Strategies to Treat Rumination in Individuals With Autism

How to Treat Rumination Syndrome?

Autism is a disorder characterized by severely abnormal development of social interaction and verbal and nonverbal communication skills. Rumination syndrome is mostly seen in individuals with autism and other developmental disorders.

Rumination is the involuntary regurgitation of previously ingested food, re-chewing the food and re-swallowing or expelling it. The regurgitation after eating is mostly effortless and does not involve retching or nausea. The regurgitation after eating may be preceded by belching.


Diagnosis and Symptoms of Rumination Syndrome

A diagnosis of rumination syndrome requires that the regurgitation behavior must persist for at least 1 month. Rumination mostly occurs immediately after meals and may last for 1 to 2 hours. Rumination may occur daily and may persist over a period of time.

Rumination syndrome may cause halitosis (foul odor from the mouth), malnutrition, growth failure, weight loss, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, upper respiratory tract distress, gastric disorders, dental problems such as dental caries, choking, aspiration, and pneumonia.

Indigestion, halitosis, weight loss, and chronic chapped lips are some of the symptoms of rumination. Rumination may be a self-stimulating behavior in autistic patients and hence behavior modification may take time but with patience and a positive mindset, behavior modification is possible.


Energy Healing for rumination syndrome and autism

Energy healing is a natural way of healing. It is an effective way to treat autism and rumination syndrome. It corrects the energy imbalance and helps autistic children to lead a normal life. It brings a positive change in behavior. Energy healing helps in overcoming self-stimulating behaviors such as rumination syndrome. Energy healing can be very much supportive in treating rumination syndrome and autism.


Treatments for Rumination Syndrome

Center for Autism and Related Disorders’ (CARD) Research Study has found chewing gum as an effective treatment for children with autism. The study reveals that rumination syndrome treatment can be effective by using chewing gum as a replacement behavior. This study is published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Behavioral intervention for the treatment of rumination is a useful study published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. Some treatment alternatives for rumination in individuals with autism and developmental disorders are biofeedback with abdominal relaxation, diaphragmatic breathing, relaxing while eating, contingent exercises, reinforcement of incompatible behaviors, guided imagery, complete chewing, stress management, decreasing caffeine and alcohol, sipping water in between, and throat clearing.

Starch satiation is also used to treat rumination where the individual is given unlimited access to starchy foods immediately after meals. This is found to be an effective treatment in several studies. Brief functional analysis and supplemental feeding for post-meal rumination in children with developmental disabilities is also a useful study published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.

A functional assessment is to be made to check whether rumination is self-stimulatory or is socially motivated. Electroshock therapy and contingent pinching are also some of the strategies used for rumination syndrome treatment depending upon the health status of individuals.

Aversive behavioral strategies may be recommended depending upon the health condition of the patient. Psychodynamic strategies include providing noncontingent holding for young and institutionalized individuals and addressing psychological distress, anxiety, and depression. The Effects of Noncontingent Reinforcement is also another useful study.

Psychopharmacological research is very limited and caution is recommended for the use of medication in rumination syndrome treatment. Habit reversal behavioral therapy has been found to be effective in treating most patients with normal intelligence. In patients with acid injury to esophagus, proton pump inhibitors and H2 receptor antagonists may be prescribed to protect the lining of esophagus.

I hope this article provided you some insight about rumination syndrome and ways to deal with it.

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Comments 2 comments

Chelsea 2 years ago

I never knew I had Rumination syndrome. I've had the problem with keeping food down since I was a child. The youngest I remember being is 8yrs old and I would eat lunch after school and go out to play with my friends and I would have to sneak behind a bush to get rid of the food. I do remember swallowing it back if it was solid. Fast forward to me being 25 now growing up thinking that all this time there was something wrong with me and thinking that I wanted this to happen. I never did. I just thought I had acid reflux like my granny who can't eat oily food. So I made sure to always be aware of that. The problem did stop for a while and came back yrs later. I was even over weight during my first 3 yrs of college. I don't know if stress has anything to do with it coming back. I recently moved across the country alone. But I have always been easily one to stress even as child. I'm now a healthy weight but for different moments in my life I thought I was involuntarily bulimic. Happy to know it's not my fault.


gepeTooRs 7 months ago

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