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Urine test showing positive for alcohol and I dont drink.

Hello, I am currently in a Pain management Center at one of the finest hospitals in the Phila area. I have been there for 5 years. I have 9 herniated disks, arthritis, DDD. I had a Spinal Cord Stimulator implanted in Feb 2011and it saved my life. I love my Doctors. I am frequently drug tested ( urine) to make sure I am taking my meds as prescribed. I take Oxycontin and percocet for breakthrough pain. I have never had any problems and have even had left over pills at the end of the month. My problem is that for the last 6 months, the last 3 urine tests have come back positive for ethanol alcohol. I do not drink at all, neither does my husband who is a severe diabetic. I do use OTC cough meds and hand sanitizer, I bleach my hair use mouth wash. For the life of me, I cannot understand how this is happening. Oh I also use Feminine wet wipes when I have my menstrual cycle, or if I go #2. Can anyone help me? I am afraid to be seen as a lier as I have such a wonderful relationship with my Doctors. If I was drinking, I would certainly say so as I dont think I am not allowed to. ( but I dont think drinking and using narcotics is a great idea.) I dont even have wine with dinner if we go out for the night. I did not even drink at my wedding. Could there be something wrong with me? Like my liver or other things? Im starting to get scared. Thanks for any help.
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First Helper meekandhumble
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replied October 22nd, 2011
Especially eHealthy
meekandhumble,

Though office drug tests are good, they are not infallible. You can ask to have a sample sent for a GC/MS analysis. But, you will probably have to pay for it.

The gas chromatograph/mass spectrometry instrument can determine everything that is in a sample, and the amount.


There are cases of alcohol showing up in the urine a diabetics, but this is usually when they are in crisis. Once they hit this stage, the death rate is very high.

There are cases of instrumentation being contaminated, causing a false positive. However, that should not occur every time.

If it is contamination from something you are using, those alcohol products usually contain quite a bit of isopropal alcohol, so a GC/MS would pick up both the isopropal and ethyl alcohol, proving it was a contaminant.


But, in any case, you are going to have to have a long talk with your physician. Pain management is based totally on trust, and this is going to have a big impact. You need to get the physician to understand that you do not drink any EtOH, and what can you do to show him this, other than the testing. Or if they will send a sample for the GC/MS testing.


(Of note, in the military, no drug test is considered positive until it has been shown to be positive on three different types of testing, the last one being the GC/MS. And only if it is up to a certain level. The military does not use, "any detectable level" because of the overly high false positives rates when that is used.)

Hope you find out what is going on. If you do, please let us know, so that other members can be helped with that knowledge. Good luck.
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replied October 22nd, 2011
Its funny you mention diabetes as a possible cause. I go to my GP every 6 weeks or so to have my blood taken for liver/ cholesterol/ hormones ( for menopause) because I am concerned about taking meds and my liver. I just want to make sure Im not destroying my insides. So far so good with my liver. I also lost 30 lbs in the last 6 months and lowered my cholesterol. My GP did say my blood sugars were high and borderline diabetic and to cut out sugars.

Thank you so much for your response. I do appreciate it. I just hope my Pain Dr will believe me. We do have a very good relationship, one that I do not want to destroy. He even has told me Im one of his most compliment patients and that Im a breath of fresh air for him. I pray it all works out. Thank you again.
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replied December 1st, 2013
gaelic, no you have me scared my urines have come up positive for alcohol and I don't drink and I am diabetic.. sometimes my sugar runs high but Im learning how to control it better. I go to a suboxone clinic and the doctor insists Im drinking. I dont even take over the counter medicine. I asked her for a blood test but thats not happening. I haave a wonderful cooridinator that helps me thru the program. I was on high level pain meds and needed a way off of them without getting sick. If you have any suggestions please let me know
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replied May 23rd, 2012
To Meek and Humble:
I have been an RN for many years and have a renal tubular defect where I spill glucose in the urine at high levels. My blood glucose is normal. I have gone through many tests where I failed the ethyl alcohol test implying that I consumed alcohol when I do not drink. Finally, I insisted on a breath test and/or blood test when urine tested and no alcohol was detected because I did not drink. MD's and scientists are learning that in diabetics and in some urinary tract infections, the glucose in the urine actually ferments and forms alcohol making you have a false positive for alcohol. If you have a physician that doubts you, have him test you simultaneously with a breath test or blood test and his/her and your fears will be OVER sweet lady. I also pray that you find another physician because if they doubt you, they are in the wrong business. I would give you my phone number if I could, but a lot of research has been out since 2005 about this issue and your doctor may not be reading and researching, in my opinion, for potential false positive causes. For me, I spill regardless of my blood level and the next employer that embarrasses me stating I was drinking will get blown off the map with the law suit I place on them. It's simple science, sugar + yeast/bacteria = fermentation which ='s alcohol. Here are a couple of references:
Thierauf, Annette et al: Urine tested positive for Ethyl Glucuronide and ethyl sulfate after the consumption of yeast and sugar, Forensic Science International, 202, 2010, e45-e47; Helender, Anders et al: Postcollection Synthesis of Ethyl Glucuronide by Bacteria in Urine May Cause False Identification of Alcohol Consumption, Clinical Chemistry, 53, No. 10, 2007, 1855-1857.

I hope this helps and May God Bless You. Signed, an RN who cares and is married to a wonderful physician.
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Users who thank Get807healthy for this post: lynniegirl 

replied November 17th, 2012
I also go to pain management also and my last urine test said i tested for alcohol! i dont get why because i dont drink. i tested positive for hepatitis c in 2006 and have dont treatment for it and remain undectable , but i did go to my pcp the day before and he gave me a high dose steroid shot. i wonder if that is what caused it
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replied November 17th, 2012
I also go to pain management also and my last urine test said i tested for alcohol! i dont get why because i dont drink. i tested positive for hepatitis c in 2006 and have dont treatment for it and remain undectable , but i did go to my pcp the day before and he gave me a high dose steroid shot. i wonder if that is what caused it
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replied April 13th, 2013
never had a drink
can any one help me i got hit by a car while riding a bike i woke up in the hospital with bleeding on my brian i also test positive for alcohol never had a drink in 5 years help
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replied May 21st, 2013
thanks I never drank in my life am a Diabetic had a positive alcohol urine.thank god my clinic believes me. I hate alcohol. but im concerned what if this wld happen again. an Im so scared i take glucophage .my mom died from diabetis an amputation.so was my sugar running high? cld i have died? thanks again for ur posting.
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replied September 4th, 2013
I too go to Pain Management and recently received a positive alcohol in my urine test. I, at the time my urine was tested, also had a urinary tract infection. My blood sugars were running high all week. I know I never drank any alcohol during this period because I was doing a 24 hour urine for my Kidney MD. I also have Stage IV Kidney Disease along with being a type II Diabetic. I do have alcohol very rarely. But I know I wasn't drinking anything prior to being tested. The information above really helped me. I was so embarrased when my UDS came back positive for alcohol. I was unable to get my medication refill until I give them a clean UDS. Now I'm scared to give another test. Two positive UDS's and they will refuse to give me my pain meds anymore. They are protecting my health and themselves. So I'm not upset with the Pain Management policies, but they need to be aware of the possibilities of Diabetic pts have this fale/positive urine test for alcohol.
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replied September 25th, 2013
Oh my gosh! I'm SO glad I found this! I have been scouring the internet looking for this! I have never been an alcohol user, but yesterday my pain management physician told me I tested positive for alcohol. The thing is, I'm not diabetic. At least not that I'm aware of. My doctor is amazing, but I'm scared. I asked him to please do another urine test and he did, but I'm worried that I will get another positive result. I didn't think anything of it when he first asked me if I drink any alcohol, but then he said I tested positive for alcohol, and it was a high amount. As I was driving home I was terrified! I'm on Morphine. My Mom is a pharmacist and I live with her. We were both very confused. Then I started to worry about my health. Other than my back problems, I am in excellent health. I don't even have a family physician (which I know isn't good), but I just never, EVER get sick! I'm 45 and I do get an annual Mammogram, but I don't have to have a doctor to get that. My insurance just covers it. I do have a history of anorexia, but in 1998 I went to a treatment center and I am better. The reason I am saying this is because anorexia, like any disorder, is a life-long battle. I am at a very healthy weight, but when I get really stressed sometimes I stumble a bit. When I had the urinalysis that tested positive, I had just driven from Montana to Texas...and it was one of those times. The only thing I had ingested two days prior to my appointment was Starbucks coffee, root beer, and some yogurt. I am terrible about drinking water and I'm certain I am always dehydrated. But I can't find anything to explain why a combination of coffee, yogurt, and root beer would cause a positive result for alcohol. I don't know where to go from here. I feel like if I just make an appointment with a doctor and tell them that I had a urinalysis that tested positive for alcohol and I have never drank alcohol, they are going to look at me like I'm crazy. I am concerned that I will get another positive result - both for health reasons AND the concern that my pain management doctor will have no choice BUT to dismiss me as a patient. I don't know where to go from here. I'm scared that I am very sick with something and not aware of it that my body would give a positive test on something I have never used. I'm just very confused...and scared. Can anyone tell me what I should do? For the record, my pain management doctor was very kind in the way he handled this with me, but I am very aware of the laws and regulations these doctors have to go by.
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replied November 3rd, 2013
Michelle Marie, hi. What did your PM Dr. Say to you? Are you still being seen by him?
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replied September 7th, 2014
Ketossis, a byproduct of fat burning, happens in people who are diabetic because they can't process glucose and start to burn fat. This condition also happens in anorexics, people who are starving, and people on low carb diets (ketogenic dieting). This process causes ketones and acetone to appear in the urine and can cause fermentation of sugar into alcohol in the body or in the sample as it sits at room temperature.

It is probably your anorexia and lack of calories on the day in question. It caused you to burn fat and made ketones appear in your urine. This happens in diabetics and causes false positives in alcohol screens for them too, quite often.....It can conceivably happen due to anorexia.
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replied February 3rd, 2015
was hoping there would be more up to date info on this subject. I'm having a problem at pain mgt., had one urine test come back positive for alcohol, but I don't drink. I'm diabetic but they say that has no factor in it! Any ideas out there?
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replied October 1st, 2015
I recently looked up my medical records on the pt portal, all was as it should be....except the ethyl alcohol. Positive!! I don't drink! Especially at 9 am! I was livid! I am going to the doctor Monday Oct 5, and will bring this to her attn. I don't know what good it will do since it was in July 2015. My mother has Chronic Bilary Chirrosis which is hereditary, and all the kids should be checked but we haven't been yet. I am reading the comments and feeling a bit better that others have had this issue. Thanks, and will let you know what she says.
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replied August 30th, 2016
Wow. Dealing with the same. I have a new doctor and have o my been going like 6 months. I have over a decade of ua's with no problems -ever-except twice. Luckily at that doctors office they checked the US before they saw you so I was able to request another test and guess what -false positive. Now I'm I. Washington and they don't give the results until the following month. So this time I was told there was a "high" amount of alcohol in the previous month's UA. Needless to say I was shocked. I told her I don't drink and I've never had an off u.a. I felt like saying I'd have to be pretty stupid to drink right before going to my pain management where I k ow I'd be tested but luckily I shut up. The nurse practitioner was a real -well she wasn't very nice and lectured me even as I said I hadn't drunk. She's that wonderful kind you wonder why she's in this business as she looks at everyone like their drug seeking. I hope yesterday's comes out fine. Oh and as an added bonus she said they'll be messing with my dosages because of the new CDC guidelines-thanks CDC for putting you nose in where it doesn't belong.
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replied August 23rd, 2018
That's a strange thing. It may be just because of the quality of the tests you used. I think that before buying one it's vital to read some reviews to get full information.
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