Rumination syndrome is a condition in which someone repeatedly regurgitates undigested or partially digested food from the stomach. The regurgitated food is then chewed again and swallowed or spit out. People with rumination syndrome don't try to regurgitate food. It happens without any effort.

Because the food hasn't yet been digested, it reportedly tastes like regular food and isn't acidic like vomit. Rumination typically happens at every meal, soon after eating.

It's not clear how many people have this condition. Treatment may include behavioral therapy or medicine. Behavioral therapy typically involves teaching people to breathe from the diaphragm.


Symptoms of rumination syndrome include:

  • Effortless regurgitation, typically within minutes of eating.
  • Belly pain or pressure relieved by regurgitation.
  • A feeling of fullness.
  • Nausea.
  • Losing weight without trying.

Rumination syndrome isn't usually associated with retching.

When to see a doctor

Consult a healthcare professional if you or your child often regurgitates food.


The exact cause of rumination syndrome isn't clear. But it appears to be caused by an increase in abdominal pressure.

Rumination syndrome is often confused with bulimia nervosa, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and gastroparesis. Some people have rumination syndrome linked to a rectal evacuation disorder. A rectal evacuation issue involves pelvic floor muscles that don't work together correctly, which leads to ongoing constipation.

The condition has long been known to happen in infants and people with developmental disabilities. It's now clear that the condition isn't related to age, as it can happen in children, teens and adults. Rumination syndrome is more likely to happen in people with anxiety, depression or other psychiatric disorders.


Complications of rumination syndrome may include:

  • Unhealthy weight loss.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Worn teeth.
  • Bad breath.
  • Embarrassment.
  • Social isolation.

Untreated, rumination syndrome can damage the tube between the mouth and stomach, called the esophagus.

Rumination syndrome care at Mayo Clinic

Oct. 20, 2023
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