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Natural Brewery? This Woman is Urinating Alcohol, But She Doesn’t Drink at all

Representative image.

Representative image.

This is the first case of what is now being called the “urinary auto-brewery syndrome”. Doctors describe this as a rare medical condition in which intoxicating quantities of ethanol are produced by specific types of yeast or bacteria through endogenous fermentation in the digestive system.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: February 26, 2020, 11:53 AM IST
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You thought the human body was too boring, didn’t you? Or complicated? Think again. A woman in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania in the US has become the first documented case of a human being urinating alcohol. The weird thing is, the woman doesn’t drink alcohol at all. This is the first case of what is now being called the “urinary auto-brewery syndrome”. Doctors describe this as a rare medical condition in which intoxicating quantities of ethanol are produced by specific types of yeast or bacteria through endogenous fermentation in the digestive system. Basically, the 61-year old lady has yeast fermenting sugar in her bladder.

Doctors at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre Presbyterian Hospital say that the woman was first presented as a case of cirrhosis and poorly controlled diabetes. But later, after tests, they referred her for alcohol abuse treatment. Doctors continually found high content of alcohol in the lady’s urine while she denied having had any alcohol to drink. "Initially, our encounters were similar, leading our clinicians to believe that she was hiding an alcohol use disorder,” say the doctors in report published by the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“These findings led us to test whether yeast colonising in the bladder could ferment sugar to produce ethanol,” the doctors say. After running further tests on her urine, the reports confirmed that very high levels of ethanol were being produced. This indicated that yeast fermenting sugar in her bladder was the cause. “It is fascinating that it can happen in the bladder as well,” says Fahad Malik at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told the New Scientist.

The doctor’s report does say that the antifungal treatments have failed to control the yeast, and the lady has been put back on the list for liver transplant. The 61-year old woman has requested for anonymity.

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