TIP of the WEEK: Regurgitation

March 17, 2017

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One of the least talked about behaviors is actually quite common in PWS. Regurgitating food happens fairly often in PWS and because people don’t like to admit that their child does this, it often goes untreated. Let’s be honest, it’s not healthy and definitely not socially acceptable so if you child is doing this- talk about it!
Your child’s doctor will do some preliminary tests to rule out acid reflux or any esophageal issues and after that the treatment is primarily clinical. Remember- in PWS, attention is rewarding (good or bad attention) so don’t acknowledge the behavior to your child when it happens. If it is happening in school the other kids will likely bring attention to this so ask your child’s teacher to work with them around ignoring the behavior.
Exercise after a meal goes against our standard “less preferred activity before more preferred activity” but it is effective. A brisk walk or any low impact exercise for 20-30 minutes after eating will speed up digestion and make it very difficult to regurgitate. Some families have had good results with a low calorie sour candy spray or gum after a meal, others have had little results from this.
It is not a quick fix but keep trying new things and be sure to reach out to others for help. I promise that you are not the only one struggling with this behavior!

 

Patrice Carroll is Latham Centers’ world-renowned Prader-Willi Syndrome specialist. She works with Latham Centers’ residents with PWS, their families and consultants, continuously learning and teaching about PWS best practices.