A mum has revealed her bizarre condition that sees her eating a full tub of Johnson’s Baby Talcum Powder a day.
Lisa Anderson first started eating the powder 15 years ago when she felt the urge after using it on her young son following a bath.
The 44-year-old reckons she’s spent a grand total of around £8,000 on her unusual craving and runs off to the bathroom at least 40 times a day to gorge on the white powder she eats off the back of her hand.
Lisa, who suffers from anxiety and depression, spends at least £10 per week on her craving.
She eats the bathroom staple up to every 30 minutes and routinely wakes up four times a night to feed her habit.
She says she only eats one meal a day and skips breakfast and lunch to gorge on the powder throughout the day.
Lisa, from Paignton, Devon, kept her habit secret for a decade before confiding in her ex-partner – and has now plucked up the courage to get professional help.
The mum-of five was recently told by doctors she may have symptoms of PICA syndrome, which is an eating disorder characterised by a compulsion to eat non-food items. She’s set to get professional help in later this month, and is speaking out to urge others to speak out too.
I do get it’s a bit weird. It just has this nice soapy taste. I can get through a 200g bottle in a day. With the bigger ones I get through about one-and-a-half a week.
I remember getting really drawn to its smell. Now I can’t do without it. I go up and get some every half an hour.
Lisa first developed symptoms of PICA syndrome in 2004 just a few days after giving birth to her fifth child.
The mum-of-five added:
One day I remember being in the bathroom and the smell was just overpowering.
There was a bit of dust that had come off the top of the bottle. I had this sudden urge to eat it and I just couldn’t fight it.
I just licked it off my hand and really enjoyed it. It just hit this spot. It was satisfying a craving I never knew I had.
Just like someone with an addiction I was just having more and more each time I went to have some.
I can’t really go half an hour without it. The longest I’ve been without it is two days. That was the worst time of my life. I hated it.
I’ve never snorted it or anything like that. I just like eating it.
It does really dry your mouth out though. It has to be the classic one.
It’s the chalky texture that I crave.
I wake up at least four times in the night as my body just craves it.
She kept her condition secret for 10 years until her ex-partner stormed into the bathroom having grown suspicious of her regular visits.
It wasn’t until Lisa visited her GP last year that she was given a formal suspected diagnosis.
Although not formally diagnosed, doctors have told Lisa her cravings could be a result of a possible iron deficiency, OCD and PICA syndrome.
She has been referred by her GP for counselling, due to start this month.
Despite doing this for years and years I sat down earlier this year and thought this just cannot be normal.
My partner doesn’t like me doing it because of the links it has to cancer and the impact it could be having on my health.
I went online and did my own bit of research, then I decided to go to my GP. I just want to raise awareness to others.
I spent years not knowing what was going on or happening. But it turns out it is a condition. And I just want to let others know they are not alone.
Talcum powder is a powder made from a mineral called talc, a clay mineral made up of silicon, magnesium and oxygen.
It is thought the mineral is poisonous to the body if either inhaled or consumed.
Breathing problems are the most common side effect, as well as a cough and eye irritation. But it can also cause chest pain, low blood pressure, convulsions, diarrhoea and vomiting – and even lung failure.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organisation, has previously ruled talc as possibly cancerous to humans based on a range of studies.
In 2016, a US study found a 33% increase in the risk of ovarian cancer with genital talc use. The NHS dubbed the study too small to be conclusive but does note gynaecologists recommend using plain, unperfumed soaps to gently wash the vagina.
In July 2018, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay £3.6billion to 22 women after asbestos in baby powder gave them cancer. Johnson & Johnson has always refuted the claim its talcum powder is unsafe.
People who have inhaled or ingested talcum powder are advised to seek help immediately.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]