A 25-year-old Indian woman who is unable to eat solid food has survived on a liquid diet since she was born.
Manju Dharra, from Sonipat, near New Delhi, drinks four to five litres of milk a day as well as consuming tea, buttermilk and water.
She has a condition called achalasia, which means she vomits suddenly if she tries to eat anything solid.
Her mother, Bhagwati Dharra, said: ‘She takes only fluids like milk, tea, water and sometimes juice.
‘Mostly she takes milk, tea, buttermilk, water. If she eats solid food, she faces the problem of vomiting suddenly.’
Manju added: ‘If I eat something then I throw up and I feel very, very bad. Now I feel fear when I look at solid food.’
Ms Dharra, who is above average height for an Indian woman, manages to carry out her household chores and appears healthy but she suffers from stomach pains.
Ms Dharra’s mother did not become concerned about her until she was two years old.
At this point, she tried to introduce her to rice and bread but she just cried and was sick.
At first, her mother believed she was just a fussy eater or that she was being naughty but as time went on she came to realise she was ill.
The family took her to various doctors are tried numerous treatments but nothing helped.
They are unable to afford to send her to a specialist or to consider surgery and have invested in a cow to provide her with the milk she needs.
Ms Dharra’s father, Ramkanwar Dharra, a bricklayer, said: ‘Our economic situation is not such that we could continue her studies.
‘Manju is one of seven children – she has two brothers and five sisters and the rest of the family is healthy and none of them suffer from the same condition.’
Dr Adarsh Sharma, a paediatrician in Jaipur, explained that the condition could be cured by an operation and says that the family need to consult a specialist.
Achalasia occurs when the gullet loses its ability to move food along and the valve at the end of the gullet fails to open to allow food to pass into the stomach.
This causes the food to become stuck in the gullet meaning it is often brought back up.
A ring of muscle called the cardiac sphincter keeps the opening from the gullet to the stomach shut tight to prevent acid reflux.
Normally, this muscle relaxes when you swallow to allow the food to pass into your stomach.
In achalasia, this muscle does not relax properly and the end of the gullet becomes blocked with food.
Surgery is often required to address the problem.
WHAT IS ACHALASIA AND HOW IS IT TREATED?
Achalasia means the gullet has lost its ability to move food along and the valve at the end of the gullet fails to open to allow food into the stomach.
As a result, the food becomes stuck in the gullet and is often brought back up.
A ring of muscle called the cardiac sphincter keeps the opening to the stomach shut to prevent acid reflux.
Normally, this muscle relaxes when a person swallows to allow the food to pass into their stomach. In achalasia, this muscle does not relax properly and the end of the gullet becomes blocked with food.
Achalasia is an uncommon condition that affects about 6,000 people in Britain.
It can start at any time of life and usually comes on gradually.
It is caused by damage to the nerves in the gullet wall.
The cause is unknown but it could be linked to a viral infection.
Treatment options include using medication to relax the valve at the entrance to the stomach, using Botox injections to relax the muscle fibres, or surgery to cut the muscle fibres that fail to relax and allow swallowing.