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Pica - Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention

September 9, 2022



What is Pica?

Pica is a condition in which people compulsively eat non-food items, such as dirt, ice, chalk, paint, or plaster. Pica can be a sign of a more serious condition, such as an eating disorder. Pica can be a symptom of a number of different conditions, including anemia, iron deficiency, and gastrointestinal problems. Pica can also be a sign of dementia or another mental disorder.

What are causes of Pica?

Pica can be caused by a number of things, including a lack of certain nutrients, a lack of appetite, or a mental disorder.

What are symptoms of Pica?

There are many symptoms of Pica, which can include eating things that are not normally eaten, such as dirt, stones, or clay. Pica can also include eating things that are not considered food, such as ice, paint, or glue. Pica can also involve eating things that are not safe to eat, such as sharp objects. Pica can be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as an eating disorder.

How to prevent from Pica?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to prevent Pica may vary depending on the individual's lifestyle and diet. However, some tips that may help prevent Pica include:

  • Limiting the individual's intake of high-calorie foods and beverages.
  • Encouraging regular exercise.
  • Limiting the amount of clay, chalk, or other mineral supplements the individual takes.
  • Avoiding foods that may be triggering (e.g., chocolate, nuts, spices, etc.).
  • Providing support and education to the individual about Pica.

How is Pica diagnosed?

Pica is diagnosed by a doctor by ruling out other causes of the person's symptoms. Symptoms of pica may include eating things that are not normally eaten, such as dirt, stones, or metal. A person with pica may also eat substances that are not normally considered food, such as paint, glue, or ashes.

How is Pica treated?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to treating pica, as the best approach will vary depending on the individual's symptoms and medical history. However, some common treatments for pica include:

  • Treating the underlying cause of the pica, such as an underlying medical condition or eating disorder.
  • Dietary modification, such as restricting the number of food items that the person can eat or avoiding certain types of food altogether.
  • Medication, such as antidepressants or anticonvulsants, which can help to improve mood and reduce seizures.
  • Behavioral therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, which can help to change the person's thoughts and behaviors around food.

When to consult a doctor in Pica?

If you are experiencing an urge to eat things that are not normally eaten, such as rocks, dirt, or clay, you may be suffering from pica. Pica is a rare disorder that affects about 1 in 100 people, and is most common in children.

If you are experiencing pica, it is important to consult a doctor. Your doctor may be able to rule out other causes of your pica, and may be able to provide you with treatment. In some cases, pica may be treated with medications. If pica is causing problems for you, your doctor may recommend that you stop eating the things that are causing your pica, or that you limit the amount of those things that you eat.

Who is most likely to be effected in Pica?

Pica is a condition that most commonly affects children and young adults.

What are severity stages of Pica?

There are three severity stages of Pica: mild, moderate, and severe.


Mild Pica is characterized by occasional episodes of eating non-nutritive substances, such as soil, chalk, clay, or ice.


Moderate Pica is characterized by an ongoing pattern of eating non-nutritive substances, and may lead to weight loss or malnutrition.


Severe Pica is characterized by a severe and persistent interest in eating non-nutritive substances, which may lead to nutritional deficiencies or even death.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which medicines can be used for treatment of "Pica"?

There is no definitive answer to this question as different people may respond differently to different medicines for the treatment of Pica. Some possible medicines that could be used for the treatment of Pica include antipsychotics, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and stimulants.

What factors increase severity of "Pica?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it can vary from person to person. Some possible factors that could increase the severity of "Pica" include: a history of eating unusual substances (such as dirt, clay, ice, chalk, paint, or metal), eating large quantities of food or drink, eating non-food items such as paint, plaster, or wood, or eating in inappropriate places (such as on the roof of a building or in a hot car).

Is there any vaccine available for "Pica"?

There is no vaccine available for Pica.

Which foods shoud be avoid in "Pica"?

Some foods that should be avoided in people with pica include chocolate, ice cream, and bread.

How long can "Pica" last?

Pica can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.


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