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Insurance companies don’t specifically cover fecal transplants, but they do pay for colonoscopies for C-diff patients, Brandt says. The donor’s testing can run to several hundred dollars. If insurance does not cover it, the patients pay.

One of Brandt’s patients suffered recurrent bouts of C-diff for about 18 months before finding the option. “You start to feel like a leper, quite honestly,” says Ruth, a New York woman who asked that her last name not be used. She says she’s felt great for two years since getting treated, although “I will tell you I have not taken another antibiotic.”

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EDITOR’s NOTE _ Lauran Neergaard covers health and medical issues for The Associated Press in Washington.