UK girl, 19, eats 2 bath sponges every week

PHOTO: UK girl, 19, eats 2 bath sponges every week

A 19-year-old girl from Surrey, UK, recently made headlines on the Internet with her penchant for eating bath sponges.

Miss Rosie Skinner is believed to suffer from pica - an eating disorder in which people eat non-food materials.

The Daily Mail reported that Miss Skinner has been eating bath sponges since she was five years old.

She reportedly snacks on small pieces of sponge throughout the day and eats up to two sponges every week.

Miss Skinner said: "I crave that damp taste and feeling in my mouth. If I have a stressful day, I love to treat myself to snack on a sponge to relax."

After eight years of sponge-eating, the teenager has developed severe stomachaches and had to have a large mass of sponge removed from her stomach when she was 13 years old, according to The Mirror.

She was advised by her doctors to stop snacking on sponges but said that she could not resist the compulsion to eat them.

Although Miss Skinner said that she has accepted pica as part of who she is, she wishes to quit her strange eating habit. She added: "Now I just chew it (the sponge) for a while and spit it out."

Long term ingestion of non-food objects may cause serious complications, such as a mass trapped in the stomach, intestinal blockage, infection and malnutrition.

In September this year, an 18-year-old girl from Kyrgyzstan was saved after she underwent an emergency operation to remove a 4kg hairball from her stomach. She also suffered from pica and had been eating her hair for years.

minlee@sph.com.sg