As Jenelle Evans, 27, has been the subject of reality television, among other headlines, she’s been suffering behind the scenes with a major health issue. In an exclusive interview with HollywoodLife, the mother-of-three reveals for the very first time about her battle with esophagus issues, which led to her seeking the help of a top doctor at Duke University. Years ago, Jenelle says she started to notice that something wasn’t right with her body after she experienced difficulty swallowing any food or liquids, especially when flying for work. (Editor’s note: While Jenelle has been open with fans about her health issues, this is the first time she’s speaking candidly her health in a formal interview)
“With my health, I’ve been dealing with esophageal spasms for years. Every time I would fly in a plane, even today, spasms happen in my chest,” she explains. “Food or liquid will not pass through. Then, I throw up an hour into the flight and keep going until I land, which is a four hour flight, usually from North Carolina to Los Angeles.” Jenelle and her husband, David Eason, 30, along with their kids — daughter Ensley, 2, Jenelle’s son, Jace, 9, and David’s daughter Maryssa — reside on their farm in North Carolina. Jenelle often make trips to Los Angeles for work commitments.
The Teen Mom alum went on to explain how she’d been to numerous doctors who’ve conducted medical tests, but could not diagnose the spasms she’s experienced. “I’ve had two endoscopies, two esophagus dilations,” she said, adding that most recently, her doctor at Duke University advised she undergo a barium swallow test. — A test that consists of drinking a barium solution that coats the esophagus, allowing it to show up better on X-rays, according to Mayo Clinic.
“My results came back from the barium swallow, and I have poor esophagus motility,” Jenelle reveals. Esophagus motility is when the muscular tube that connects the esophagus and the stomach does not work properly, causing it to improperly deliver food and liquids. Esophagus motility is also commonly linked to chest pain, acid reflux and heartburn.
Jenelle confirms that although she will not have surgery to treat the condition, she will be undergoing more tests, which will hopefully lead to the proper treatment. “The next step is an esophagus manometry test that lasts for 24 hours,” she says, explaining that “a catheter is put up the nose and down the throat to test wave lengths and acid/PH levels in the esophagus, which will all be recorded onto a small device.” For now, Jenelle says she’s been treating the condition with anti-acid and anxiety medicine. Her husband has also been a pillar of strength for her when she’s at her weakest. “David has been supportive of me and understands how severe this problem gets,” Jenelle says, noting that “MTV has also witnessed it first hand a few times,” during filming for Teen Mom.
While Jenelle’s condition is certainly serious, luckily her children don’t have to worry about it being hereditary. “It’s not hereditary, but it’s known to be caused from an underlying issue as in acid reflux or certain other disorders. We think it might be because of acid reflux, but we’re not too sure,” she explains. “But finally, we’re now starting to get answers.”
Jenelle’s health is taking a turn for the better as is her marriage. The makeup entrepreneur shared that she and David are “stronger than ever” in a new post on Instagram, July 23. The relationship update came as the couple was subject to split rumors after David admitted to killing the family’s French Bulldog, Nugget in a post on social media back in April.
The death of the animal seemed to fuel a slew of unfortunate events that would eventually follow. First, Jenelle was let go from Teen Mom 2, for what her rep told HollywoodLife was only for the current season, and not indefinitely, adding that the time away allowed her to focus on her family. Then, Jenelle and David lost temporary custody of their kids, Ensley, Kaiser, Jace and Maryssa. After multiple court appearances, they regained custody of all four children on July 3.