Rumination Disorder

Rumination is an eating disorder characterised by regurgitation of food after eating.

Regurgitation may be voluntary.

  • Some individuals with rumination disorder are aware that the behaviour is socially unacceptable and try to disguise or hide it.
  • If individuals limit how much they eat (to prevent others from seeing them regurgitate), they may lose weight or develop nutritional deficiencies.
  • Medical professionals diagnose rumination disorder in people who report repeatedly regurgitating food for a month or longer.
  • Behavioural modification techniques may help.

Individuals with this disorder repeatedly regurgitate food after eating, typically every day.

They have no nausea and do not retch involuntarily.

Individuals may rechew the regurgitated food and then spit it out or swallow it again.

Rumination disorder may occur in infants, children, adolescents, or adults.

Unlike vomiting, which is forceful and typically caused by a disorder, regurgitation is not forceful and may be voluntary. However, individuals may report that they cannot stop themselves from doing it.

Some individuals are aware that the behaviour is socially unacceptable and try to disguise it by putting their hand over their mouth or coughing.

Some avoid eating with other individuals and do not eat before a social activity or work so that they do not regurgitate in public.

Some individuals limit how much they eat. Individuals who spit out the regurgitated material or who greatly limit how much they eat may lose weight or develop nutritional deficiencies.

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