Woman Has A Bizarre Appetite For Toilet Paper

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Toilet Paper on Sale
Charmin toilet paper, a product distributed by Procter & Gamble, is pictured on sale at a Ralphs grocery store in Pasadena, California January 21, 2014. REUTERS

Jade Sylvester, a 25-year-old mom from Gainsborough, U.K., eats an entire loo roll every day. She says her craving for clean toilet paper started when she was two months pregnant with her youngest son, Jaxon. Jade does not know what made her feel that way, but she seems to like savouring the dry texture of the soft paper.

Her strange appetite for toilet paper continues even after giving birth. Jade would go to the restroom and nibble a few sheets to a roll in just a single day. "I usually eat around eight pieces per visit -- sometimes I go to the bathroom just to get some toilet roll. It does fill me up quite a bit. At first, I used to eat a couple of squares at a time, but I keep eating more and more," she says.

Jade tries to restrain herself from going to the comfort room because she gets tempted to eat the paper. Still, she can't break the habit and even prefers eating the less expensive brands. Jade says she tries hiding it from her five kids.

This persistent condition of eating substances without nutritive value is called Pica. Just like Ms. Sylvester, those who have this craving would eat paper, sand, chalk, glass, and so forth. According to a study done by the Department of Family Medicine in Wayne State University, U.S.A, Pica is most prevalent in areas of low socioeconomic status and is more common in children and women, especially pregnant women.

Individuals suspected of having this disorder should undergo medical examination. This is to check for possible blockage in the digestive tract, toxicity or a probability of anaemia due to the substance eaten on a regular basis. Doctors assess the psychological health of individuals having this eating behaviour as well. All the necessary examinations are done before patients go through pica treatment. Young children who have this craving have to be monitored closely to prevent ingestion of materials that have lead or other poisonous compounds.

Pica is a disorder noticed since the ancient times and although limited research attributes the causes to mineral deficiency in the body, it is curently considered a mental disorder by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria.

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