A Pennsylvania woman is the first woman in the world that has been diagnosed with “bladder fermentation syndrome”, a condition that causes her to urinate alcohol.
The 61-year-old woman, whose name was not shared with the public, was placed on a waiting list for a liver transplant after her long battle with cirrhosis and poorly controlled diabetes.
The 61-year-old woman had her urine regularly tested positive for alcohol and due to her condition’s synonymy with the drug, she was repeatedly rejected for transplants.
The doctors believed the woman had an addiction.
But the 61-year-old woman rejected the claims that she was an alcoholic, sending her and the doctors in a cycle that baffled each other.
Ignoring the claims of the doctors that she is an alcoholic, she decided to visit the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where she got answers to her questions.
Specialists noted in the Annals of Internal Medicine, that her urine test results for ethyl glucuronide and ethyl sulfate, substances that are consistent with the ingestion of alcohol, were negative.
Similarly, her blood tests were also negative for ethanol.
This had doctors wondering if the alcohol is not in her blood and she is not feeling intoxicated, where is the alcohol coming from?
The researchers later found out that it was her bladder that was acting like a brewery, where microbes were fermenting alcohol.
This is due to a particular strain of yeast called Candida Glabrata, a type of fungus that is closely related to brewer’s yeast.
After taking samples of the yeast inside her bladder, they placed it in a Petri dish and watched it ferment.
Take note that the brewing of alcohol requires a number of things, which include water, sugar, yeast, and a lack of oxygen.
Due to the combination of the woman’s urine, laced with sugar duet to her diabetes, and the yeast, her bladder started to produce alcohol.
Basically, the woman’s bladder was making alcohol.
Kenichi Tamama, a study author and Associate Professor of Pathology, said:
“I think the biggest reason for the patient to develop this condition is her poorly controlled diabetes because the bladder environment with high levels of glucose is definitely an optimistic condition for the growth and activity of the yeast… and diabetes itself is also known to cause immune dysfunction, which should also contribute to this resilient yeast colonisation in the bladder in this case.”
The 61-year-old woman has a disease that is similar to the auto-brewery syndrome, which causes alcohol to ferment due to the combination of yeast and sugar in the stomach and intestine.
The auto-brewery syndrome causes people to feel drunk from just eating carbs.
As this woman’s condition is localized to the bladder, however, it is something new entirely and is now known as the ‘bladder fermentation syndrome’ or ‘urinary auto-brewery syndrome’.
To get rid of her yeast infection, the woman was given oral antifungals.