This slide shows bacteria growing in the colon (large bowel)
There are trillions of them and possibly up to several hundred different species.
They are responsible for completing the digestion of our food and also manufacture several important vitamins.
One third of the weight of faeces is made up of bacteria.
The oligosaccherides (mucus) which they secrete are an important binding agent in the texture and formation of bowel movements.
It is believed that collectively they exert a powerful influence on the brain of the host – the effects of which are dependent on our personality – extrovert or introvert.
One can barely imagine the disruption to this ecosystem and the consequent negative effects which occur in Ivor Lewis patients following major surgery, antibiotic treatment and extensive alterations to the acid : alkali balance.
Re-inoculation, diet and probiotics all have a role to play in restoring some semblance of normality.