A teenager from India is suffering from a mysterious condition where his stomach will not stop growing.
19-year-old Sujit Kumar, from Muzaffarpur, Bihar, began to notice swelling on his stomach when he was just seven years old.
Since then, Sujit’s protrusion has worsened, and doctors have been unable to find a reason why.
Sujit doesn’t experience any other symptoms commonly related to a swollen stomach, such as diarrhoea, vomiting or acid reflux.
Sujit’s worried mother, 34-year-old Kanchan Devi, has taken him to see a variety of doctors throughout his life, but a diagnosis has yet to be given.
Doctors have been able to help Sujit with short-term pain relief medicine, however this hasn’t proved to be effective in the long term.
Going forward, Sujit will require an endoscopy, a procedure whereby doctors will use a thin tube fitted with a camera to take a look inside his body.
Sujit has been advised to head to the capital city of New Delhi in order to seek medical assistance from a specialist; a trip which would involve him travelling 622 miles (1,066km) away from his home in Muzaffarpur.
Unfortunately, Sujit’s family do not have the financial means necessary for him to make the long journey and have expressed concerns about his well-being going forward; saddened by his difficulties fitting in with other young people his own age.
Sadly, Sujit has experienced bullying since childhood due to his swollen stomach. This has made it difficult for him to build friendships and interact with others. He has also struggled to participate in sporting activities.
He has however found happiness in his work as a mechanic at a bike shop, a job where he has found acceptance amongst his colleagues:
I love going to work. I work in a bike factory and have been doing it for a year now. My colleagues don’t judge me and no one in the factory makes fun of me.
As reported by DownToEarth, there are approximately 450 rare diseases recorded in India. However, there is not enough funding for extensive research to be carried out.
According to The Hindu, rare diseases are thought to affect up to 96 million Indian citizens, with patients suffering from a lack of ‘dedicated healthcare policies, schemes and diagnostic facilities’.
The unavailability and expense of treatment and adequate care remains one of the greatest challenges to those suffering from rare diseases in India. There is currently no law to recognise medical disability, meaning people like Sujit are unable to access facilities and benefits they so desperately need.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.