What is Rumination Disorder? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

Rumination disorder is a type of eating disorder, and it also goes by the name of eating syndrome. Today, we’ll discuss what is rumination disorder; its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is Rumination Disorder? 

Rumination disorder is a rare feeding and eating disorder condition in which young kids and infants bring backup and re-chew the undigested or partially digested food that has been swallowed. Often, they swallow it again the re-chewed food, but occasionally they spit it out. The process of regurgitation happens shortly after or during eating the meal, and it suggests that the food is not digested.

The fifth edition of DSM (diagnostic and statistical manual of mental health disorder) has categorized rumination disorder as a feeding and eating disorders condition. RD is a completely different type of eating disorder and it comprises regurgitation of food. Bulimia and anorexia nervosa also comprise regurgitation of food, but it is for the purpose of managing and losing weight.

People with rumination disorder don’t have either bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa. But it’s possible that the people with eating disorders would develop RD. However, when it happens, then it happens regularly for a month.

Rumination Disorder vs. GERD

Sometimes doctors misunderstand RD with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). GERD is a chronic acid reflux disease and it is persistent. However, some of the main signs of GERD are as follows;

  • Nausea
  • Upper abdomen pain
  • Swallowing painfully
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Heartburn
  • Regurgitation

GERD is not a feed and eating disorder and various health conditions would cause the development of GERD.

Symptoms of Rumination Disorder

The symptoms of rumination disorder comprise regurgitation of food frequently without any effort. The episode occurs roundabout 5 to 30 minutes after eating the meal. Some of the main signs of RD are as follows;

  • Sleeping difficulty
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Bloating
  • Discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Pressurized feelings
  • Chapped and raw lips
  • Indigestion and stomach pain
  • Tooth decay
  • Bad breathing
  • Losing weight
  • Re-chewing of food repetitively

Some of the other symptoms of regurgitation are as follows;

  • Heartburn
  • Weight loss
  • Dental damage

The symptoms and experiences of adolescents and children are as follows;

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal issue
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea

The symptoms in infants are as follows;

  • Sucking movement of the mouth
  • Tightening abdominal muscles
  • Holding the head back
  • Arching and straining the back

Causes of Rumination Disorder 

Researchers don’t know the exact and precise cause of rumination disorder. There are various factors play their part in the development of this condition.

  • It’s the technique of kids to get the attention of others
  • Abnormal or neglectful relationship between the mother and the child, or between the primary caregiver and the child; the process of chewing is comforting for some children
  • A high level of stress and physical illness would trigger the behavior
  • Rejection
  • History of eating disorders like bulimia nervosa
  • Limited environmental stimulation

According to a review study in 2019, the psychological and physical factors would trigger the development of rumination disorder in adults, adolescents, and older kids, and they’re as follows;

  • History of eating disorder
  • Psychological stress
  • A respiratory infection
  • Medical procedure
  • Gastroenteritis

Diagnosis of Rumination Disorder 

When it comes to the diagnosis of rumination eating disorder condition, your doctors would analyze the features outlined by DSM-5, and they’re as follows;

  • The person doesn’t vomit after regurgitation
  • Regurgitation is not happening due to the eating disorders or gastrointestinal conditions
  • The person experiences the regurgitation episode repetitively for a month

According to the criteria list of NIH (national institute of health), they’re as follows;

  • The first symptoms come to light roundabout 6 months ago, and its episode has been occurring for 3 months since then
  • An episode of regurgitation happens after eating and not during the sleep
  • The standard treatment plan for GERD isn’t improving the symptoms

Treatment of Rumination Disorder 

Sometimes, RD gets better by itself in young kids. Often, people with this condition need a proper treatment plan. According to a literature review in 2019, diaphragmatic breathing is a very effective treatment method for this condition.

Diaphragmatic breathing comprises learning to involve the diaphragm, abdominal muscles, and stomach while breathing. The technique helps people with RD conditions to improve their symptoms. Your doctor would prescribe other treatment plans along with the breathing method. They’re as follows;

Your doctor would prescribe medicines if therapeutic treatment isn’t delivering results. Baclofen drug is very effective for treating the symptoms of this condition.

Conclusion: What is Rumination Disorder? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

After an in-depth study of what is rumination disorder; its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment; we have realized that rumination could badly affect your health. If you’re experiencing its symptoms, then you should consult with the doctor and work on a treatment plan.