medical mysteries

Woman’s Gastrointestinal Disease Turned Out to Be Ketchup Packets

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Here’s a good news/bad news situation: a 41-year-old U.K. woman recently discovered she did not have the gastrointestinal disease Crohn’s (yay!) but that she did have bits of Heinz ketchup packs perforating her small intestine (yikes!).

According to a case report in the British Medical Journal titled, amazingly, “Crohn’z meanz Heinz,” doctors believed the woman to be suffering from Crohn’s disease for six years, but when she failed to respond to regular treatment, they decided to surgically intervene. During the keyhole surgery, doctor’s discovered an inflamed mass on the woman’s small intestine, inside of which they found two pieces of plastic with the Heinz logo, believed to be from small ketchup packets. They removed the plastic, and five months after the procedure, the woman was symptom-free.

The report’s authors say it is the first instance of ingested plastic mimicking the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, such as acute abdominal pain and bloating.

Someone tell the president to be careful with his McDonald’s order.

Woman’s Gastrointestinal Disease Was Really Ketchup Packets