Apparently in Texas, the party starts with biology, because a man’s stomach decided to transform itself into his own personal brewery. He visited the emergency room claiming he was dizzy and felt intoxicated to which the doctors made the assumption he had consumed alcoholic beverages. Yet he had not consumed any alcoholic so the situation his stomach had brewed up turned from run of the mill to mysterious quite quickly.
The doctors discovered that he had underwent surgery on his foot nearly nine years prior to his entering the emergency room, and the antibiotics used to stave off infection from the foot surgery may have removed certain necessary bacteria from the internal lining of his gut. The removal of this bacteria turned his stomach into a safe haven for yeast were it was able to sustain itself longer than imaginable in a typical human being, consequently turning his stomach into his own personal brewery. This surprise brewery began raising the man’s blood alcohol content until he felt compelled to make his way to the emergency room.
Most stories involving yeast tend to involve the female gender of the human species, and they are not typically headline caliber news. This man went from being suspected by doctors and being a closet alcoholic, maybe to even himself, to being diagnosed “auto-brewery syndrome.” Seems like they could have concocted a better name for the syndrome, but the doctor who originally discovered it must have had a keen sense of humor. The bigger discussion might be regarding the role antibiotics had to play in this development.
Although “auto-brewery syndrome” or anything resulting from an abundance of yeast contained within the stomach walls is a significant rarity, the negative consequences of antibiotics have shown their face in the public milieu once again. Penicillin, perhaps the most famous of all antibiotics, was heralded with good reason for its victory in the war against polio. But since then antibiotics as a whole have been spliced into most facets of civilized human life. Soaps contain antibiotics, medicine for nicks and scrapes, and amoxicillin is a frontrunner for the most commonly prescribed pill in human history.
In fact, antibiotics have made the work of doctors, whether wholly true or not, appear simpler with each passing year. When someone makes a visit to their doctor’s office when they just feel terrible but is not stricken with anything terminal the doctor’s answer is almost always a round of antibiotics. It is good seeing polio nearly wiped out among the majority of countries, but the rampant use of antibiotics are obviously has certain drawbacks.
Antibacterial soaps have created antibiotic resistant bacteria that can do far more damage than what people were attempting to prevent by washing their hands and bodies in the first place. New forms of antibiotic ointments do not work like the cut aids of the past which were harmful in different ways, but they healed wounds quicker. And prescription antibiotics may be lowering the ability of the human immune system to adapt to biological changes in our world on a global scale. It is also begs the question, if doctor’s are going to prescribe antibiotics 9 times out of 10 then why does it require a prescription? It must be part of the licensing process to own a beer brewery within a man’s stomach.
Written by Michael Blain