A woman thought she was suffering from a serious bowel disease for six years before doctors discovered a Heinz sauce sachet piercing the wall of her small intestine.
The 41-year-old unnamed patient suffered bouts of acute abdominal pain and bloating lasting up to three days – prompting doctors to diagnose her symptoms as Crohn's disease, the Daily Mail reported.
The long-term, often debilitating condition causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system. There's currently no cure but treatment can help to relieve symptoms.
But when the woman failed to respond to standard medication, baffled doctors at Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, eventually decided surgery was her only option.
But keyhole surgery found an inflamed mass in the small intestine, revealing two pieces of plastic packaging bearing the famous branding – which appeared to come from a sachet of sauce.
Crohn's Disease affects at least 115,000 people in the UK and millions more worldwide. The exact cause is unclear, but it is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental triggers.
The first treatment offered to reduce symptoms is usually steroids. If this doesn't help, medication to suppress the immune system and to reduce inflammation may be used.
But in this case, medication failed to work and the woman was still in agony. Once the packaging was removed the patient's symptoms were cured almost immediately.
She was still symptom-free five months after the surgery was carried out.
The woman had no memory of consuming a meal involving the product found perforating the wall of her gut.
Doctors, writing in the British Medical Journal, said it was the first reported 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.
REVEALED: THE LITTLE-KNOWN SYMPTOM OF AGONISING CROHN'S DISEASE
A gastroenterologist has revealed there is a little-known sign of detecting Crohn's disease that many people may be unaware of.
Swollen lips could highlight the agonising bowel condition, says Dr Rishi Goel, a consultant at Kingston Hospital, London.
The chronic condition behind swollen lips, known as orofacial granulomatosis (OFG), is an inflammatory disorder that often presents on its own.
NHS Choices, the website designed to give the British public information, doesn't list the condition as a sign of Crohn's disease.
Dr Goel, a member of the British Society of Gastroenterology, told MailOnline: "OFG is a chronic inflammatory condition which can flare up intermittently.
"Interestingly, it can overlap with Crohn's disease, which is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gut and carries a 75 per cent lifetime risk for surgery."
More common signs of Crohn's are:
• Recurring diarrhoea
• Abdominal pain and cramping, which is usually worse after eating
• Extreme tiredness
• Unintended weight loss
• Blood and mucus in your faeces
• A high temperature of 38ºC (100ºF)
• Feeling sick
• Being sick
• Joint pain and swelling
• Inflammation and irritation of the eyes
• Areas of painful, red and swollen skin – most often the legs
• Mouth ulcers