A woman thought she was suffering from a serious bowel disease for six years before doctors discovered some Heinz packaging piercing the wall of her intestine.
The 41-year-old patient suffered bouts of acute abdominal pain and bloating lasting up to three days, prompting doctors to diagnose her symptoms as Crohn’s disease.
Doctors at Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, eventually decided surgery was the only option when the patient failed to respond to standard treatment, a case study in the British Medical Journal said.
But keyhole surgery found an inflamed mass in the small intestine, revealing two pieces of plastic packaging bearing the famous Heinz branding.
The plastic appeared to come from a sachet of sauce.
Once the packaging was removed the patient’s symptoms were cured almost immediately, and she was still symptom-free five months after surgery.
She had no memory of consuming a meal involving the product found perforating the wall of her gut.
Doctors said it was the first case of ingested plastic packaging mimicking the symptoms of Crohn’s disease.
“It is important to consider alternative surgical diagnoses in patients with presumed Crohn’s disease unresponsive to standard treatment,” the report said.