Pagophagia: Causes, Treatment, and More

overview Can ’ t get adequate ice ? You may have pagophagia. You ’ ve credibly heard the term “ pica ” used to describe craving nonfood items like scandal, methamphetamine, or paper. What these substances have in common is that they don ’ t have nutritional measure. If you have the type of pica called pagophagia, you crave and chew ice. It ’ s normally not serious, but it may be an indication that you have a medical condition that needs attention.

Symptoms of pagophagia

Craving or chewing ice or drink in frost beverages is the most common symptom of pagophagia. In the short term, wanting to chew or eat lots of ice may not mean you have an issue. If your cravings last longer than a month, though, you may be diagnosed with pica. Pagophagia is related to iron lack anemia. As a leave, you may experience early symptoms of lack, including :

  • fatigue and weakness
  • pallor, which means skin that is paler than usual
  • chest pain, fast heartbeat, or shortness of breath
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • swollen or sore tongue
  • cold hands or feet
  • poor appetite

Causes of pagophagia

Pica cravings most often occur in children, but adults can develop pagophagia american samoa well. For exercise, pagophagia is sometimes associated with pregnancy ascribable to pregnancy-related anemia. In one analyze, researchers asked 81 people with iron insufficiency anemia to contribution their consume habits. Of the participants, 13 showed signs of pagophagia. Some of these people took oral iron supplements, which ended up stopping their cravings for ice. Another sketch suggests that chewing frosting may increase alertness in people who have iron lack. In other words, there ’ s a clear connection between anemia and pagophagia. Chewing ice may besides be a sign of an emotional issue. Some people may have symptoms of pagophagia if they are under a lot of stress. Others may have obsessive-compulsive disorder ( OCD ) or another developmental disorder. In these cases, chewing ice may be soothing in some way.

Diagnosis for pagophagia

If you ’ ve been craving and chewing large amounts of frost for longer than a calendar month, you may want to see your repair. Before you head to your date, try writing down anything about your cravings and habits you think your doctor may find helpful in diagnosis, such as :

  • how much ice you eat per day
  • how many weeks or months you’ve been chewing ice
  • other nonfood items you crave
  • any other symptoms you’ve been experiencing

Your doctor of the church will probably ask for your checkup history, and what medications and supplements you ’ re presently taking. They ’ ll besides give you a forcible examination. If your doctor suspects iron insufficiency anemia or another insufficiency, you may need a lineage test or other lab work to confirm.

Treatment to relieve pagophagia

If you have iron insufficiency anemia, treating the lack may relieve pica symptoms without the need for any early intervention. however, you shouldn ’ thyroxine fair start taking iron supplements without speaking with your doctor first base. That ’ south because using iron supplements when you don ’ t need them can cause your consistency to build up besides a lot iron. The human body can ’ metric ton get rid of excess iron. A buildup of iron may lead to cancer and damage your arteries and heart. Iron supplements can besides cause stultification. cognitive behavioral therapy ( CBT ) may help in cases where pagophagia is caused by stress, OCD, or another mental health consequence. The therapy may involve either cocksure and damaging reinforcements or guidance.

Complications of pagophagia

Eating big quantities of ice rink may harm your teeth by damaging enamel and crack or chipping a tooth. When your enamel is damaged, your teeth may become more sensitive or prone to cavities. Older dental work, like fillings, may fall out if you crunch besides much ice equally well. If your pagophagia is caused by iron insufficiency anemia, you may be at gamble for respective health issues. Mild anemia normally international relations and security network ’ metric ton serious. however, anemia can get worse without treatment, and may lead to :

  • Heart issues, like rapid or irregular heartbeat. When you have anemia, your heart has to pump more blood to make up for the lack of oxygen in your bloodstream. Your heart may enlarge, or you may even experience heart failure.
  • Issues during pregnancy, like premature birth or low birth weight.
  • Growth issues in children, as well as increased risk for infections.


Treating underlying iron lack anemia through supplement and early methods can help enormously. When treated, symptoms of pagophagia normally resolve without extra aesculapian intervention. Women who experience this type of pica during pregnancy normally find their cravings go off after birth. Learn more: 3 ways to prevent anemia in pregnancy » CBT can help people manage pica. Speak with your repair about getting a referral to a specialist who can help you manage try, emotional issues, or compulsive behaviors.

Preventing anemia

Eating a balanced diet may help prevent iron insufficiency anemia. You ’ ll want to include a thoroughly mix of iron-rich foods and others high in vitamin C. Vitamin C helps your body absorb plant iron. Foods that contain a good dose of iron include :

  • red meat
  • beans and lentils
  • millet
  • dark, leafy greens
  • molasses
  • dried apricots and peaches
  • pumpkin
  • sunflower seeds, pistachios, walnuts, and almonds
  • scallops, clams, and oysters
  • soybeans

good sources of vitamin C admit :

  • broccoli
  • leafy greens
  • grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, and other citrus fruits
  • kiwi
  • melons
  • peppers
  • tomatoes
  • strawberries

Speak with your doctor if you ’ re at high risk of anemia due to early factors, like taking certain medications, having intestinal disorders, experiencing rake loss, or being fraught. There may be extra measures you can take to protect yourself .

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