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Bradenton woman addicted to eating couch cushions | News

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Bradenton woman addicted to eating couch cushions

Sarasota, Florida - When Adele of Bradenton introduced herself to the world through the TLC show "My Strange Addiction," she was picking a pillow apart.

The 30-year-old woman says she has been eating the foam from her cushions since she was 10 years old, when her cousin introduced her to it.Twenty years later, Adele has eaten 200 pounds of foam, or roughly 7 couches and 2 chairs.

Photo Gallery: Woman Eats Couch

Adele's gastroenterologist, Dr. Christopher Olenec of Sarasota's Digestive Health Center, says he's seen his fair share of unconventional objects.

"Paper clips, pens, pencils, rulers, razor blades," listed Olenec.

It turns out there is a medical disorder called PICA that is characterized by people who have an appetite for those kinds of things.  Studies show the craving can be caused by a lack of iron in the body.

While Adele doesn't get any iron out of the foam, she does prefer the dirtier parts of the pillow.

"I like the darker parts because they have more flavor," Adele said on the show.

"What Adele would do sometimes is take the seat cushion outside and she would rub it in the dirt and then eat the seat cushion that way.  So, the question becomes, did she have a deficiency in her iron?  And was that what was driving her to ingest the seat cushions?" said Olenec.

While Olenec believes there is also a psychiatric component to Adele's case, at least she knows what she is doing.

"She recognizes that it is a problem," said Olenec.

Despite recognizing her addiction, Adele admitted on the show, "I love eating couch cushions."

Olenec performed a procedure on Adele but he did not find any foam in her stomach.  He says it is possible that if she is swallowing the cushions, she may have been able to digest it.

Still, he urges against eating non-food items because it can become very serious.



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