retaining them at all.
But now, quite surprisingly, feces have gotten some respect among gastroenterologists and other medical scientists.
Being particularly fascinated by the mind/body interaction for years I never anticipated that gastroenterologists would contribute to this understanding via study of our stool!
I will most likely elaborate in further writings but there are several areas in which fecal studies and even fecal therapy is emerging as an area of important medical investigation.
1) Probiotic therapy–Understand that there are at least 100 trillion bacteria that comprise our gut biome, our inner garden, and they compose at least half of the weight of our stool. Manipulating the composition of our fecal colony by adding probiotics (good bacteria) improve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Further more their impact extends to our brain itself. Neurochemicals released into our blood stream through interaction between the bacteria and food substances affect our mood.
2) Diet and stress alter the bacterial composition of the gut flora which then impact on our immune system and emotional states of being through neurochemical blood borne substances.
3) Fecal transplantation (eat shit and live) sounds grotesque but can be life-saving for those patients suffering from debilitation Clostridia difficile colitis. Also known as fecal bacteriotherapy it requires administering feces from healthy individuals (possibly relatives) via enemas or (ugh) nasogastric tubes.
So let's have some more respect for what has always been considered pure waste products.