If you’ve ever wondered what happens if you eat soap, you’re not alone. It’s a common question people have, especially when they see someone accidentally eat soap or see a child put soap in their mouth.
So, what happens when you eat soap? The short answer is that you may experience diarrhea, vomiting, and other health problems. If you or someone you know has eaten soap, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
In this article, I’m going to explain the dangers of eating soap, why someone might want to eat soap, and what to do if you ate soap.
What happens when you eat soap?
1. Gastrointestinal problems
When you eat soap, you might experience irritation in your stomach and intestines. The irritation can cause gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting, nausea, bloating, and diarrhea (sometimes bloody).
The chemicals in the soap can cause inflammation in several parts of your body, including your throat and tongue. This can cause choking, swollen taste buds, fever, and even death if not treated immediately by a doctor.
3. Damage to the blood vessels
Another potential side effect of eating soap is severe damage to your blood vessels. This can lead to life-threatening symptoms such as internal bleeding, tissue death, and brain shocks.
4. Liver and kidney damage
Eating large amounts of soap over a long time can cause liver and kidney damage. You may start experiencing symptoms such as loss of appetite, fatigue, weakness, decreased urine, and muscle cramps.
5. Heartburn and acid reflux
Eating soap may cause your stomach to acidify, leading to heartburn and acid reflux. In extreme cases, it can also lead to Barrett’s esophagus, a condition in which the tissue between the esophagus and stomach becomes damaged by acid reflux.
6. Increased risk of cancer
Eating soap can increase your risk of developing pancreatic and liver cancers later in life. This is because most soaps contain synthetic ingredients, which are known or suspected carcinogens (substances that can cause cancer).
What happens if a child eats soap?
If a child eats soap, they may experience any of the health issues I mentioned above.
In some cases, the child may also experience respiratory issues. If you think your child has eaten soap, it’s important to contact 911, your pediatrician, or a local poison control center immediately.
What causes someone to eat soap?
Pica is an eating disorder characterized by a persistent craving for non-food items. The most commonly craved items include dirt, hair, ice, and soap.
While there is no specific treatment for pica, doctors can help manage the disorder with behavioral therapy and medication. If left untreated, pica can lead to serious medical complications, such as intestinal blockage or infection.
Another common cause of eating soap is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which is characterized by obsessions and compulsions.
In some cases, an individual with OCD will experience a compulsion to eat soap as a way to get rid of the thought that they have consumed something bad or contaminated themselves. People with OCD may also feel compelled to wash their hands over and over again.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease that causes memory loss and destroys brain function. As a result, people with Alzheimer’s disease often have the urge to eat soap and other non-food items.
Although rare, hormonal changes during pregnancy can also cause soap eating.
If you are pregnant and have a sudden urge to eat soap or other non-food items, it is important to speak to your doctor. Eating soap and certain substances can be harmful to your baby and may indicate a serious underlying condition.
This is most common in children under the age of 10. When children are curious about something (e.g. soap), they are more likely to want to eat it.
If you see your child putting soap in their mouth, take it away and explain why it’s not safe to eat. Make sure to rinse their mouths and wash their hands thoroughly afterward.
Sometimes people eat soap because they’re not getting enough of certain vitamins or minerals in their diet. A healthy diet can help reduce the urge to eat soap.
How can you stop eating soap?
The best way to stop eating soap is to talk to your doctor. Your doctor will ask about your condition and medical history. They may also run some tests to check if there are underlying conditions that may be causing the soap eating.
Your doctor may then recommend some treatments and refer you to a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist. This specialist can help treat your eating disorder using a combination of therapies.
These therapies may include:
This type of therapy helps people change their thinking and behavior. Mental health professionals often use it to help people overcome their compulsive urge to eat non-food items.
This type of therapy can help the patient’s family better understand and support their loved one. It can also teach them how to make changes in the home environment that can reduce the risk of soap-eating occurring.
The mental health professional can refer you to a dietician who will guide you on how to ensure that you’re getting all the nutrients you need from food sources only. They can also help create meal plans safe for someone who eats soap.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should you do if you accidentally drink soap water?
If you accidentally drink soap water, call your doctor immediately.
If your doctor thinks you should go to the emergency room, ask for a referral to a hospital that specializes in treating poisoning emergencies.
Do people with pica eat dirt?
Yes, they do.
Pica is a disorder that causes people to eat non-food items such as dirt, rocks, crayons, ice, paint chips, and paper. If you suspect that you or someone you know has pica, seek medical advice immediately.
What is an OCD person like?
Someone who suffers from OCD will often feel driven to do things others find strange or extreme.
They may feel the urge to wash their hands several times a day, eat soap, or do things repetitively.
Is drinking shampoo harmful?
Yes, it is. Shampoos contain ingredients like sulfates, which can cause gastrointestinal distress and other health issues when you ingest them.
So, while it may seem like a harmless prank to drink shampoo, it can have severe consequences for your health.
Eating soap is a dangerous habit that can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. In severe cases, it can even lead to liver and kidney damage, acid reflux, and cancer.
Now that you know what happens when you eat soap, seek medical attention immediately if you or someone you know has eaten soap.
Thanks for reading.
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