Can you eat soap?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat soap?” and discuss its effects?

Can you eat soap?

No,  you cannot eat soap. Bar soap is a typical food item for those suffering from pica. Sapophagia is a medical term for the urge to consume soap.  Even though they’re not meant to be eaten, most bar soaps, shampoos, and conditioners are safe to use on the body. However, if you ingest a little amount of soap, you may get indigestion, vomiting, and other side effects.

Effects of consuming soap

There are various negative consequences of ingesting soap. Small amounts of soap may not have a long-term effect on your health, but it all comes down to the sort of soap you use and how much you consume.

Eating soap might make you feel sick and induce diarrhea and vomiting.

According to 2019 research, almost all soaps have a pH that is very alkaline. Eating it, therefore, has the potential to upset your stomach and irritate your digestive system lining.

Additionally, commercially marketed soaps often include acids (such as lauric acid or stearic acid) and plant-based components (like essential oils and fragrances). No matter how “all-natural” they are, some substances are still not fit for human consumption.

This implies that ingesting soap might cause nausea and vomiting in addition to some pain. It’s possible that your body will have trouble digesting the soap, which might lead to diarrhea or even blood in your stool.

Toxic effects on other regions of your body from eating soap

It’s possible that ingesting soap can induce swelling in your tongue, throat, and elsewhere in your body. Depending on the cause, this might be a response to the soap’s harsh components or a sign of an allergy. You may or may not be able to breathe or swallow as a result.

Ingesting soap may lead to liver damage

Toxins are filtered out of your blood by your liver so that they don’t injure your organs. Eating a lot of soap puts a lot of strain on your liver because it has to work so hard to remove all of the nasty stuff out of your system.

The risk of cancer increases if you eat soap.

Some soap constituents are safe when used topically, but are proven carcinogens when consumed on a regular basis. They should be avoided. A chemically modified type of coconut oil called Cocamide DEA, for example, has been detected in at least 98 shampoo and soap products since 2013.

What might make someone want soap in the first place?

Sapophagia may have a wide range of underlying causes, including any of the ones listed above. Pica may be induced by a shortage of iron or zinc in your diet, for example. For some reason, this is far more prevalent during pregnancy, maybe due to the body’s quickly fluctuating dietary requirements.

Conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia in the elderly might cause a desire to consume soap in the patient. The use of soap by a large proportion of elderly people may be an indication of dementia, according to a case study conducted in 2019.

Soap-eating is a taught practice for certain individuals, whether it comes from upbringing or culture.

We don’t know why some kids consume soap.

Children who consume soap do it out of curiosity or mischief. It’s possible that they’re eating soap since they have no idea what else to try.

Pica, a disorder that causes children to want eating soap, may also strike young children. One recent German research indicated that 13% of the children who took part had pica, indicating that it is a prevalent ailment in that age range. Children’s inability to resist the urge to consume soap may be due to nutritional deficits.

Pica is more likely to develop in children who have mental health issues or autism. Pica in children usually goes away as the kid gets older, however this is not always the case.

How to quit using soap without consuming it?

Pica patients report that they like eating soap and find it difficult to stop. However, long-term use of soap might harm your internal organs, so seek medical attention immediately.

Preventative measures

If you (or your kid) have a strong desire to eat soap, limiting their exposure to it may be an effective first step. You might, for instance, replace all of your bar soap with shower gel instead of removing it from your home.

Psychotherapy that utilises cognitive and behavioural principles (CBT)

If restricting your soap exposure isn’t enough to cure your sapophagia, your doctor may suggest cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Action-oriented objectives are combined with mindfulness practises in this kind of treatment to aid you in breaking bad habits and compulsions you may have developed.

Supplements for healthy eating

A doctor may order a blood test to see whether your pica is caused by a nutritional deficit. Taking a nutritional supplement, such as zinc or iron, may curb your temptation to consume dishwashing liquid as a snack.

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In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat soap?” and discussed its effects?


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