A mom has a rare condition which has seen her spend over $10,000 on eating a tub of Johnson's Baby Talcum Powder every day.
Lisa Anderson, 44, started eating the powder 15 years ago when she felt the urge after using it on her young son following a bath. She estimates she's spent nearly £8,000 (~$10,450) on her 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-a-week (~$13) 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 gauge on the powder throughout the day.
Lisa, who lives in Paignton, Devon, England, 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 mother-of five was recently told by doctors she may have symptoms of PICA syndrome - an eating disorder characterized by a compulsion to eat non-food items.
She's set to get professional help later this month, and is speaking out to urge others to speak out too.
Lisa admitted, "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.
"I've always had it in the house and would douse myself with it after having a bath or shower," she explained. "I'd use it on the kids after giving them a wash no problem. And then 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."
But she explained that she'd "never had it with any of the other children. Just my last one."
And once she started, she couldn't stop.
"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 always have a glass of water after doing it so it doesn't upset my taste buds or anything like that. I've never snorted it or anything like that. I just like eating it. It does really dry your mouth out though."
But it isn't just any old talcum powder that she goes for: "It has to be the classic one. It can't be the Johnson's lavender or any one-off special flavor. I only do the Johnson's powder in the house."
"I don't carry any around with me when I go out," she said. "If I do have to go out to the shops or go to hospital I eat mints outside. The other day I was out for a few hours and I had eaten six packets of extra strong mints. But when I got home I just went to have the powder. It's the chalky texture that I crave. I wake up at least four times in the night as my body just craves it. This has been going on for years now I just can't see a point when it isn't part of my life."
She kept her condition secret for ten years until her ex-partner stormed into the bathroom having grown suspicious of her regular visits.
It was not until Lisa visited her doctor last year that she has been 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 doctor for counseling, 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."
Breathing problems are the most common side effect as well as a cough and eye irritation. But it can also cause chest pain and even lung failure as well as low blood pressure, convulsions, diarrhea, and vomiting.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization (WHO), has previously ruled talc as possibly cancerous to humans based on a range of studies.
In 2016, a U.S. 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 gynecologists recommend using plain, unperfumed soaps to gently wash the vagina.
In July 2018 Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $4.7 billion to 22 women after asbestos in baby powder gave them cancer. Johnson & Johnson has always refuted the claim that its talcum powder is unsafe.
People who have inhaled or ingested talcum powder are advised to seek help immediately.
*This story originally appeared on SWNS, and was written by Olive Loveridge-Greene