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Pittsburgh woman has become the first person to be diagnosed with a rare syndrome which causes alcohol to brew in the bladder due to the fermentation of yeast and sugar.
The anonymous patient, 61, has diabetes and liver cirrhosis and was on the donor waiting list for a liver transplant. However, she was taken off the list and referred to alcohol abuse treatment instead.
Doctors thought her problem was alcohol addiction; however, the patient denied ever drinking alcohol.
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The doctors were understandably skeptical since the repeated urine tests for alcohol showed positive. As the next step, the doctors ran a blood test which surprisingly showed no alcohol in her blood.
In order to crack the mystery, Kenichi Tamama of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pennysylvania conducted some basic tests and saw that the woman’s urine contained yeast.
It is not unusual for the urine to have yeast. However, it is also known that diabetes causes a high amount of sugar in the urine. In order to see these two components in action, Tamama ran tests on her urine and discovered that the yeast was fermenting sugar in her bladder.
The doctors named the condition “urinary auto-brewery syndrome”. This yeast, identified as Candida glabrata, is normally found in the body and it is related to what breweries use.
The process that resulted in alcohol is almost exactly the same as the one used by beer makers. Needless to say, this is extraordinary since now we know that the same process can also happen in the human body.
All in all, peeing alcohol might not be that big of a deal after all. According to Tamama, it doesn't affect the patient's health. Efforts were made to eliminate the yeast, but they weren't successful due to the patient’s diabetes.
According to the paper, the patient was reconsidered for liver transplantation; however, her whereabouts are unknown at the moment.
The findings were reported in Annals of Internal Medicine.