Mother hasn’t eaten food in seven YEARS and never will again because her stomach muscles are paralysed

A mother has not eaten a meal for seven years due to a rare condition which left her stomach paralysed.

Nicola Nichols, 25, from Bolton, was struck down by a ‘mild case of man flu’ in 2008.

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.

This is a condition in which the stomach muscles are paralysed, meaning food is not emptied properly.

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)

Mrs Nichols has not eaten food for seven years and gave birth to children William, three, and Felicity, 11 months despite not being able to eat during her pregnancy

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.

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.

‘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.

‘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.

Finally, in 2008 Mrs Nichols was diagnosed with gastroparesis, a condition in which there is a problem with nerves or stomach muscles, meaning it does not empty itself of food properly.

It is caused by damage to the vagus nerve, which regulates the digestive system.

When this nerve is damaged, the muscles in the stomach and intestines stop working, preventing food from moving through the digestive system properly.

It is usually cause by diabetes, Parkinson’s or as a complication of surgery, but sometimes there is no clear cause and sufferers report they  after coming down with flu, a virus, food poisoning or after taking antibiotics.

Mrs Nichols was fitted with a gastro pacemaker, a metal device fitted in the abdomen to transmit electrical signals to the stomach muscles to get them working again.

But the emergency measure failed and she suffered intestinal failure, where her bowel could not digest the foods and absorb the fluids necessary for her to live.

She has to be fed directly into her bloodstream with total parenteral nutrition (TPN) – a specially made three-litre bag and pump that gives her nutrients for 12 hours every night.

She has a food bag two days a week and a glucose bag five days a week, which both have to be stored between two and eight degrees.