"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Mental Health: Rumination Disorder

Rumination disorder is an eating and eating disorder wherein an individual – often an infant or young child – regurgitates partially digested food that they’ve already swallowed and chews it again. In most cases, the re-chewed food is then swallowed again; but occasionally the person spits it out.

To be considered a disorder, this behavior must occur in a one that previously ate normally, and it must occur recurrently—often each day—for not less than a month. The child may exhibit this behavior while feeding or immediately after eating.

Symptoms of rumination disorder include:

  • Repeated regurgitation of food
  • Repeated re-chewing of food
  • weight reduction
  • Bad breath and tooth decay
  • Recurrent stomach pains and indigestion
  • Rough and cracked lips

In addition, infants with rumination may make unusual movements which might be typical of the disorder. These include tensing and arching the back, holding back the pinnacle, tensing the abdominal muscles and making sucking movements with the mouth. These movements could also be performed because the infant attempts to retrieve partially digested food.

The exact explanation for ruminant disorder just isn’t known; However, there are several aspects that may contribute to its development:

  • Physical illnesses or severe stress can trigger the behavior.
  • Neglect or an abnormal relationship between the kid and the mother or other primary caregiver may cause the kid to hunt masturbation. For some children, chewing is calming.
  • It generally is a way for the kid to get attention.

Because most kids outgrow rumination disorder and older children and adults with the disorder are inclined to keep quiet about it out of embarrassment, it’s difficult to know exactly what number of persons are affected. However, it is mostly considered unusual.

Rumination disorder occurs most frequently in infants and really young children (between 3 and 12 months) and in children with mental disabilities. It rarely occurs in older children, adolescents and adults. It could also be barely more common in boys than girls, but there are few studies on this disorder to verify this.

If rumination symptoms are present, the doctor will begin the assessment by conducting a whole medical history and physical examination. The doctor may perform certain tests, similar to imaging tests and blood tests, to search for and rule out possible physical causes of the vomiting, similar to a gastrointestinal disorder. Tests also allow the doctor to evaluate how the behavior has affected the body by on the lookout for signs of problems similar to dehydration and malnutrition. However, diagnosis is made primarily through clinical description of signs and symptoms, and invasive or costly tests (similar to examination of the stomach using endoscopy) are generally not mandatory or helpful in making an accurate diagnosis.

To help diagnose rumination disorder, an examination of the kid's eating habits could also be performed. It is usually mandatory for the doctor to watch an infant during and after feeding.

Treating a rumination disorder is primarily about changing the kid's behavior. Various approaches may be used including:

  • Change within the child's posture during and immediately after eating
  • Promote greater interaction between mother and child during feeding; pay more attention to the kid
  • Reduces distractions while feeding
  • This makes feeding a more relaxed and nice experience
  • Distract the kid when she or he starts ruminating
  • Aversive conditioning, wherein something acidic or bad is placed on the kid's tongue when she or he begins to expel food

There are not any FDA-approved medications to treat ruminant disorders, However, medications may be used to treat associated symptoms

There are not any medications to treat ruminant disorder.

The many possible complications related to untreated ruminant disorder include:

  • malnutrition
  • Reduced resistance to infections and diseases
  • Inability to grow and thrive
  • weight reduction
  • Stomach diseases similar to ulcers
  • Dehydration
  • Bad breath and tooth decay
  • Aspiration pneumonia and other respiratory problems (from vomit being inhaled into the lungs)
  • Choking
  • Death

In most cases, infants and toddlers with rumination disorder overcome the behavior and return to eating normally. In older children, this disorder can last for months.

There is not any known strategy to prevent ruminant disorder. However, careful attention to a toddler's eating habits can assist detect the disorder before serious complications can arise.