Teen Unable To Digest Food For 6 Years Gets Free Treatment For Rumination - What Is It?

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald April 22, 04:00 am
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Junior doctors' strike explained
A 17-year-old gets help for rumination, a condition that makes her unable to digest her food well following a trauma. PICTURED: Jessica Schneider (L), a seventh grade student at the Hill Public School, eats a grape fruit at her desk during a snack break January 25, 2005 near Bayard, Nebraska.
(Photo : Larry W. Smith/Getty Images)

A teenager unable to properly digest food for the last six years receives an offer for a free treatment. Mya, 17, might finally overcome her condition that doctors describe as rumination.

Mya developed rumination following a bout with the typical flu in the sixth grade. The flu came and went but Mya never got over her digestive problems, her mom Emily told "The Doctors" when the show featured Mya's story.

Mya saw different specialists and got tested for gastrointestinal diseases. No one could tell and help with her condition.

Emily thought the family would lose Mya because she couldn't eat right and thus, don't have energy or nutrition. She fed through a tube and stopped going to school. Her life was no longer normal.

Some thought Mya was faking her disease for attention. Later on, specialists were able to pinpoint what was wrong. Mya suffered from rumination and "The Doctors" panel said more and more kids Mya's age develop the condition because of daily stressors.

Rumination, which is characterized by uncontrollable vomiting after taking food, is a psychological condition. The American Psychological Association (APA) cites people with a history of trauma or face chronic stress and depression could likely develop the disorder.

People with bulimia have rumination. Doctors on the show, however, confirmed Mya was not bulimic nor anorexic.

"My body and my brain pretty much learned whenever food hits my stomach, it needs to get rid of it," the 17-year-old explained. "I don't want to be throwing up. I just want to get better!"

One way of treating rumination is through meditation to deal with the stress and anxiety. "The Doctors" hosts also introduced Mya to psychotherapist Dr. Mike Dow.

Dow believed Mya's flu caused her body and brain function to develop an adverse response to eating. "Your body has learned the response, and it never went away. It got reinforced and reinforced," he said.

Remuda Ranch, which specializes in treating eating disorders, offered Mya free in-patient treatment. She's expected to join a program for people suffering from rumination.

The 17-year-old is looking forward to it so can get her life back to normal. Watch Mya and Dow discuss rumination in "The Doctors" below.

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