Tests show alcohol in a woman’s urine without her drinking any
For the first time, doctors identified a woman who urinated alcohol without drinking it as Her bladder is working like a real microbrewery.
This is currently a unique case worldwide that was identified a few months ago by doctors at the University of Pittsburgh. They first examined the file of a 61-year-old woman suffering from cirrhosis of the liver and diabetes. Both diseases are often associated with heavy drinking. This woman should be put on a waiting list for a future liver transplant. However, when the doctors performed the tests, they found significant traces of alcohol in her urine. Although the patient strongly denied drinking, she still was not put on the transplant list.
Poorly controlled diabetes was suspected
A few weeks later, she was tested again. Again, the doctors found traces of alcohol in her urine, but not in her blood. At a loss, the medical team decided to conduct more tests. At that time, the doctors found a strain of yeast called Candida glabrata. This is a fungus that corresponds to beer yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). In fact, this is not unusual, but the fact that this woman suffered from poorly controlled diabetes led doctors to believe that the yeast fermented the sugar to produce alcohol.
A bladder like a microbrewery
To further their research, the doctors took urine samples, which they then placed on petri dishes. Some had a lot of yeast, others almost none. A few hours later, the medical team discovered that the yeast had actually produced alcohol. In samples with more yeast, the alcohol content had even increased from 40 to 800 mg/dL. “That’s an extreme amount,” says Kenichi Tamama, pathologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. So you could say that this woman’s bladder has become a real microbrewery, because to produce alcohol you need water, sugar, yeast and no oxygen. All the ingredients were there to promote fermentation.
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Soon the transplant
Besides this unusual discovery, this test proved that the patient did not lie and therefore did not consume alcohol. Currently doctors are trying to improve her health status and are hoping she could get a transplant in the future. They have already prescribed her an anti-fungal drug, but it did not work. Other treatment options are currently being investigated.