A man’s stomach turned into a brewery, where alcohol fermented inside him whenever he ate carbohydrates.
The peculiar situation is a very rare and dangerous condition called Auto-Brewery Syndrome (ABS) that happens after imbalance of gut bacteria mostly after a regular course of antibiotics.
In a recently studied case published in BMJ Open Gastroenterology , a 46-year-old, otherwise healthy man suffered a thumb injury, for which he was prescribed antibiotics.
One week after finishing his medication, the man reported experiencing uncharacteristic personality changes such as “brain fog”, depression, aggressive behaviour, and a loss of memory, Science Alert reported.
Doctors initially diagnosed the man with depression and gave him antidepressants but his situation never improved.
It was only when he was pulled over by the police, the officers suspicious he was drink driving, that the true nature of his illness became clear.
Tests showed the man had a blood alcohol level of 200 mg/dL, equivalent to having drunk approximately ten alcoholic drinks.
Further he was found to be confused, disorientated, had impaired balance and slurred speech.
The case, which started in 2011, was this October 2019 reported by researchers at Richmond University Medical Centre and published in BMJ Open Gastroenterology.
ABS was finally revealed when the man sought treatment at a clinic in Ohio, where medical tests showed his readings were normal, but Saccharomyces cerevisiae (also known as brewer’s yeast) was found in his feaces.
Brewer’s yeast, long used in the production of beer and wine, helps ferment carbohydrates. In short, this was happening in the man’s stomach, unknown to him or those around him.
“We believe that our patient’s symptoms were triggered by exposure to antibiotics, which resulted in a change in his gastrointestinal microbiome allowing fungal overgrowth,” said doctors.
He was treated at Richmond University. Specialists there managed to use probiotics to reduce the fungus and help regulate the man’s gut.
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