All about Pica
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All about Pica

Around 10 to 20 per cent of children may undergo Pica at some point in time

All about Pica

Children are commonly mischievous and inclined to explore what they see in their surroundings. They have a tendency to often put things into their mouths like mud, chalks, dirt, etc. However, it is not normal if your child is eating mud regularly. Your child might be suffering from an eating disorder called 'Pica'. It is an eating disorder in which a person eats items like mud, clay, flaking paint and so on. This condition is very common in children.

According to Pediatric Oncall Child Health Care, as many as 10 to 20 per cent of children may undergo Pica at some point in time until they reach adulthood. There are many health complications related to Pica such as worm and parasitic infestation, intestinal obstruction or perforation leading to poisoning. It is suspected that emotional disturbance and deficiencies of iron or zinc may lead to this condition.

Determining iron deficiency in children:

If your child is suffering from Pica, there might be clues of iron deficiency. Look on for these symptoms like pale skin, spooning of nails, irritation, fatigue, shortness of breath or go for a blood test.

Credit: Sydney Gut Clinic

How to determine Pica?

If your child complains about any of these symptoms then it is a sign of this disorder:

  • Stomach upset
  • Stomach ache
  • Bowel problems

How to treat Pica?

To make your child free from this eating disorder, the first and foremost thing is to teach your child about edible and non-edible food substances. Your family doctor may prescribe some iron supplements and deworming agents. However, if your child quits eating such things, then there might be no requirement for further treatment.

According to, Pica cannot be prevented. Adequate nutrition may enable some children to keep from developing. Make sure to pay close attention to the eating habits of your child.