Rare: A woman’s bladder can produce alcohol on her own

Recently, a 61-year-old American woman was diagnosed with the first woman with “urine-brewing syndrome” or “bladder fermentation syndrome” whose bladder was able to produce her own alcohol. The woman, who was waiting for a liver transplant at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, was fired from the transplant list for alleged lying with alcohol because multiple urine tests showed alcohol in her urine,media reported.

Rare: A woman's bladder can produce alcohol on her own

Curiously, the woman has always denied that she has a drinking problem, and a more in-depth investigation revealed that she did not have ethyl glucantine or ethyl sulfate (a metabolite of ethanol) in her urine, which is strange for drinkers.

Dr. Kenichi Tamama, medical director of UPMC’s Clinical Toxicology Laboratory, analyzed the woman’s other laboratory results and found that yeast and very high sugar levels were present in her urine, which caused sugar fermentation to produce alcohol. All people have yeast in their urine, but she has diabetes and poor treatment, resulting in abnormally high sugar levels in the bladder.

Doctors point out that this is very different from well-documented intestinal fermentation syndrome, where carbohydrates in the gastrointestinal tract are converted to alcohol, and patients often have alcohol in their blood, or symptoms of poisoning, because the gut does not prevent alcohol from entering the bloodstream. The bladder, on the other hand, prevents alcohol from passing through the bladder wall, so it is not absorbed into the bloodstream.

After the truth came out, the woman was again considered for a liver transplant.