At first, she thought it was Crohn's disease but it was actually two packets of ketchup left inside her stomach that's causing her trouble.

Six years of agony for a 41-year old woman was ended by a keyhole surgery that removed an inflammatory mass inside her stomach. The extracted mass from the woman's stomach, as discovered by doctors, were pieces of ingested plastic from Heinz ketchup packets.

Crohn's is an intestinal bowel disorder (IBD) that can result in severe diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, weight loss and in some cases, tiredness. It may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from mouth to the anus but in a majority of cases, Crohn's often attacks the intestines.

The signs and symptoms of Crohn's disease can range from mild to severe. When the walls of the gastrointestinal tract are inflamed, the afflicted patient can develop painful ulcers resulting from food passing the intestines.

Although the origin of this disease is still unknown, the UK National Health Service (NHS) says that factors such as genetics, environment and even smoking can cause a person to have Crohn's. Well in this woman's case, it was ketchup packets that virtually caused it.

The Ketchup Caused It

Weird as it is, the patient who complained of years of acute abdominal pain thought she had Crohn's disease after doctors at Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospital in Slough, Edinburgh in the United Kingdom told her their diagnosis.

The case was the first in recorded medical history that ingested plastic packaging mimicked the symptoms of Crohn's disease.

The woman could not recall when she had ingested the plastic ketchup packets. But the foreign objects were long enough inside her stomach to cause perforation and inflammation of her intestinal walls.

The report published by the British Medical Journal indicated that the "the mass was mobilized where it was found to contain two pieces of plastic bearing the word 'Heinz' on them."

Heinz Not Crohn's

When the patient remained unresponsive to standard treatment of Crohn's disease, her doctors suggested she undergo surgery and viola, as soon as the plastic packets were removed from her gut, the patient was cured and relieved of her stomach pain.

The risk of dying from Crohn's disease is low but it is likely to develop life-threatening complications. There is also no known cure for the ailment but treatments and therapies can reduce the symptoms.

People with Crohn's disease can function well if they receive the proper treatment.  

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