Pica Disorder: Meaning, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Hey all today we will be talking about an eating syndrome called ‘Pica’. It is like a continuous craving for something not good for human consumption. In the following post, we will be telling you about Pica in a description. 

Have you ever discovered craving for items which has no nutritive value! Things like calk, wood, sand, damp soil, cement even the lead materials. If yes then it can be a sign of Pica. Let’s see this.

What is Pica?

pica disorder

pica disorder

Pica is an eating disorder in which the individual develops a craving to eat something which has no nutritive value. Those things can be like ice, paint, bricks, calk pieces, soil etc kind of things.

Who can be affected by Pica?

Pica is not any bacterial or viral illness. It can be there in anyon, but kids below 5 are mostly seen with this. If a kid eats chalk, brick or sand once in a while or simply for the fun, it can’t be said pica.

Pica can be identified when the baby continuously eats those substances and gets addicted to it. Then this case can be called Pica.

Symptoms:

Affected kid or adult will regularly eat-

  1. Buttons
  2. Chalk
  3. Dirt
  4. Clay
  5. Soil
  6. Soap
  7. Ice etc

How it is caused?

There is not a single cause of pica. It can be there due to a variety of reasons such as-

  • Undernourishment and improper diet
  • Iron deficiency or Anemia can cause such in kids and pregnant women
  • Vitamin C deficiency
  • In small babies, it can be due to the overdose of milk, and lack of fruits, vegetables etc
  • Stress and depression in some cases

Is overdose of milk responsible for Pica?

baby drinking milk

baby drinking milk

It can be said true in some cases. Milk is called complete food and cow’s milk is regarded as best for 6 months+ babies. 9 out of 10 mothers, especially in rural India small babies are mostly fed milk or 90% of milk in their diet.

This leads to the lack of other essential nutrients like Iron, Vitamin C etc. Maybe the milk-fed baby looks stronger but can be affected with Pica. Due to the deficiency of minerals and other nutrients, they tend to eat things like mud, clay, sand, chalk.

Milk as complete food; then and now-

Milk is essential for everyone, especially for small kids. In addition to that fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts etc should also be there in a balanced diet.

Actually, when we were kids we were also fed lots of milk and that was correct also! At that time, adulteration in milk was very less and the milk was really a complete food.

But nowadays, especially in big cities its very hard to get pure and fresh cow milk. They have to rely upon packet milk which is also divided like full-cream, toned, double-toned, pasteurized etc. However, they can’t beat the milk of our times.

So today’s milk is unable to meet the nutritional requirements. Hence Pica is obvious!

Complications related to Pica:

Of course, when you are eating something unnutritional, it can cause serious complications like-

  •  Lead poisoning
  • Parasitic infections
  • Food poisoning
  • Hormonal imbalanced
  • Stones in body parts
  • Blockages etc

Treatment for Pica:

minerals rich fruits

minerals rich fruits

Following we will be telling you some of the essential points which are used to uproot and treat pica.

  1. Doctors often give Vitamin C and Iron supplements, like drops or suspensions for small kids.
  2. For kids, you can add beetroot, carrots, oranges, kiwis, melons, apple, gourd, spinach, potato etc in their diet. These will provide minerals and vitamins hence treating pica.
  3. Try to keep kids away from such substances like mud, clay. Maybe in the start, they will rebel but after a few days, their habit will be changed.
  4. In pregnancy, pica is common. For this, the expecting mother may add oranges, kiwi and other tangy substances. Once in a while, they can also take gol gappa, chat, tamarind etc but in limited quantity.
  5. In psychological cases, they should visit the doctor. Afterward, they may be provided with therapies in order to treat the illness.

So this was Pica. It’s a kind of illness, which goes slowly with the passage of time. Share this to all and do share your comments with us. Take care and stay well.

She is a learner and health conscious person. She is always interested in seeking knowledge regarding Ayurveda, herbal medicine and Yoga to cure any health ailments naturally.

She holds a Bachelor Degree in Alternative Medicine and interested in Naturopathy.

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