Mucophagy, a subgroup of pica is when someone eats mucus from the nose. They are aware that it is nasty and not normal but may not know how to stop.
Mucophagy and what causes it
Seeing a small child picking and eating the contents of his nose it not uncommon at all. We often let that child know the behavior is not acceptable and other children may tease and make fun of him. Eating boogers and mucus in the nose has always been considered disgusting and we learn at an early age. But some adults and children suffer from a condition called mucophagy. Mucophagy is the eating or consuming of mucus from the nose. When you read or hear about mucophagy you may also hear the word rhinotillexomania which means excessive picking of one’s nose. Mucophagy is believed to be a subgroup of pica. Pica is a disorder in which an individual eats and craves non food items such as sand, soap, rocks, and of course mucus. People who suffer from mucophagy may pick and eat the mucus and boogers in their nose in private or public and may find it difficult to stop. The individual is aware and realizes that this act is disgusting and is frowned upon in many societies.
Symptoms and Treatment
If you have ever read about pica you will know that the symptoms are basically the same for all of its subgroups. If someone is suffering from mucophagy some of the symptoms may include, having cravings and a compulsive urge to eat the mucus and boogers in the nose. Knowing that it is something culturally not acceptable but being unable to stop. Or an individual may start off by only eating the mucus and or boogers in private but later my start picking and eating them in public. If you or someone you know is suffering from mucophagy or any other disorder it is crucial that you seek treatment. It is also important that you don't feel ashamed and try to hide your disorder because if you do you may never get the treatment that you need. Mucophagy, like pica may develop because you are deficient in some kind of vitamin or mineral. If this is the case your doctor will only need to prescribe a supplement let’s say for iron if you are deficient in that and it could eliminate your cravings. If you are pregnant and are suffering for mucophagy or another form of pica you should contact your doctor immediately. This is because when you are pregnant your baby is taking a lot of nutrients away from you and may be leaving you deficient in one or more vitamin or mineral. There is also aversion therapy and it may work well on children and adults. This type of therapy helps by correcting your behavior. Because we all know that eating mucus from your nose is unacceptable but you may need a little help to stop this negative behavior and that is what aversion therapy is.