Treatment depends on the presence of other disorders, and the person's age and cognitive ability. At Mayo Clinic, digestive disease specialists (gastroenterologists) work closely with pediatricians and psychologists to treat people with rumination syndrome.
Mayo Clinic specialists typically use habit reversal behavior therapy to treat people without developmental disabilities who have rumination syndrome. People learn to recognize when rumination occurs, and to breathe in and out with the abdominal muscles (diaphragmatic breathing) during those times. Diaphragmatic breathing prevents abdominal contractions and thus regurgitation.
For people who have developmental disabilities, treatment may involve mild aversive training — associating rumination with negative consequences — or other behavioral techniques. For people with rumination syndrome who also have bulimia nervosa, treatment focuses on the eating disorder.
For infants, treatment usually focuses on working with parents or caregivers to change the infant's environment and behavior.
If frequent rumination is damaging the esophagus, proton pump inhibitors may be prescribed. These medications can protect the lining of the esophagus until behavior therapy reduces the frequency and severity of regurgitation.
Nov. 20, 2012