Teenager forced to be fed through tube as body believes food is poison

A teenager has a rare condition that makes her feel like she is vomiting and choking every time she eats.

Aimee-lea Smith, 16, was in such bad shape three years ago she had to be fed through a tube to ease her pain.

She said: ‘Tube feeding was mentally hard, it just destroyed me, I lost my confidence, it was horrible for me and my family.

‘I hated going to school. I had to get fed by friends in an office – it was horrible. That was during a top flare, [it’s] never been at that point again – I was only 13.’

Aimee-lea, from Knowsley, Merseyside, suffers from Eosinophilic esophagitis, which causes cells in her oesophagus to react as if food is toxic when she eats.

She no longer uses the eating tube but she still finds each day a struggle.

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Aimee-lea added: ‘My symptoms are (acid) reflux on a daily basis. Every day I wake up and struggle through reflux. It really hurts.

‘I have difficulty swallowing, so most meals are hard for me to swallow – food always gets stuck.

‘That leads to chest pain, indigestion and heart burn. It’s really bad when lying down. The reflux starts inside your throat.’

Aimee-lea’s condition is incurable and she also suffers joint ache as a result of constantly trying to keep food down.

She added: ‘It’s been hard in the past. People order things and are eating things they want and I have to get a salad.

‘People ask “why are you eating that?”, “why are you doing that?” Some people don’t understand and that makes it hard.’

Her parents said they always knew there was a problem since she was young but her condition was only diagnosed when she was ten.

Aimee-lea added: ‘I’d had allergies since I was born and I started having checks, biopsies and endoscopies.

‘The condition is so rare, some doctors don’t know about it. It was really hard to get diagnosed.’

Aimee-lea has not let her condition hold her back and she is the reigning Miss Teen Knowsley after deciding to take part in beauty pageants.

She wants to use her platform to raise awareness of her illness and help others who are going through the same.

Aimee-lea will be competing in Miss Teen British Isles on May 26 at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Chester.

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