Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Her bladder was its own brewery

Adrianna Rodriguez
Feb. 26, 2020

Doctors tried to treat a woman looking for a liver transplant for addiction after results showed her urine was full of alcohol.

The problem: She denied ever drinking a drop.

Medical professionals at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine discovered that the 61-year-old woman wasn’t trying to hide an alcohol-use disorder but had a rare medical condition called auto-brewery syndrome, or ABS.

In a case study published in the peer-reviewed Annals of Internal Medicine, doctors said yeast in her bladder fermented sugar to produce ethanol because of “poorly controlled” diabetes. They proposed calling the phenomenon “urinary auto-brewery syndrome” or “bladder fermentation syndrome.”

The study’s authors made the distinction from traditional auto-brewery syndrome, also known as gut fermentation syndrome, because patients with this medical condition produce alcohol in their gastrointestinal system.


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