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Compulsive sponge eating - Pica (Page 1)

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For as long as I can remember I have suffered strong Pica cravings for substances such as sponge, cushion stuffing and (to a considerably lesser degree) small scraps of fabric. Recently these cravings have sharply increased in both strength and frequency, I am not pregnant and can find no other explanation for these cravings- even after quite extensive research.
To my knowledge I have never suffered from anaemia, however I do have a relatively low blood pressure (resulting in dizziness, lightheadedness etc.) although I do not know whether this is connected.
I am sixteen and have thus far suffered no adverse effects from prolonged consumption of the aforementioned non-food substances other than an irregular and extremely heavy menstrual cycle (which is easily attributable to my age)and also occasional stomach pains (particularly when large quantities of sponge/cushion stuffing have been consumed.)
This behaviour is obviously abnormal, however I cannot yet ascertain to what degree it is so, and whether it presents any immediate danger to my physical well-being. injestion of organic non-food substances is, I know, a considerably more common disorder, and also entails more obvious health dangers. However I have only ever suffered Pica cravings for the aforementioned man-made non-food substances and when consumed they are always clean and free of any dirt/organic matter.
My question is: To what degree could this consumption potentially damage my physical health? And to what can the commencement of this obvious disorder be attributed?
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Users who thank vintagecardigan for this post: megancasting 

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replied August 6th, 2009
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The main problem with your type of pica is the possibility of a blockage in your stomach or intestines. The stomach cannot break down those foreign materials as well as it breaks down food items.
There is no way to know what has caused the onset of this. My only suggestion is that you mention this to your doctor and have him or her give you a thorough once over and do blood work to find out if you are deficient in any vitamins or minerals or if there is an underlying medical condition.
Also, you have no idea what chemicals or other things are in the cushion or on the fabrics that you eat. They could be toxic. All toxins do not cause immediate problems. Sometimes, they can build up in the body for a long time before they cause any danger. By then it is much harder to treat and reverse the damage.
Please get some help for your disorder as soon as possible.
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replied August 28th, 2009
Sponge Eating
I'm so glad to read that someone has the same problem as me, I have been eating sponge on and off for years. I don't know what the obsession is about it, I just like the taste..I feel it would be very embarrassing to try and talk to a doctor about this, but it seems this or weaning myself off it are the only options. I would love to just find out why?
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replied October 27th, 2009
Eating sponge confession
I am also so glad to hear that someone else eats sponge! Whew! I thought I was some kind of freak!!! It started when I was pregnant. I would crave carpet. I thought it would feel good against my tongue (i know that is weird) but since carpet is undigestable (even more than sponge) i started licking the scrubber side of a sponge to ease the craving. Then I chewed the scrubber then, the sponge because I needed the fulfilling of actual consumption. I noticed if I take my vitamins regularly, I can actually control my cravings but if I'm off vitamins for a few days, I'm on a mad hunt for the next piece of sponge I can find. I hope we don't hurt ourselves.
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Users who thank dointhemost for this post: vintagecardigan  r_mona 

replied December 11th, 2011
-I Don't Eat Sponge I Just Find Myself Licking It Cause It Feels Good On My Tongue & Now I'm Like Craving For It
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replied November 6th, 2009
I always felt ashamed of eating sponge, i thought i was the only one. I cant remember when i started, all i know is that i was always wating it throughout my high school years. It got to the point where my mom threw out all sponge in my pillows(what was left of it anyway). I dont know if my sponge eating habbit caused this but i had to have Laparoscopic gallbladder surgery for gallstones. I was getting really sharp pains in my stomach and upper back. The pain was sooo intense that i passed out and was taken to the emergency room. I had my surgery that same day. Im not gna lie and say that i dont eat sponge any more, because theres times when i still crave it. My mouth becomes filled with saliva, and i can almost feel the sensation of the sponge in my throat. Thank god i have no sponge material here at home, it helps a lot to get self control. I advise anyone reading this that we can over come this, we need to be strong, and not be ashamed. You already took the first step by getting more information. Good luck to you all!
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replied November 26th, 2009
sponge eater too
I have also been a sponge eater for years, at least 20..i love the smell, the feeling on my tongue and swallowing it..i have tried to stop this dispicable habit but i cant seem to control myself- even going food shopping can be a nightmare, i buy washing up sponges to feed my habit...if anyone has succeeded in giving it up pls let us know what worked for you..i cant imagine what damage it has caused to my body already. I did tell my doctor about it, but he didnt take it seriously and just sent me away with anti-depressants...i am not depressed, i am a very happy person
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Users who thank Plumi for this post: vintagecardigan 

replied December 12th, 2009
The best thing that you can do is go and speak to your doctor. Don't worry about them knowing about it. They will recommend whatever it is you need, because you do need something. It could be that you are laking in some kind of chemical in your make-up and the sponge is giving it to you,. Or maybe you need to see a psychiatrist. Who knows until you see a doctor you won't get any help.
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replied December 17th, 2009
It's great to know that I'm not on my own! I can totally identify with the problem of shopping, everytime I see them I find myself making excuses for why I have to buy them. I've tried to stop, but I just end up giving in or craving cotton wool instead, so no luck there.
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replied December 11th, 2011
it seems the cotton wool would be a much healthier alternative(check what it's made out of) you might be able to find less toxic or more digestable alternatives that are just as satisfyng, also, why do you want to stop? is the compulsion making you unhappy somehow, do you want to have normal diet or is it a health concern?
good luck.
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replied January 3rd, 2010
I'm pregnant - 9 months and have been chewing and craving sponges like crazy, can't get enough - never dared to swallow though..don't really get the urge to do that just like to chew on new sponges, with water in them. I think it's Pica which is common in pregnancy and I must admit I've not been taking my iron tablets late in the pregnancy s they're huge and make me feel sick - this could a trigger maybe. Also I was ready about a more common phenomenon about people addicted to chewing ice and apparently sexual frustration goes hand in hand with this type of addiction. Well this would definitely make sense for me, as I'm separated from my husband right now (we're in different countries), plus I'm staying at my mom's and have no vibrator to hand sorry if TMI!! Anybody else with this addiction perhaps sexually frustrated?
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replied January 6th, 2010
Metoo!!! Not sure if its PICA
I am so glad there are other people out there! I started when my mum bought me a whale-shaped sponge for the bath when i was about 8. I have had a craving for it ever since! I have resulted to ironing board cover linings, bra insoles, foam fingers. It has been easier to get a hold of sponge now i am older and more independent (i'm 17)i don't want to think of how many bath sponges and car sponges i have bought just to eat! One time i bought 5 in one go! I have only been ill once, when i ate a kitchen sponge and i ended up with serious bellyache and had to throw up whatever i had just eaten! I would like some help but this has made me understand that i am not alone. I too crave the smell, tast and texture on my tongue and when i start i cannot get enough! I hope it isnt hurting me!
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replied January 6th, 2010
PICA-sponge eating
I am so glad there are other people out there! I started when my mum bought me a whale-shaped sponge for the bath when i was about 8. I have had a craving for it ever since! I have resulted to ironing board cover linings, bra insoles, foam fingers. It has been easier to get a hold of sponge now i am older and more independent (i'm 17)i don't want to think of how many bath sponges and car sponges i have bought just to eat! One time i bought 5 in one go! I have only been ill once, when i ate a kitchen sponge and i ended up with serious bellyache and had to throw up whatever i had just eaten! I would like some help but this has made me understand that i am not alone. I too crave the smell, tast and texture on my tongue and when i start i cannot get enough! I hope it isnt hurting me!
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Users who thank AR_rocks for this post: vintagecardigan 

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replied January 8th, 2010
You aren't on your own, my cravings started when I was much younger too (curse that frog bath sponge) and ever since then they've gradually increased (I'm 17 now). Towards the end of last year I was buying packs of kitchen sponges every week just to satisfy my cravings. I've tried to quit but find myself resorting to cushion stuffing, cotton wool, ironing board linings and any other sponge I can find. When I visit friends' houses I find it so difficult, if I see a sponge in their bathroom, I get really strong cravings and have to buy one as soon as possible. I've never made myself ill, I've only had stomach pains like indigestion if I've eaten a lot of sponge. I'd find it really difficult to go to the doctor, I don't know why I get these cravings, but I'd probably feel quite insecure about telling a doctor about them, and I don't want my parents to find out. It's really good to know I'm not on my own!
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replied January 26th, 2010
Sponge lover!
I cannot actually belive all use suffer from the same thing as i do! I love the smell and taste of sponges soooo much! Espesically the bath ones! This is crazy! But im really scared that i will go to the doctors and they will think i am insane!
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replied February 13th, 2010
Sponge sniffing - Pica
Wow - it is a common addiction after all. I first started hunting out sponges when I was pregnant with my third child. Whenever I was in the bathroom I couldn't resist sniffing the sponge really deeply. I stopped when I started to find it hard to swallow, almost like my tongue had swollen, it scared me. But now, not pregnant, even the thought of a sponge gives me the same sensation in my throat of not being able to swallow. I really have to try hard not to think about them which instantly makes me think of them!! Is there some addictive chemical in the sponge?
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replied February 24th, 2010
Sponge Eating.
I absolutley love snacking on a sponge, I am so glad there are other people out there. I am exactly the same I crave the taste, texture and smell and love the feeling of it on my tounge.
I am 16 years old and have had a craving for anything with a spongey texture for as long as I can remember.
If I don't have a sponge near by I will eat the stuffing from my bears and sponge balls for kids.
I have been round to friends and families houses and found myself taking sponges from their bathrooms just so I can eat them.
I went to ASDA yesterday and bought two sponges and I have eaten one and a half already.
I am so glad I have found people like me.
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replied February 28th, 2010
I am so glad there are others who do this. I thought I was the only one. I used to eat the foam stuffing from chairs once in a while when I was little. Then when I was 18, I suddenly had a huge craving for sponges so I went and bought some. Three years later and I get through more and more sponges every day. I love the smell, the texture, the taste and chewing on it. I also find shopping hard. I end up buying so many sponges! Last year I took iron tablets for a while and I managed to stop for a few weeks but when I stopped taking the tablets, the cravings came back. I really want to stop but I also worry that my doctor will think I'm crazy!
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replied March 4th, 2010
I can't stop eating sponge, I've been stopped going round my friend's house since they left me at their's alone and came back to find me in their living room amongst pieces of sofa binge eating the spongey goodness. I don't know what to do, it's a drug to me, it's my life, I dream of sponge, and when I'm awake I think of sponge. If I don't eat it I go on a rampage. I wish I could live without sponge. Anyone know any good mass sponge retailers btw?
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replied March 13th, 2010
im glad im not the only one who eat sponge
I dunno why i like eating it sooo much
I used to bite the bath sponges when i was younger then the craving stoped for years
only these past 2 years it has come back again
Now im older it is much easier to get hold of sponges
I usally buy a bath sponge every week and chew little pieces of it everyday
I wish i could stop as i do find it silly keep having to buy bath sponges
I cant talk to anyone about it
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replied March 18th, 2010
Eating Sponges and foams
For about 8 months my grandson has been eating sponges. He is 2 yrs old. He has eaten the sponge out of kids tables, chairs, furniture, shoes, carseats. It's almost as though he can sniff where there is sponges or foam. I am really concerned because I can't hide it quick enough and today I changed his diaper and found the diaper filled with poop and foam (sponge) from his dad's computer chair. This has really turned into a problem and I'm concern for his health. I thought it might be a vitamin deficiency but don't know for sure. This is not a normal behavior... Sponges have ingredients in them that can harm your bodies. All of the posts above sound like it's okay to do but there will be side effects and I hope everyone can find a way to seek out some help. I am surprised just how many individuals have this type of disorder!
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replied March 21st, 2010
At last! I've been craving the smell of bath sponges for years,then it progressed to lathering them up with soap and water and sucking it out. I then got the urge to tear them to pieces with my mouth and chew them to death but I have never swallowed any because I daren't.

Then I read about bath sponges being toxic so I switched to natural bath sponges. The first time I went in Boots looking for one I picked it up and it felt wonderful, really spongey and hard and dry. I had to stop myself from putting it straight in my mouth. The pieces are not that big and they are £10 each which is way more than I have ever spent on 1 sponge but I had to have it. I got it home and cut it up into pieces and chewed and sucked on them, rinsed them out , dried them out then chewed and sucked on them again. I then got into the habit of drying the piece on my radiator. It makes them hard and crispy and they actually taste toasty. So I go through about 1 sponge a month doing this. I could go through more but I have to curb it because of the cost. It sounds so disgusting yet it doesn't feel it when I do it. If I have had a very stressful day at work I cannot wait to get home to chew a piece of sponge. It immediately calms me down.

I have now begun to take pieces to work and every now and again I go into the ladies for a good chew.

At the moment I am not with a partner but I am already wondering what I will do if I ever do live with someone. I'm not sure they would understand!
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