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Nicola Nichols photos, hasn't eaten food in 7 years

Published by Lori Young, Tuesday,March,10 ,2015

Nicola Nichols photos, hasn't eaten food in 7 years

Nicola Nichols, 25, has to be fed through a tube directly into her bloodstream (left) as she was diagnosed has a rare condition meaning her stomach muscles are paralysed in 2008 (right).

Nicola Nichols, 25, from Bolton, was struck down by a 'mild case of man flu' in 2008.she has not eaten a meal for seven years due to a rare condition which left her stomach paralysed.

She has not been able to keep any food or drink down since and vomited up to 50 times every day.

Initially doctors believed she had an eating disorder, before finally diagnosing her with gastroparesis.
Nicola Nichols photos, hasn't eaten food in 7 years
This is a condition in which the stomach muscles are paralysed, meaning food is not emptied properly.

She is kept alive by a food and glucose bags that feeds directly into her blood stream, and a glucose bag that provides her with energy.
Nicola Nichols photos, hasn't eaten food in 7 years
She unable to eat anything at her wedding to IT worker Ben, 27, and has been told she will never eat again.

Mrs Nichols said: 'I can't really stress just how mild this flu was - I called it man flu.

'My mum had flu at the same time but mine was only slightly different.
Nicola Nichols photos, hasn't eaten food in 7 years
'But once I started vomiting, it is crippling pain and I haven't really stopped vomiting since.

'We always say that you take eating and drinking for granted until you can't do it.

'I still cook the kid's teas and it smells and looks great but if I even had a bite then I'd be in crippling pain.'

The mother-of-two 'miracle' children was forced to jack in her new admin job after just three months to battle the debilitating illness.

Her weight plummeted from nine stone to just seven and her attempts to regain weight by eating food caused her to regurgitate anything she consumed.

The condition meant at her wedding she could only look on as guests lapped up a feast of duck, beef and a rich chocolate cake for dessert.

Mrs Nichols said: 'Imagine being sat at the top table at your wedding watching everyone tuck in to the wedding cake that you made and you can't have any.
Nicola Nichols photos, hasn't eaten food in 7 years
'It was the same with the wedding breakfast and I just had to hold the glass of champagne for the toast, I couldn't even have a sip.

'Of course, it was a magical day but it was so difficult.'

Mrs Nichols' problems began when she was 18. Her stomach stopped working after a bout of flu two years earlier, leaving her unable to keep any food or liquid down.

She would vomit up to 50 times a day, but doctors suspected she had an eating disorder.

WHAT IS GASTROPARESIS?

Gastroparesis is a chronic condition in which the stomach is unable to empty in the normal way.

Symptoms including feeling sick and vomiting when eating, bloating, loss of appetite and weight loss.

The problem is thought to be caused by a problem with the nerves or muscles controlling the emptying of the stomach.

In many cases, the cause of this nerve damage is unknown but it can also be caused by poorly controlled diabetes.

Other possible causes include Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and some medications.

The condition cannot be cured but it can usually be controlled.

Some people are able to manage the condition by changing their diet, for example by eating six small meals a day or by sticking to soft, easily digestible foods.

In some cases, symptoms can be improved with medication but other people require injections of Botox into the valve between their stomach and small intestine.

If all of these options fail, a patient can have a new procedure which involves fitting a pacemaker device to encourage the stomach to process food.

If none of these options succeed in making the stomach process food, the patient will have to be fed through a tube.
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