What is Auto-Brewery Syndrome? Fecal Transplant Cures Man Who Got Drunk Without Alcohol

A man getting high without alcohol had a condition called Auto-Brewery Syndrome. It was treated by transplanting his daughter's feces in him.

You must be familiar with a liver transplant, eye transplant, and other such medical operations. But there is a whole new technique which sounds a bit gross – fecal transplant. What is even more bizarre is that it is being used to treat a condition that is equally novel. A man in Belgium found himself in the unenviable condition of getting drunk without consuming any alcohol.

The doctors were flummoxed as well and recommended anti-fungal medication and a diet with low carbohydrate content to solve the problem. However, these methods didn't work. Then, the doctors discovered the source of the problem. It was in his gut all along.

In ABS, the bacteria in the gut turns carbs into ethanol Pixabay

The Main Cause

The patient whose identity hasn't been revealed was suffering from a rare condition called Auto-Brewery Syndrome (ABS). In this condition, the bacteria present in a person's gut transform carbs into ethanol, a type of alcohol, leaving the man high, and in more ways than one, dry. Of course, this also meant that the 47-year old man was not in control of when he can be intoxicated.

Having lost his driving license to this disease, he sought treatment from the doctors. They decided to use a new technique in the profession called fecal transplant. It is indeed as repulsive as it sounds but was necessary for the man to get rid of his unfortunate situation.

The feces that were to be transplanted into him for removing the bacteria were donated by his daughter, a young lady of 22-years of age. Now, the way the feces is put into the receiver is itself complicated. One way to do it is to insert it through the colon, which sounds okay.

Organ transplant
Doctors transplanted his daughter's feces into the patient (Representational picture)

But a more unappealing technique is to put it into the body with the help of a nasal tube that travels through the throat and into the required area. Equally unappetizing is the method of making a pill out of frozen feces and asking the patient to swallow it like any other tablet. It is not known which option the Belgian man took.

Operation Successful!

But the procedure worked and the man has been free of the problem for 34 months now. This success of the technique is likely to make it more popular for treating ABS. While the disease is not common, it does afflict people with pre-existing conditions like diabetes and obesity.

"Fecal transplants should be given a try in the future in patients with ABS. Setting up a trial would be the ideal scenario, but given the rarity of the syndrome, this kind of trial in humans will not be possible," Dr Danny De Looze, who co-authored this case study, stated. The good thing is, trouble is no longer 'brewing' inside the Belgian.