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UK Woman Discovers Heinz Ketchup Packet Is Cause of Serious Bowel Disease

They say you are what you eat, but this case of the plastic packaging from a Heinz ketchup packet lodging in her intestine wall and leading to more than five years of pain for patient is a first in medical history.

A middle aged woman in the UK believed she had been suffering from a serious bowel disease for six years until medical professionals recently told her they had found that the problem was actually some Heinz ketchup packaging piercing the wall of her intestine.

However, according to numerous UK media reports and a medical journal, the 41-year-old female patient suffered frequent attacks of acute abdominal pain and bloating up to three days in duration, and that doctors had come up with a diagnosis of Crohn's disease for her condition.

After years of painful abdominal attacks, the physicians at Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, eventually decided that exploratory surgery was required given that the patient failed to respond to all of the range of standard treatments, based on a description of the case in the British Medical Journal.

It turned out that when the doctors opened up the patient with an exploratory keyhole surgery procedure, they discovered a large inflamed mass in the small intestine. After further investigation they eventually found two pieces of Heinz ketchup plastic packaging had perforated the patient’s intestinal lining and were leading to a serious infection.

The case study went on to note that after the offending ketchup packaging was removed, the serious symptoms of the patient resolved spontaneously on their own almost immediately.

Moreover, the good news is that the patient was still pain- and symptom-free more than five months following the procedure.

Of note, the patient could not recall eating a meal involving the Heinz ketchup packages that were found to be perforating the wall of her gut.

In the medical report in the British Medical Journal, the surgeons pointed out that this was the first known case of ingested plastic packaging mimicking the symptoms of serious Crohn's disease.

"It is important to consider alternative surgical diagnoses in patients with presumed Crohn's disease unresponsive to standard treatment," the conclusion to the case study noted.

Note that Crohn’s disease is a chronic progressive inflammatory disease of the bowel that makes defecating painful and difficult, and can even be fatal in very serious cases. It often begins as ongoing diarrhea and progresses to become a more serious condition.
Source: Independent
Photo: NY Post, IFL Science

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