The unnamed patient, 61, has become the first person in the world to be diagnosed with ‘urinary auto-brewery syndrome’ caused by yeast in her bladder that ferments sugar in her urine to produce alcohol. The process is almost exactly the same as one used by beer makers – but it was happening in her own body. At first medics suspected she may have been hiding an alcohol addiction when urine tests for the drug were repeatedly positive.
Specialists at the university instead found high levels of Candida glabrata, a yeast naturally produced by the body, were accumulating in her bladder when she ingested sugar. The yeast is similar to Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a fungus known as brewer’s yeast because it’s used by beer-makers to convert carbohydrates in grains into alcohol. Tests showed this conversion process was taking place inside her bladder.