I want to know how can one sterilize their intestine (both small/large) and what are the consequences.

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    sterilize: make (something) free from bacteria or other living microorganisms. Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 20:07
  • Antibiotics: against life Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 21:13
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    I'm wondering why anyone would want to subject their body to this.
    – BillDOe
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 21:28
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    Without knowing WHY someone would want to sterilize his intestine this question cannot be answered properly.
    – Jan
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 7:36
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    Sounds like an absolutely terrible idea, however. I can't think of many legitimate possible clinical applications of this, and you open the door for rampant opportunistic infections of resistant bacteria, fungus, or newly encountered pathogens without the normal happy balance of gut flora to outcompete. Also, sterilization isn't biologically possible 100%, there will likely be residual pockets of bacteria, and maybe some resistant strands created in the attempt.
    – DoctorWhom
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 23:23

2 Answers 2


It isn't possible to completely sterilize the gut of a living person. Repeat: not possible under any circumstance in a living person.

You can dramatically decrease the number of organisms by using high-dose antibiotics and flushing out the gut copiously, and by copiously, I mean your intake plus an osmotic agent is so high that you have explosive diarrhea that looks like pure water. (It's not.)

Even with all this, swabbing will reveal plenty of CFU's (colony forming units) from what appears to be a perfectly pristine gut.

Drinking several gallons of household bleach would give you even less desirable results, not to mention it would kill you.

That's not to say there aren't any animals with perfectly microbe-free intestines. There are germ-free mice, rats, and possibly a few other animals by now. Obtaining them is difficult: they must be harvested by sacrificing a pregnant female, and under the most stringent sterile conditions, removing fetuses from the uterus, and growing the offspring in a sterile environment, feeding them sterile food (obviously processed), etc. Allow these animals to reproduce, and the result is- eventually- germ-free colonies.

The cost is phenomenal. If it were possible to sterilize mice guts more easily, it would have been done.

Germ Free Mice

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    Great answer except I think your first paragraph needs a supporting reference.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 2:12
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    Not my answer. Tell us how you know this.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 4:57
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    Easiest way to sterilize the gut is to give birth to a baby ... Gut is sterile at birth. Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 12:32
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    @CareyGregory - There is no such study. Surgeons preparing the gut for surgery are the most concerned with the possibility of abdominal infection on opening the intestines in vivo. The studies assess various methods for which is superior and which is dangerous, etc. Not for which is 100% effective. Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 16:03
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    That first paragraph seems so obvious on the face of it that I'm not sure it really needs references. But then I guess it depends on what you mean by "sterilize." If you mean 100% free of foreign microbes, then I don't see the need for references. If you mean, say, 99.90% fewer microbes than before treatment, then maybe references are in order.
    – BillDOe
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 20:01

Note: the following answer has been completely rewritten.

There are a large number of microbes in the intestines, their presence is essential for being able to digest food properly. The lining of the intestines contains living cells, so any method that completely sterilizes the gut will also do severe damage to the gut. Sterilizing the skin, in contrast, is a different matter, in that case far UV-C light can kill microbes without doing damage because far UV-C light doesn't penetrate the skin deep enough to affect living cells.

This means that the only safe way to do this (involving aggressive chemicals, radiation or whatever other means) is to make sure the patient will survive with damaged intestines, and that requires putting the patient on total parenteral nutrition.

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    That won't sterilize the gut Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 21:46
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    @GrahamChiu Antibiotics have to be administered during this treatment, I've added that in the text. Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 22:38
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    A link to support your factual claims regarding how it's done would be expected. C'mon, you know that.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 2:01
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    You also normally use non absorbable antibiotics when performing gut sterilisation clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03157388 Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 2:17
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    @GrahamChiu Thank you for posting that link. That's a very interesting study.
    – cloudnyn3
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 11:44

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