She then spent 50 hours chasing down leads, gathering thousands of pages of records from several hospitals and scouring medical databases. Early on, Gould typed postprandial abdominal pain (pain after eating) into a medical search engine. One of the hits was a condition called MALS median arcuate ligament syndrome. First described a century ago, MALS occurs when a band of connective tissue called the median arcuate ligament, which extends from the base of the diaphragm and crosses over the aorta, compresses the celiac artery, which supplies blood to the stomach and other organs. While such compression is common between 10 and 20percent of the population has this anatomical variation only 1percent develop severe abdominal pain. A leading theory is that compression restricts normal blood flow to the digestive organs. Rapid weight loss or illness appears to be a trigger; MALS overwhelmingly affects females, sometimes young children. their explanationIt is a diagnosis of exclusion based on symptoms and imaging, made after other disorders, including anorexia, have been ruled out. Visit WebsiteSurgery to relieve the compression alleviates pain in 70 percent of cases, experts say, but there is no definitive way to tell who will benefit. Some doctors remain skeptical of the diagnosis. Gould had never heard of MALS, but was struck by the similarities to Hilds symptoms.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/pain-kept-this-young-woman-from-eating-for-5-years-and-doctors-didnt-know-why/2016/09/26/399211a6-6df9-11e6-9705-23e51a2f424d_story.html
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