A girl eats soaps and washing powder
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By Jeff Maysh: A 19-year-old girl claims she is
hopelessly addicted... to eating soap. A rare medical condition has left
Tempestt Henderson, from Florida, eating up to five bars of soap a week - and
washing powder too.
The nursing student says she knew eating soap was dangerous, but ignored the
warning labels on the box in favour of licking the deadly powder daily, from the
minute she woke up in the morning.
Soon she had moved onto licking the bubbles of soap in the shower, too, a habit
that was getting her through up to five bars of soap a week.
'In the shower, I like to lather up a green bar of soap, and lick the bubbles.
And as the soap disintegrates, I pop a tiny amount of the soap into my mouth and
suck it. Itís heavenly.
'I love the clean feeling it gives me. Eating soap feels so much cleaner than
just washing with it.'
After six months of eating soap, unhappy Tempestt decided to be brave and seek
medical advice. She was diagnosed with a rare disorder called PICA, which
doctors told her is characterised by an appetite for substances that are largely
Sufferers have been known to compulsively eat metal, coins, chalk, batteries and
even toothbrushes. It can often be caused by a mineral deficiency, which
explains why pregnant women often crave eating coal when needing iron.
But in Tempesttís case doctors believed the
condition was bought on by stress.
The doctor gave Tempestt intensive
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, to give her replacement thoughts that will
prevent her from compulsively reaching for soap.
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