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Case of a 61-Years Old Woman Who Pees Alcohol Baffled the Doctors

A bizarre case of a woman has made it to headlines who is recognized with an auto-brewery syndrome that was previously unknown. This unidentified, 61-year-old woman pees alcohol which is produced inside her body by fermentation of sugar inside her urine. The weirdest thing is that this patient has never consumed alcohol ye she is suffering from this never-before-seen medical condition.

This case was observed as she was a cirrhosis patient as well as diabetes and a part of a liver transplant waiting list. Cirrhosis is a disease that is typically triggered by alcohol abuse. So, it was natural for doctors to suspect that the woman was hiding her addiction. Her urine tests repeatedly came positive and doctors were sure that she is having an alcohol addiction.

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However, she continuously denied consuming alcohol and then doctors checked her plasma test results for ethanol and also analyzed urine samples for the presence of ethyl glucuronide and ethyl sulfate. These two are ethanol metabolites test came negative but urine test for ethanol was positive. In addition to that, she showed no signs of intoxication by alcohol consumption.  It confused the doctors and they tested her for bladder yeast colonizing which is to see if the body is naturally fermenting sugar to make ethanol, a type of alcohol.

Shortly after that, she was diagnosed with another medical condition called bladder fermentation syndrome by the medical experts from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian Hospital. This case report is covered and explained in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Click here to read the complete case report. 

This is a new case which is not similar to the traditional auto-brewery syndrome. This new disease is termed as ‘urinary auto-brewery syndrome’ or ‘bladder fermentation syndrome” by the researchers.

Doctors described her oral antifungals to get rid of the yeast infection. This case is the first-ever report on such a disease. The researchers share these details to warn doctors about this new medical condition so that patients are not misdiagnosed.

The report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine writes: “Acquiring all of the data necessary to evaluate a transplant candidate is complicated because of the high stakes, time constraints, and workload of the persons acquiring the data”.

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It further shares that; “Proper processing of data is even more difficult— it is all too easy to order alcohol monitoring tests inconsistently, overlook discrepancies in the results, and allow bias to enter and persist in the decision-making process.”

So far, this woman is the only reported case of bladder fermentation syndrome but the researchers suspect it is a lot more common than this. A close condition to this bladder fermentation is called  “auto-brewery syndrome” which mainly affects the gut. The doctors share: “Clinicians must be diligent about paying close attention to medical record documentation and laboratory results and should always investigate in the event of incongruences.”


Areeba Hussain

Areeba is an independent medical and healthcare writer. For the last three years, she is writing for Tophealthjournal. Her prime areas of interest are diseases, medicine, treatments, and alternative therapies. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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