Family can't have sponges in the home as mum can't stop eating them

A brave mum has told how she has had to stop buying sponges for her home – as she can’t resist eating them.

Claire Louise Owen, from Criccieth, North Wales, started chewing sponges when she was 14 after developing the urge during her first period.

When her cravings were at their worst, Claire would chomp through one sponge a week, stashing them in her knicker drawer to nibble on throughout the day.

The 44-year-old, who says she was too embarrassed to speak to her GP, believes she suffers from an eating disorder called pica, which makes her crave non-food items with no nutritional value.

In a bid to curb her strange appetite, sober coach Claire and joiner husband Gwilym, 44, have decided to stop buying bath sponges altogether.

Claire said: ‘It started when I was around 14 or 15. I worked in a chemist and I used to want to buy sponges so I could eat them.

‘I like the ripping sensation, putting it in my mouth, ripping, chewing and swallowing it. It’s the texture that I like – they taste horrible.

‘It’s like I use it to clean my teeth and it prolongs the taste of whatever I’ve been eating.

‘So if I had a bar of chocolate or a bag of crisps, if I have some sponge after, it gives me the flavour for longer.’

Claire prefers cheaper sponges with smaller holes, and would keep one in her bedroom drawer, taking two to three bits a day to make it last a week.

She says after finishing eating her guilty pleasure, she feels relieved because she knows there could be health implications, and tries her best to avoid buying another to chomp on.

The mum-of-two claims her cravings intensify when she’s on her period, stressed, or tired, and they were especially hard to resist when she was pregnant with her sons, William, 11, and Sam, 10.

Believing an iron deficiency could be the cause of her addiction, it has taken her years to understand more about pica and why it has such a hold over her life.

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