- That headline just gets weirder the longer you look at it
We’ve been on a bit of a toilet spree with our stories lately. Just in the last week, we’ve covered an Amazon delivery man who dropped off more than just a package on a woman’s yard and Japan’s transparent toilets.
We have a good streak going on here, so let’s continue in the same vein. Doctors have managed to cure a man’s drunkenness disease by inserting poop into his butt.
Truly, the wonders of modern medicine.
Let’s try and unpack this story. First, what’s a drunkenness disease?
Well, it’s a condition also known as the auto-brewery syndrome (ABS). If you have it your gut fungi and bacteria start fermenting the contents on your intestines, producing alcohol and spontaneously getting you drunk.
Think that sounds awesome? Think again. Imagine driving a car in heavy traffic and then all of a sudden, boom, you’re drunk.
Most of us carry the bacteria that produce alcohol in our intestines, says ScienceAlert. However, in people with ABS these little guys go nuts and produce so much alcohol that it starts impacting on the patient’s daily life.
You can develop this condition without any prior indication, for example as a result of antibiotics. This is precisely what happened to the 47-year-old anonymous man of our story.
He went to the hospital, complaining that he was experiencing inexplicable moments of inebriation after finishing a dose of antibiotics. He hadn’t had a drink in four days, he said, but still he was getting drunk.
Doctors measured the man’s blood alcohol, and he really wasn’t joking around. His blood contained over 17 times more alcohol than is normal, enough to put him twice over the legal driving limit.
It Was The Fungi, Officer, I Swear!
Since they were professionals in their trade, the doctors quickly recognized the symptoms and diagnosed the man with ABS. They prescribed the anti-fungal drug amphotericin and a low-carb diet, and sent the man on his way.
Unfortunately, the treatment had little effect. After a couple of weeks, the doctors upped the man’s medication dosage, but even this proved unsuccessful.
A month later, ScienceAlert reports that the man was still not only getting unwillingly drunk, but his wife could constantly smell alcohol in his breath.
No, honey, I don’t have a drinking problem. It’s just the fungus in my guts going nuts.
Things came to a head when the man got ticketed for driving under influence at a random police check. In a sense it was his own fault, really. What are you doing behind the wheel when you know you can and will randomly get drunk?
But the case also really highlighted the issue the man was having. His normal life was seriously impacted by his condition and something had to be done.
That’s when the doctors suggested a radical approach. They told the man that he could be cured if he let them take some poop and shove it up his bottom.
A Crappy Operation
In reality, the doctors probably used the scientific term fecal microbiota transplant when describing the procedure. Still, that’s pretty much a fancy way of saying “we will put someone else’s poop inside you”.
Despite how it sounds, the poop transplant is an effective cure against some diseases and conditions. It works by introducing healthy gut bacteria into a patient, which should help balance their own intestinal microbiome.
The procedure is not necessarily done through the butt, either. You can get the poop inserted through your mouth or nose, too. We’re not sure if that’s any better.
All that being said, the treatment is effective only against a limited number of diseases. The US Food and Drug Administration has also warned that it could carry severe health risks – it could even kill you.
But to our hero, the potential benefits were worth the risk. He decided he could die on the operating table, or by drunkenly smashing his car into oncoming traffic.
So, the operation went on. To ensure maximum compatibility, the poop sample to be transplanted was provided by the man’s 22-year-old daughter.
That’s one way to bond with your kids, I guess.
Luckily, this story has a happy ending and the transplant was a complete success. With the help of her daughter’s poop, the man has now been free of ABS symptoms for three years.
He got his driver’s license back, and the doctors said he is able to even enjoy a beer. And if he’s feeling tipsy, well, now he knows it’s because he’s had one too many.
“On the basis of our experience with this patient, we advise other clinicians who have patients with gut fermentation syndrome to consider treatment with fecal microbiota transplantation, especially if more traditional therapy has failed,” the doctors said in their case study.
“Moreover, we can imagine a future point – after additional research to evaluate the safety of fecal microbiota transplantation – at which this approach might become standard therapy for gut fermentation syndrome,” they added.
We’re getting close to the day where getting poop inserted into your guts could become an everyday operation. What a time to be alive.