The woman's gut was producing alcohol.  He was diagnosed with this rare condition

The emergency room doctors were not satisfied with his claims of patience.

Although she showed all the signs of intoxication, including bad breath, the 50-year-old Toronto woman insisted she hadn’t touched a drop of alcohol. It continued for two years with her husband visiting doctors, pleading her case, until someone believed her. Her dizziness, nausea and weakness even led to a fainting episode where she hit her head while making lunch for her children.

“She went back to her family doctor and went to the emergency room seven times in two years,” said Dr. Rachel Zewood, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Toronto. CNN.

Doctors were shocked to find the woman’s blood alcohol level fluctuating alarmingly between 30 and 62 milliliters per liter. For reference, the normal level is less than 2 millimoles per liter. Barbara Cordell, an expert on a rare condition called autobrewery syndrome, explained that although a level of 62 is life-threatening, some people with the syndrome can function at levels as low as 30-40 mmol per liter.

“I know of over 300 people diagnosed with autobrewery syndrome and over 800 patients and caregivers in our private Facebook support group,” said Cordell, who was not involved in the new case.

“Part of the mystery of this syndrome is how these people can be so advanced and still walk and talk.”

Despite the woman’s concerning symptoms, emergency room doctors were not satisfied with her patient claims. Further testing by three separate psychiatrists at the hospital ultimately ruled out alcohol dependence (alcohol use disorder) as a cause.

“She told the doctors that her religion does not allow drinking alcohol, and her husband confirmed that she does not drink alcohol,” said Zivod, who treated the woman and wrote an anonymous report on the case. That was published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

“But it wasn’t until the seventh visit that an emergency room doctor finally said, ‘I think it looks like autobrewery syndrome,’ and sent him to a specialist,” Zivod said.

Dr. Fahad Malik, a gastroenterologist specializing in autobrewery syndrome, understands a woman’s struggle. With 30 patients under his care (though not involved in this particular case), he has seen firsthand how common disbelief and even ridicule is for those with the condition.

“Most patients are overlooked as ‘drinkers’ or with behavioral conditions prior to diagnosis,” said Malik, a clinical assistant instructor at the State University of New York’s Upstate Medical University. are also

A very rare condition called autobrewery syndrome, also known as gut fermentation syndrome, causes the body to convert everyday carbohydrates into alcohol through the action of bacteria and fungi in the intestines. This surprising condition was first discovered in 1946, when an autopsy was performed on a 5-year-old African boy who died of a ruptured stomach: his stomach was filled with a foamy liquid that smelled strongly of alcohol. was

Despite the first documented case in 1946, autobrewery syndrome is rare. An April 2021 review found only 20 diagnostic cases reported in the English medical literature since 1974. Interestingly, Japan has documented additional cases as “meitei-sho” or “alcohol auto-intoxication syndrome”. This suggests that the condition may be more widespread than the estimated rates currently appear.

Autobrew syndrome disrupts the delicate balance of our gut microbiome. When certain fungi and bacteria overgrow, they essentially turn the digestate into a fermenting vat, similar to a fermented drink. This internal fermentation, unlike the healthy intestinal process in the colon, produces alcohol.

Scientists believe that this abnormal fermentation occurs primarily in the small intestine. Although various pathogens can be the culprit, the most common culprits are fungal overgrowth, especially Saccharomyces and Candida. Candida, a fungus that occurs naturally in the body, can take advantage of conditions where beneficial bacteria are depleted, often after antibiotic use.

A striking case documented in 2013 involved a 61-year-old man who experienced years of undiagnosed addiction. Criminal? Saccharomyces cerevisiae, or brewer’s yeast abundance – the yeast used in the production of beer!

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