Pittsburgh, PA

Urinary auto-brewery syndrome: The condition when the individual urinates alcohol

Fareeha Arshad

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A strange case of a woman excreting alcohol has been recorded for the first time. The woman in Pittsburgh is known to have a unique medical condition because of which her bladder naturally ferments yeast, and therefore alcohol is produced within her body.

Also called the ‘urinary auto-brewery syndrome’ or the ‘bladder fermentation syndrome’, this reported case is the first to be recorded. In this rare condition, as much as simply consuming carbohydrates and their products can push the body to start brewing alcohol even without drinking alcohol at all.

The woman from Pittsburgh is sixty-one years old and is diabetic with a damaged liver. When she visited the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre Presbyterian Hospital to get her name on the waitlist for a liver transplant, the doctors assumed that she was an alcohol addict because repeated urine tests showed the presence of alcohol in her body.

However, her plasma test results showed different results. Also, the woman did not show any signs of being intoxicated when she visited the centre and repeatedly denied consuming alcohol. In addition, her urine samples showed an abundance of glucose molecules and budding yeasts.

In a recent study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine on these unexpected results, researchers confirmed that the enhanced levels of ethanol in the urine samples were because of the fermentation process in the bladder to give alcohol. Scientists further identified the yeast naturally found inside the human body, Candida glabrata.

Though the doctors tried to eradicate yeast using antifungal treatment strategies, they were largely unsuccessful because of the poorly controlled diabetes in the woman. Regardless, she was finally reconsidered for the liver transplant after the condition was finally understood.

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I am a scientist by profession and a historian by passion. I write about current affairs, history, science, and lifestyle.

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