The word PICA comes from the Latin word for magpie a bird with a reputation for eating practically anything. PICA is an eating disorder in which a person eats things not usually considered food. Young kids often put non-food items (like grass or toys) in their mouths. Because they are curious about the world around them. But kids with pica will go beyond that. Sometimes they eat things that can lead to health problems.
A person with pica might eat relatively harmful harmless items, such as ice or they might eat potentially dangerous items like flakes of dried paint or piece of metals. This order occurs most often in children and pregnant women. It’s usually temporary, check with your doctor right away if you or your child can’t help but can help to eat nonfood items. Treatment can help you avoid potentially serious side effects.
WHAT SHOULD PICA PEOPLE LOOKING FOR
The behavior must continue for at least one month to qualify as pica. Craving and chewing substances that have no nutritional value. People with pica nonfood items regularly such as
THE UNUSED REMAINDER OF A CIGARATTE
They may also eat other nonfood items
CASE STUDY OF 13-YEAR-OLD GIRL WITH SPONGE PICA :
A 13-year-old girl from a middle-class family in Jordan presented with recurrent abdominal pain, found to be eating sponges since the age of # years. The girl had stopped eating sponges at the age of 5 year, the only revert to the habit at the age of 11 years, at the time when she was experiencing problems in the family. The girl obtained the sponge by tearing the furniture and swallowing the sponge. At the time of the presentation, the girl had constipation. She denied nausea, vomiting, or epigastric comfort.
CAUSES OF PICA
The two common causes of pica.
Pica often occurs with other mental health disorders associate with impaired functioning (eg. intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia).
Iron deficiency anemia and malnutrition are two of the most common causes of Pica.
There is no single cause of Pica. In some cases, a deficiency in iron, zinc, or another nutrient may be associated with pica. Usually from iron deficiency, may be the underlying cause of pica in pregnant women.
SYMPTOMS OF PICA
Pica may also be a symptom of iron deficiency anemia secondary to hookworm infection. Symptoms may also include a pinkish hue to the skin, particularly around the mouth. Unlike in humans, in animals also like dogs, cat pica may be a sign of immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, especially when it involves eating substances such as tile grout, concrete dust, and sand. Dogs exhibiting this form of pica should be tested for anemia with CBC or at least hematocrit levels.
Symptoms of PICA
- Stomach upset
- Weight Fluctuation
- Acid reflux
- Missed period
- Yellow skin
- Stomach pains
- Blood in the stool( which may be a sign of an ulcer that developed from eating non-food items)
- Bowel problems (such as constipation or Diarrhea)
In addition, pica symptoms sometimes increase when an individual is experiencing extreme stress and anxiety. Many pica people eating disorders begin in childhood and relate to childhood experiences.
HOW CAN I HELP MY CHILD WITH PICA
Put a favorite food on your child’s plate. Reward your child for eating from the plate and not putting the non-food items in his/her mouth. Talk to your children’s doctor having his/her iron and zinc status tested the low level of this nutrient can contribute to pica.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT OF PICA
Treatment should first address any missing nutrient or other medical problems, Such as lead poisoning. Treating pica involves behavior, the environment, and family education. One form of treatment associates the pica behavior with negative consequences or punishment. You should be honest with your doctor about the non-food items you are eaten. This will help them develop an accurate diagnosis.
If your doctor thinks your pica is caused by nutrients imbalances, they may prescribe vitamin or mineral supplements. They will recommend you to take regular iron supplements if you are diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia.
If a person with pica has an intellectual disability or mental health condition medications for managing behavior problems may also help reduce to eat non-food items. In children and pregnant women, pica often goes away ina few months without treatment. If a nutritional deficiency is causing your pica, treating it should ease your symptoms.
SOME TAKECARE AT HOME TO TREAT OF PICA
- Alert your healthcare provides.
- Teach your child what is safe to eat.
- Store craved items in a locked cabinet or out of reach.
- Tell the teacher and other caregivers that your child has pica.
- Do your best to ‘pica-proof’ your home
- Enrich your child’s environment in other ways
- Teach his/her to differentiate food from non-food.
- Consider working with a behavior specialist.