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Smell Cravings/ Pica Disorder


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#1 tina

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Posted 4 October 2007 - 02:04 AM

I am a 40 yr old female with a sudden craving for chemical smells. I don't know where this came from, but for some reason I'm severely craving smells. I can watch a commercial on household cleaners and my mouth just waters! I don't get high from the smells. I am not pregnant and I do not do drugs. I just can't get over this sudden urge to sniff everything that has harsh chemicals in it. I went to a tire store the other day to smell the tire showcase. I would drink Pine Sol, but I know it would hurt me. I want to eat dirt and love to get behind old trucks leaking black exhausts!! What is this all about?! I'm really concerned about this. I haven't resorted to eating any of these toxic materials, but the craving I have for them scares me!
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#2 fattyjwoods

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Posted 4 October 2007 - 02:26 AM

whoa! That sounds weird

check this out even though you're not a kid http://www.kidshealt....vior/pica.html

The easiest way to solve this problem is to call the doctor like it says on the site. Unfortunately if you have a mental problem you should call a phyciartrist. (sorry cant spell). If you have a friend that could possibly lock away the chemicals and do the dishes for you, that would help a lot!

Anyway, it's perfectly normal (to a point). I mean sometimes you get an urge to sniff petrol or glue but all you have to do is to pinch yourself and you'll snap out of it.
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#3 iNow

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Posted 4 October 2007 - 02:37 AM

Sounds like it's time to see a neurologist, and most likely a complete CAT scan and/or MRI.

http://cancer.stanfo...incancer/brain/
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#4 fattyjwoods

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Posted 4 October 2007 - 02:40 AM

one question; have you eaten any of the chemicals? If you have you may need to contact the poisons hotline or a doctor
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#5 Snoggums

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 03:05 AM

I get something similar, I have to have laundry detergent around me so I can smell it or just be comforted by it. It's weird, and strange. But yours sounds like something that could hurt you.

Most likely, a deficiency of some sort. *shrug* I dunno, just a guess, I'm no expert. For all I know, it could be menopause or a mid-life crisis.

iNow, brain tumors would cause personality changes. This is a sudden craving. And it's not rational to assume the worst before eliminating the most common reasons.

Pica, huh...? So you have a craving to eat objects that you shouldn't eat? I had that slighty for a short while when I had iron deficiency. That could cause it, as well as a tapeworm. It's best to assume the most common things before you start freaking out about a brain tumor that you most likely don't have.

See a doctor, if it's a tapeworm or a deficiency, then it needs to be taken care of. If it's psychological, then see a psychologist. Point is, you most likely will not get a diagnosis without flaws on the internet, especially if it's an amature diagnosis. See a doctor. Like ASAP.
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#6 Mr Skeptic

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 03:25 AM

Pica disorder is sometimes caused by mineral deficiency. I would recommend multivitamins. If you think you might eat some chemicals, you should go to a doctor before you get yourself in trouble.
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#7 dcaldwellotr

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 02:45 AM

I too have gone from being the worlds most olfactory sensitive person to craving the smell of cleansers, strong essential oils (like sage) and menthol, and I am not sure why. I am cleaning my house top to bottom so that I can smell the cleanser. I almost killed my mom with Pine Sol, as she has heart conditions and asthma. Now, I use Fabulosa all through the house and even put some on a kleenex so that I could smell it in private all day long. I am thinking this is a mineral deficiency, especially Zinc.I have in the past been the sensitive nose among all, now, all I want is strong odors of cleansers. I know it is weird, but i am going through this too. So, I hope that we find an answer soon as this is very disturbing to me. :eek::eek::eek:
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#8 busylady

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 08:42 PM

Hi - I too have had this problem for some time - the cravings for me are glue and coal, and the smell of firelighters (parrafin I guess). However, I have recently been diagnosed with very low iron, and am now being treated with high dose iron, and the pica's are gradually receeding.
It would be worth getting checked for this type of thing as I understand that pica is a common symptom of aneamia.
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#9 PsyChris

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 09:03 PM

Pica is normally diagnosed as a disorder in childhood however no disorder can be isolated to an age range. The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders has this to say about Pica:

The cravings found in patients diagnosed with pica may be associated with a nutitional deficiency state, such as iron-deficiency anemia, with pregnancy; or with mental retardation or mental illness


A few of the posters experiencing symptoms mentioned they are not pregnant now. While pica can begin during pregnancy it also continues to occur intermittently for years after pregnancy.

If its a nutritional deficit, it will resolve when the deficit is treatment. Behavioral modification has been minimally effective.
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#10 L15YSA

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 05:36 PM

I am a 40 yr old female with a sudden craving for chemical smells. I don't know where this came from, but for some reason I'm severely craving smells. I can watch a commercial on household cleaners and my mouth just waters! I don't get high from the smells. I am not pregnant and I do not do drugs. I just can't get over this sudden urge to sniff everything that has harsh chemicals in it. I went to a tire store the other day to smell the tire showcase. I would drink Pine Sol, but I know it would hurt me. I want to eat dirt and love to get behind old trucks leaking black exhausts!! What is this all about?! I'm really concerned about this. I haven't resorted to eating any of these toxic materials, but the craving I have for them scares me!


You are not the only one with the problem. I crave damp cellar smells, coal, fire lighters. I even chew down on the powdered smokers tooth paste becasue it is gritty I dont eat it though, I spit it out. My cravings started out of the blue over 2 months ago and wont go away. I was stood sniffing a pack of fire lighters today in the super market, must have looked like a real freak! My hubby just rolls his eyes! I even visited a mining museum to experience the dank underground musty smells.

I have no intention of eating anything untoward but the urges are becoming a nightmare. I am currently awaiting results of blood tests from my doctor. :) I am 41 and female, maybe its a woman thing!

Edited by L15YSA, 19 October 2010 - 05:39 PM.

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#11 Ahsan Iqbal

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 05:17 AM

Sounds like it's time to see a neurologist, and most likely a complete CAT scan and/or MRI.


I agree. She should see a professional and discuss her problem.
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#12 rwilli

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 07:09 PM

I am having a very similar issue.  i am 47 years old, don't do drugs and don't get high from the smells but I am having an irresistible craving for strong smells.  I have never really even like the scent of pine sol but suddenly find myself cleaning walls in my house just to be able to smell it.  i always have strong incense burning in my house.  i find myself sniffing everything i open just to enjoy the smell.  its crazy.  i have actually been sitting at my desk at work sniffing my sharpie!!??
i don't have ANY desire whatsoever to eat any of these things - but i NEED to smell them. 

what is going on?  its kind of scaring me.  i feel like all of a sudden i am some kind of an addict.


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#13 bettydavis

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Posted 24 September 2016 - 12:27 PM

Hi, I am 49 years old and this past few weeks have become really inclined to sniff lemgel, a strong chemical all purpose cleaner.  Just yesterday I was trying to articulate to my partner how it's like all of a sudden I am right in the middle of an addiction to this smell, no build up just an onset of really wanting to smell it so much, but the thing is smelling it is just not enough, it only partly satiates my longing for it, obviously I know not to drink it and inhaling it through my mouth has no pleasure, I tried it once!  I have read on other similar forums that it may be a mineral deficiency, I have recently been having extremely heavy periods and suspect this could be the cause due to a lack of iron.  I do take chlorella and spirulina and wheatgrass which I though would have given me more than enough iron but maybe the algae is drawing iron from me.  I am awaiting blood tests and should get a hormone profile soon which may tell me what my hormone situation is at present.  I usually just put my nose near the top of the bottle and squeeze the pastic to get some back draft in order to get a whiff!  I feel almost like a teenage glue sniffer or something!  Glad to hear other people experience this weird craving (rwilli)  it feels good to talk about it for a while as it is my guilty secret at the minute.  Any insight into this would be great and if my doctor enlightens me as to my iron situation I will share it on here.  I had to join this site just to make this reply, it was nearly impossible to get to this point.  Hopefully this is not the onset of some debilitating neurosis or something...fingers crossed!!


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#14 bettydavis

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Posted 2 October 2016 - 11:46 AM

UPDATE..  To whom is interested, I got my blood tests back and I am very low in iron...8.6 in fact.  This would explain my cravings, I also have been craving raw carrots and this too is a sign of low iron and a niggly persistent cough I am experiencing is another symptom, so if you are having these smell cravings, get your blood checked, you may have low iron.  I have been prescribed an iron supplement by my doctor and will take it from there.  Hope this helps someone in a similar situation.  Even though I have had no feed back on here which I was hoping , there is a chance someone will read this and benefit from my experience.  I suspect that the low iron is due to my extremely heavy periods lately due to age and hormonal changes, but further blood tests will confirm this.  I will update to inform if the smell craving stops after replenishing my iron stores.


Edited by bettydavis, 2 October 2016 - 11:49 AM.

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#15 Ophiolite

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Posted 2 October 2016 - 06:01 PM

Even though I have had no feed back on here which I was hoping ,.....

The only feedback you should seek, the only feedback you should receive, the only feedback you should pay attention to, is the feedback that says "If you have a medical issue, seek medical help. Do not look for advice on the internet."

 

I am pleased to see you have done this. It is the only sensible approach. It is the only intelligent approach.


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I waited and waited for a response to my post and when none came I knew it must be from you.

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#16 bettydavis

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Posted 2 October 2016 - 06:27 PM

Feed back from people who experienced the same symptoms and have since found solutions and have opinions on the subject is what i was hoping for.  Not medical advice, is that not what this forum is about???


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#17 Ophiolite

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Posted 2 October 2016 - 08:20 PM

Feed back from people who experienced the same symptoms and have since found solutions and have opinions on the subject is what i was hoping for.  Not medical advice, is that not what this forum is about???

Anecdotal opinions in science and medicine are inherently flawed. In medicine, in particular, they are downright dangerous. Consider the following:

1. You do not know if the individuals are speaking the truth.

2. You do not know if the individuals have properly understood there experience.

3. You do not know if the individuals have accurately reported there experience.

 

Given that they will not have been medically trained there is little reason to expect that they have properly understood, or accurately reported their experience. It is by applying that kind of anecdotal experience that we have seen develop the nonsense surrounding vaccinations.

 

To address your final question. This sub-forum is to discuss scientific development in the fields of anatomy, physiology and neuroscience, and to ask and answer general questions about these subject areas.


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I waited and waited for a response to my post and when none came I knew it must be from you.

Ashleigh Brilliant

 

One can never eliminate the concept of irreducible complexity as long as it is supported by inexplicable stupidity.

Ophiolite

 

 


#18 zapatos

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Posted 3 October 2016 - 02:40 AM

UPDATE..  To whom is interested, I got my blood tests back and I am very low in iron...8.6 in fact.  This would explain my cravings, I also have been craving raw carrots and this too is a sign of low iron and a niggly persistent cough I am experiencing is another symptom, so if you are having these smell cravings, get your blood checked, you may have low iron.  I have been prescribed an iron supplement by my doctor and will take it from there.  Hope this helps someone in a similar situation.  Even though I have had no feed back on here which I was hoping , there is a chance someone will read this and benefit from my experience.  I suspect that the low iron is due to my extremely heavy periods lately due to age and hormonal changes, but further blood tests will confirm this.  I will update to inform if the smell craving stops after replenishing my iron stores.

 

Glad to hear they found something readily actionable. 

 

On a side note, I regularly seek feedback from others in medical situations and find it to be quite useful to hear from others who have had similar experiences. People with similar experiences can provide context that you often don't get from your doctor. That is after all one of the reasons we have things like support groups.

 

I assume that like me, you know who is providing background information and who is providing actual medical advice. I think that asking for feedback is a great idea.

 

Good luck to you!


Edited by zapatos, 3 October 2016 - 02:40 AM.

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#19 bettydavis

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Posted 3 October 2016 - 07:19 AM

Yes thank you for your positive input, the reason I gravitated to this forum was because my doctor drew a blank when i mentioned the smell cravings, seemingly this is not a recognised condition  hence my joy at reading other peoples experiences, it normalised it slightly for me.  i do also know how to differentiate from anecdotal experience and medical advice.  A lady coincidentally put a post up the day before I did which was funny as no one had commented since 2011!  Perhaps I was hoping to hear feed back from her or maybe I wanted her to check her iron.  I won't be developing a new vaccination any time soon...not this month anyway!! lol.

 

so to round things up the following symptoms I experienced were due to a lack of iron in my blood

 

sniffing lemgel

eating raw carrots

niggly tickly cough

 

hope this helps someone...that's all


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#20 Ophiolite

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Posted 3 October 2016 - 10:26 AM

I am pleased things have worked out for you. However, I return to the point raised early in this thread by another member. Sudden sensitivity to smells can be a symptom of a serious neurological condition.

 

Not all readers of this thread will have your ability to distinguish between medical advice and anecdote. There is a risk that some will decide their problem, based on your experience, is simply mild anemia and avoid seeking the medical help they urgently require.

 

I regret coming across as a curmudgeonly, pedantic nay-sayer, but that's only because I am.


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I waited and waited for a response to my post and when none came I knew it must be from you.

Ashleigh Brilliant

 

One can never eliminate the concept of irreducible complexity as long as it is supported by inexplicable stupidity.

Ophiolite

 

 





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