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Rumination Disorder

What is Rumination Disorder?

Rumination Disorder is considered to be one of the many eating disorders that have been and can be diagnosed. An individual with Rumination Disorder is repeatedly and unintentionally, spiting up undigested (or partially digest) food from the stomach. Individuals tend to either rechew the food, swallow it again, or simply spit it out however, it is easy for them to do so because the food hasn’t been digested. Therefore, individuals tend to report that the food still tastes normal and not acidic like vomit. Furthermore, such actions occur every day and typically at every meal within 30 minutes of consuming the food.

What are the symptoms of Rumination Disorder?


  • A repeated behavior of rechewing the food for at least 1 month
  • Behavior is not due to other associated gastrointestinal or medical conditions
  • Behavior does not occur exclusively in the course of anorexia nervosa, bulimia, or another type of eating disorder


  • Weight loss
  • Bad breath & tooth decay
  • Raw & chapped lips
  • Children constantly have indigestion or stomach aches
  • Constantly rechewing their rood
  • Constantly regurgitation of the food
  • Straining and arching the back
  • Tightening of the abdominal muscles
  • May hold their head back

IMPORANT NOTE: The symptoms for both adults and children can be very similar however, it is believed that adults are more likely to spit out their food wile children will more likely rechew it and swallow it again.

What causes Rumination Disorder?

Although the exact cause is not known, researchers believe that the following may be linked to its development:

  • Physical illness of severe stress
  • A way of getting attention
  • In children, the neglect or relationship between themselves and their primary caregiver

What are some risk factors that may trigger the development of Rumination Disorder?

Although it can affect anybody, individuals who experience the following may be at a higher risk:

  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Having an acute or mental illness
  • If individual experiences a psychiatric disturbance
  • If an individual is undergoing a major surgery
  • Undergoing a stressful experience

How is Rumination Disorder treated?

  • Breathing exercises
  • Habit reversal
    • Individuals learn how to recognize the signs of when such behaviors will happen and then learn diaphragmatic breathing techniques to prevent them
  • Attempting to reduce the amount of stress and distractions during a meal
  • Psychotherapy

What can I do for myself to help cope with Rumination Disorder?

  • Educate yourself on the subject
  • Seek professional help
  • Educate your loved ones