A Pittsburgh-based woman has been found to have a medical condition that results in her producing alcohol in her bladder as the result of the fermentation of yeast.
The condition was discovered by doctors at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre Presbyterian Hospital.
The 61-year-old patient had been in the process of applying for a liver transplant. She also suffers from diabetes.
Doctors initially thought her poor health to be the result of alcohol abuse which she had been trying to hide. But that proved not to be the case.
“Initially, our encounters were similar, leading our clinicians to believe that she was hiding an alcohol use disorder,” her doctors elaborated in a case report.
“However, we noted that plasma test results for ethanol and urine test results for ethyl glucuronide and ethyl sulfate, which are the metabolites of ethanol, were negative, whereas urine test results for ethanol were positive.”
An abundance of glucose in the patient’s urine, medically termed hyperglycosuria, led to further investigation.
“These findings led us to test whether yeast colonising in the bladder could ferment sugar to produce ethanol,” the doctors explained.
The yeast type was identified by the researchers as Candida glabrata. Candida glabrata occurs naturally in the body, but not usually in such large quantities.
The doctors have not yet found an effective remedy for the woman after antifungal treatments failed.
She has however reportedly been reconsidered for a liver transplant.
The researchers have proposed to call this unique condition ‘bladder fermentation syndrome’ or ‘urinary auto-brewery syndrome’.
The ailment is similar to the auto-brewery syndrome, which leaves the sufferer inebriated after the ingestion of carbohydrates.
The doctors believe it’s possible that other people may have suffered from the same condition but were not diagnosed correctly.
The type of alcohol contained in beverages such as wine, beer or spirits is called ethanol. The production of this is generally made through a process of fermentation, using fruit, grain or vegetables.
The fermentation occurs when yeast or bacteria reacts with the sugar in the food, resulting in by-products ethanol and carbon dioxide.