Pica Disorder

Pica is a medical disorder characterized by the consumption of items typically considered non-edible. It is more common in children than adults. Some commonly eaten items associated with Pica are starch, feces, soil, chalk, mucus, ice, hair, wood, and paper.

1,900 Questions
Pica Disorder

Is eating raw rice unhealthy in any way?

Raw RiceIt's not unhealthy, but the rice will swell in your stomach. If you eat a large amount, you could certainly have discomfort. In extreme cases, your stomach could even burst. This has actually happened to people, mostly children.

Here is more advice and input

  • If you soak the rice in warm water for a few hours, it will absorb the water and will not expand in the stomach.
  • It's also probably not the best for your teeth.
  • Actually, if you don't boil the rice, you will receive more nutrition. The only problem is the swelling of the rice inside your body. Don't eat too much!
  • Also try soaking with lemon juice or vinegar or whey. this will decrease the anti-nutrients.
  • If left out for more than 45 minutes, don't eat it or you'll get food poisoning.
  • Yes, eating uncooked rice is bad for you. I've had an experience with eating uncooked rice and I guess I just got addicted to the taste. I kept eating it and eating it, until my blood level just dropped. To the point where I had to be hospitalized for anemia because of eating uncooked rice. They had to do a blood transfusion on me because I was really pale. Take it from someone with experience: Eating uncooked rice is very unhealthy. Trust me... you will slowly get sick.
  • From my experience from eating dry rice yes, you do lose a lot of blood; something in the rice makes your menstruation longer. It just keeps making the blood flow out every time you eat dry rice.
  • I ate a pound of dry rice once for a bet. I was a bit tipsy at the time, but it was okay - though I felt a bit funny in the morning. I guess something was going on in my tummy.

If, however, you do eat raw (uncooked) rice:

If you do eat raw rice, chew well, very well (several minutes per mouthful) not just a few chews or even just a few dozen chews. This will minimize the swelling in your stomach (the swelling will already have occurred in your mouth while you were chewing).

Conditions and Diseases
Pica Disorder

Why do people eat talcum powder raw rice blackboard chalk and uncooked flour?

It's called "Pica"...Pica is an eating disorder typically defined as the persistent eating of nonnutritive substances for a period of at least 1 month at an age in which this behavior is developmentally inappropriate (eg, >18-24 mo). The definition occasionally is broadened to include the mouthing of nonnutritive substances. Individuals presenting with pica have been reported to mouth and/or ingest a wide variety of nonfood substances, including, but not limited to, clay, dirt, sand, stones, pebbles, hair, feces, lead, laundry starch, vinyl gloves, plastic, pencil erasers, ice, fingernails, paper, paint chips, coal, chalk, wood, plaster, light bulbs, needles, string, and burnt matches.

Although pica is observed most frequently in children, it is the most common eating disorder seen in individuals with developmental disabilities. In some societies, pica is a culturally sanctioned practice and is not considered to be pathologic. Pica may be benign, or it may have life-threatening consequences.

talcum powder,raw rice,blackboard chalk and uncooked flour all have a dry texture,people with pica eat these substances because they have become addicted to it,the way it feels attracts them,the sound the chalk/rice crunches when they chew,etc.None of these rare addictions to these substances have any life theatening dangers.it's okay to eat it,but not to any extreme dosages as "this is all i eat whole day"if u include these things in a normal diet they won't do any intesinal harm as the fibres are digestable to a good extent.

Pica is the obsessive eating and craving of a non-food substance. Although pica can occur in individuals of any background, a higher incidence of pica is associated with:

  • pregnancy
  • developmental delay and mental retardation
  • psychiatric disease and autism
  • early childhood
  • poor nutrition or low blood levels of iron and other minerals
  • certain cultural or religious traditions

Evidence suggests that there may be several causes of pica. One widely held theory points to iron deficiency as a major cause of pica. Several reports have described pica in individuals with documented iron deficiency, although there has been uncertainty as to whether the iron deficiency was a cause of pica or a result of it. Because some substances, such as clay, are believed to block the absorption of iron into the bloodstream, it was thought that low blood levels of iron could be the direct result of pica. However, some studies have shown that pica cravings in individuals with iron deficiency stop once iron supplements are given to correct the deficiency. Another study looked specifically at the rate of iron absorption during pica conditions and normal dietary behavior, and showed that the iron absorption was not decreased by pica. In addition, low blood levels of iron commonly occur in pregnant women and those with poor nutrition, two populations at higher risk for pica. Such findings offer strong support of iron deficiency as a cause, rather than result, of pica.

Other reports suggest that pica may have a psychological basis and may even fall into the spectrum of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Pica has a higher incidence in populations with an underlying diagnosis involving mental functioning. These diagnoses include psychiatric conditions like schizophrenia, developmental disorders including autism, and conditions with mental retardation. These conditions are not characterized by iron deficiency, which supports a psychological component in the cause of pica.

Cultural and religious traditions may also play a role in pica behavior. In some cultures, non-food substances are believed to have positive health or spiritual effects. Among some African Americans in the south, ingesting a particular kind of white clay is believed to promote health and reduce morning sickness during pregnancy. Other cultures practice pica out of belief that eating a particular substance may promote fertility or bring good luck.

The hallmark feature of pica, consistently consuming non-food substances, often does not present publicly. People may be embarrassed to admit to these unusual eating habits, and may hide it from their family and physician. In other cases, an individual may not report the pica to a physician simply because of a lack of knowledge of pica's potential medical significance.

Because the eating behaviors of pica are not usually detected or reported, it is the complications of the behavior that bring it to attention. Complications vary, depending on the type of pica. Geophagia has potential side effects that most commonly affect the intestine and bowel. Complications can include constipation, cramping, pain, obstruction caused by formation of an indigestible mass, perforation from sharp objects like rocks or gravel, and contamination and infection from soil-dwelling parasites.

Amylophagia usually involves the consumption of cornstarch and, less frequently, laundry starch. The high caloric content of starch can cause excessive weight gain, while at the same time leading to malnutrition, as starch contributes "empty" calories lacking vitamins and minerals. Amylophagia during pregnancy can mimic gestational diabetes in its presentation and even in its potential harmful effects on the fetus.

Pica involving the ingestion of substances such as lead-based paint or paper containing mercury can cause symptoms of toxic poisoning. Compulsive consumption of even a seemingly harmless substance like ice (pagophagia) can have negative side effects, including decreased absorption of nutrients by the gut.

In order for the diagnosis of pica to be made, there must be a history of persistent consumption of a non-food substance continuing for a minimum period of one month. Infants and toddlers are typically excluded from this diagnosis since mouthing objects is a normal developmental behavior at that age. Individuals with mental retardation who function at or below an approximate cognitive level of 18 months may also be exempt form this diagnosis.

Pica is most often diagnosed when a report of such behaviors can be provided by the patient or documented by another individual. In other cases, pica is diagnosed after studies have been performed to assess the presenting symptoms. For example, imaging studies ordered to assess severe gastrointestinal complaints may reveal intestinal blockage with an opaque substance; such a finding is suggestive of pica. Biopsy of intestinal contents can also reveal findings, such as parasitic infection, consistent with pica. Pica may also be suspected if abnormal levels of certain minerals or chemicals are detected in the blood.

Treatment of pica will often depend on the cause and type of pica. Conventional medical treatment may be appropriate in certain situations. For example, supplementation with iron-containing vitamins has been shown to cause the unusual cravings to subside in some iron-deficient patients.

Medical complications and health threats, including high lead levels, bowel perforation or intestinal obstruction, will require additional medical management, beyond addressing the underlying issue of pica.

Because most cases of pica do not have an obvious medical cause, treatment with counseling, education, and nutritional management is often more successful and more appropriate than treatment with medication. Some therapists specializing in eating disorders may have expertise in treating pica.

The prognosis for individuals with pica varies greatly, according to the type and amount of substance ingested, the extent of presenting side effects, and the success of treatment. Many of the side effects and complications of pica can be reversed once the behavior is stopped, while other complications, including infection and bowel perforation, pose significant health threats and if not successfully treated may result in death.

When seen in children, pica behavior tends to lessen with age. However, individuals with a history of pica are more likely to experience it again. Counseling and nutritional education can reduce the risk of recurrence.

There are no known methods of preventing pica. However, once pica is known or suspected, measures can be taken to reduce further ingestion of non-food substances. Removing the particular substance from readily accessible areas can be helpful. Close observation of the individual with pica may limit inappropriate eating behaviors.

Hi, this is a very common proble, and is the same as people who are addicted to eating crunchy, chalky sweets such as refreshers and love hearts. Although eating these (and other sweets) can be linked to low blood sugar problems (the supplement chromium works like magic), it is often related to mineral deficiencies and taking a really good mineral supplement helps. Some good ones are made by quest and solgar as well as maximol by neways (agent sold only).

I think the reason why people like me do such a thing because we love the feeling of a dry plain substance in our mouth, and the taste is wonderful after you get hooked. Its like an addiction to cigarettes, but this is completely harmful

I have been eating talcum powder since I was a child. It has always been more intense during my two pregnancies. I only eat it occasionally, say 2 to 3 times every 3-4 months. Highly perfumed talc doesn't appeal so much but Johnsons is absolutely great. I've never considered it anything like an eating disorder but I have always disliked milk and often wondered if this had created a vitamin deficiency in me. When I eat the talcum powder it is because I have actually been craving it, as if my body is saying to me "your body is deficient in this mineral and you need to eat this now to overcome it" and it works!! I know that there is magnesium in talc maybe I have a deficiency in that?

Talcum powder is toxic, and can cause cancer.

Please see this website: preventcancer (and look at cosmetics talc.)

and please get help immediately if you feel you can't stop eating talc!

While seeing an Alternative Health Practitioner I decided to reveal to her some of my cravings. She helped me to cut out sugar (Suggested Reading: Sugar Blues and Sugar Busters), which was one of the greatest parts of my healing process. Once, I got rid of the Coca Cola (used to clean blood off of highways, can devour a nail used in wood...as well as a whole steak), white rice (very high in sugar), and white bread I immediately started getting treated for my craving. My true craving was raw white flour. Be it weird, as it may seem, the body is one with the earth! Our body carries, or has a lack of many of the same minerals the earth possesses. I found throughout being treated that I had a certain mineral deficiency. After being treated once, the edema in my leg went down, I had more energy, I lost weight, my moodiness changed, and I wasn't craving for raw flour anymore. There is a danger in anything you do in excess, therefore one should use extreme caution and consult a healthcare professional to make them aware of these cravings. Results are going to vary and should not be a deterrent for seeking or continuing treatment.

I think the reason why people like me do such a thing because we love the feeling of a dry, plain substance in our mouth and the taste is wonderful after you get hooked.

At the age of 44 I developed a craving for Argo starch(the lumpy crunchy kind). I could not find it, so I went to the next thing white chalk. Thinking the chalk could not be healthy, I started eating Citracal calcium tablet(the vitamin D tabs were my favorites and only reserved for treats). At my peak I was eating 120 tabs a day(was too expensive). I knew that that much calcium and vitamin D was not good so I spoke to my doctors. The doctors' said my pica was iron deficient generated. When my iron levels are up the cravings lessen. Unfortunately a habit has formed. After a period of nothing I went back to chalk (cheaper). Now I eat chalk when I'm stressed, need comfort or for pure pleasure. I know this ultimately is not good for me and am actively seeking solutions.

I too think that this problem is an addiction. I first starting eating paper about 5 yrs. ago. I never thought anything about what I was doing until I was carring my son and could no longer resist the smell of new money at the bank that I was working. At first I would just get a few brand new dollars every other week, but by the time I was going on maternity leave I was buying a pack of 100 bills to last me until I got back. I was a addict. I could not control it, not even when my husband caught me. I bought a fresh pack for whenever I would be out for work ie. vacation or training. I tried to stop so many times but failed. I finally decided to leave my job because the temtation was just too great. I would just suck all the ink off of the money and then chew it up and eat it. This problem propted my husband to "out" me to my parents who convinced me to see my doctor. I have been diagnosed as anemic and I have an iron deficency. I am treating it and no longer eat money at all, however I still will eat a little plain paper every once and a while.

Modification of an earlier post I posted 2006 that eating paper may not be the result of Fe deficiency and cited example of me stopping when I was pregnant with my daughter only to go back when she was 1.5yrs. My reason being pregnant women usually cant get enough Fe. But looking back and now, I can say that it is indeed anemia that induces pica. I now know the reason for my not liking paper during pregnancy was because I was diagnosed as anaemic and put on high dose of Fe in addition to folic acid. Is possible then that my Fe level became really boosted and not being used to so much Fe I immediately got cured of pica. To test it further, I bought Fe tablets some six months after I resumed paper eating and started taking them. Guess what, like magic paper craving disappeared. I now use paper craving to determine when I am getting anaemic.

Pica Disorder

Which doctors treat pica disease?

Pica can be treated medically by a Psychiatrist (medications used can include low dose antipsychotics) or behaviorally by a good behavioral therapist including a Clinical Social Worker or Psychologist. Psychologists are specialists in behavior, cognition, and emotion.

Pica Disorder
Migraine Headaches
Sinus Infections

What causes numbness on your head?

  • I'm actually 15 and my entire head is numb right now, i have no neck problems or anything that my doctor and i know of. I can feel when something's touching my ears, but i have no idea if it hurts or not. there will be some brief periods during the week when i can suddenly feel things around my head. i wake up at 4:00-4:30 every day. i hate my german teacher:), and i have a 6 page paper due in 12 hours and im screwed. Hope i helped
  • Numbness on your head may be caused by twisting the neck while the body is flat on its back. This position is achieved most often while asleep; the head lolls to the side with the face facing the left shoulder, or when attempting to watch television in the same position. Blood is not allowed to flow through the neck's artery causing the numbness. The numbness generally goes away when the body is righted, that is, one trains themselves to sleep on their backs with the head in alignment, or the entire body is twisted to face the television when in a lying position. Numbness may also occur when the head rests upon the arm near the temple, but does not occur if the cheek, for example, rests on the same arm. The numbness generally happens within 10 to 15 minutes and the entire right side of the head at the top is without feeling until circulation improves. Circulation is achieved within 5 minutes.
  • I am a 24 years old male and it has been many years since my head started getting numb sometimes. I usually get it when I am under a lot of stress and or I fear of something bad going to happen. Mostly it lasts for days but sometimes it goes away in a few hours. And each time my head gets numb I think I have a tumor or something and then it makes it even worse till I see a doctor about it, and be told that its only the anxiety.
  • I also suffer from head numbness but it did not start till my car accident 6 years ago. Ever since then, every now and then I get the numbness and the doctors keep telling me it's a migraine What's Going On????? I went to several different doctors and they just don't get it it's not a migraine I can feel it.
  • I am a 23 year old male and I frequently experience numbness and tingling in my head, specifically near the back and on the right. It also causes a flight numbness or ache in my right ear. I sincerely worry this is a problem related to cell phone use as I've stupidly had one since I was 11. It seems to get worse when I think about it thought which makes me think I'm just being a hypochondriac, but there are other times I notice it out of no where. It's very weird that there are so many young people around my age with this problem.............
  • I GET THE SAME THINGS. i was cutting hair and i had to leave my client because i thought i was about to have a stroke, I'm only 24 years old... i had to get another girl to finish my hair cut as my forehead temple and cheek were all tight and numb feeling went to the doctor and she was like its a migraine. i have migraines a lot and i said no that's not what it is she says its called a Ora migraine. I'm going to look it up however i am still scared for tumors or brain cancer... and same thing as you i was in a car accident and it never happened before that....sometimes the back of my head goes numb and the center of my spine too... always on the left side i am booked in with a nuerologist!!!
  • Dude this is freakin' weird! I AM 24 ALSO and have the same problem with the numbness!!! Though I was not in a car accident I woke up one morning and my whole head was numb and I could feel the blood rushing back to it as I got up but tingling and pain was still there for the rest of the day! Then I figured it was me cutting off my circulation while I slept until it started randomly happening during the day and other random times! It never stopped and even as I type this my the whole back of my head is about to be numb now. . . THIS SUCKS AZZ!!! I have always had problems with my scalp cause it is tender in the center and ridiculously painful sometimes (sensitive) hair dressers call it acute tender head-a- something or other but the numbness is new and gotta go!!! I thinking Im about to have a stroke or heart attack or something!!! What the hell are we supposed to do?

I am a 24 year old female and am shocked to discover there are other people the same age with the same problem with numbness and tingling of the head. I too get anxious when I have symptoms of any sort and it took me a while to gather the nerve to even look up what might be the cause of the symptoms. I too was in a car accident when I was nineteen and suffered whip lash, but only recently started experiencing these symptoms. I am relieved to hear that what I am experiencing might be less severe then a brain hemorrhage or cancer. I really scared of going to the doctor. Please keep updating your posts about what the doctors say so I can also know what might be wrong with me.

How weird, I am also 24 and a hair stylist. I suffer from migraines, neck & shoulder pain from my job etc. For the first time today the back of my head went numb and very cold feeling, which to me was a bit strange. I have had a pretty medium headache all day today. I went home and went to bed and somewhat later my head started going numb and down my back in the middle around my spine with the cold feeling again. Prehaps my spine is out and pinching on some nerves??I have not been in a car accident before but have slipped and fallen straight onto my back hitting my head on wooden floor receiving whiplash then.

Finding a Neurologist and requesting a mri and a having your brain scanned will be the best thing you could do. Upon you getting that done, ask the doctor if they can look for Chiari 1 Malformation. More information on that you can find on: http://www.asap.org/index.php/disorders/chiari-malformation

You never want to assume or diagnose yourself.

Well folkes I am pushing 50 know and had this cold head for many years ,stayed away from dinning rooms that are air condintioned etc.

I wear a ball cap ever day and a bed cap every night to bed.

Been to a few Doctors.They believe I frozze my head to many times working up north. Not !

There is hope. It is mostly in the neck . Chiropractors helped some .

But what realy helped me is taking 2 Calcium pills 500mg each before bed time.

It took about 2 weeks to notice a diffence.

Must be because we have not been drinking enough milk ,more pop and beer etc.

Joints are working better ,maybe allowing more blood flow to the scalp now.

Still wear a cap in cool days,just don't need a hot shower or use of a hiar dryer in the morning.

Pica Disorder
Ingredient Substitutions

Can eating just plain flour or chalk hurt you at all?

No, it can not hurt you, but it's not particularly healthy either. Whole wheat or multigrain flour is much more beneficial to your body.

Back Neck and Spine
Pica Disorder

What causes a small pea sized hard lump in back of neck on hair line no pain?

Generally speaking, these "pea-sized" lumps are plugged up oil glands (there are a lot in that area)... The skin can over-grow an oil gland, but the glands continues to secrete oil; the gland will swell as the oil builds up --which becomes mixed with the internal skin cells sloughing off the inside wall of the "lump". When this happens, we call them "sebaceous cysts". (a cyst by definition is a fluid-filled sac)... They are not dangerous, but occasionally one will become irritated and sell even more. When it ruptures (usually because you squeezed it) a cheezy-sour smelling material will come out... The material is the oil & internal skin cells I mentioned earlier... The problem with these cysts is that once formed they will periodically swell & drain until a surgeon cuts the sac out. If they don't get ALL of the wall, the cyst will re-form and continue to periodically swell and drain...

Pica Disorder

Is eating nontoxic chalk dangerous?

Not too much, but it can depend. Ultimately, chalk is a rock. A very soft rock. But now, companies do not use real rock. They use artificial materials. It may or may not be life threatening, but I suggest whoever ate chalk should rest, not eat anything for a bit, go to the bathroom constantly, and call your doctor for help.

Pica Disorder

What are the side effects of eating mold?

Not really anything, depending on the type of mold though. It just tastes really nasty.

Pica Disorder

Can people eat basic magnesium carbonate gym chalk?

Yes, people can eat basic magnesium carbonate gym chalk. It would be a good idea to be near a toilet when you do. Magnesium carbonate works as a laxative and antacid. While it is not advisable to eat chalk, in this case it can be done, it just should not be done because it can have impurities and harmful substances.

Pica Disorder
Crayons and Markers

Eating Crayola chalk is harmful?

I would recommend reading the package looking for any details on what you should do if it's consumed. I have been using chalk since I was 4 years old and I don't think it's harmful to anything. Most likely they wouldn't make the chalk toxic if consumed.

Pica Disorder

How can you stop eating raw rice?

Replace the rice it with starchy food for example - wholegrain products, pasta and root vegetables in combination with protein rich food.

Pica Disorder
Sesame Street

Why do kids eat paper?

cause they like the taste of it

Pica Disorder

Will talcum powder dissolve in cold water?

have you tried it?

Pica Disorder

How can stop this habit eating slate pencil?

i will stop this eating slate pencil habit

Pica Disorder
Parenting and Children
Cold and Flu

How high of a fever is too high for a two year old?

Under the following circumstances a toddler with a fever requires immediate medical attention:

* A fever over 105o rectally, 103o armpit, 104o orally; * A conculsion (body stiffens, eyes roll, limbs flail); * Inconsolable crying, or whimping, nonresponsive or limp; * Purple or blue spots anywhere on the skin (cyanosis); * Difficulty breathing after you've cleared the nasal passages; * Neck seems stiff and resists having head pulled forward toward chest; * Onset of fever follows a period of exposure to an external heat source such as the hot sun or closed interior of a car in hot weather; * Suddent increase in temperature if overdressed * The doctor told you to call if he ever experiences a fever; * You have that gut feeling something is very wrong. Behavior is a better gauge of how sick your toddler is. He can be seriously ill but have no fever at all, or have a high fever with a mild cold.

Under the following guidelines, medical attention should be sought as soon as practical (call the doctor's office in the morning or stop by if allowable):

* The fever is over 102.6o rectally, 100.6o armpit or 101.6o orally; * He has history of a chronic illness such as heart, kidney, or neurological disease; * Febrile convulsions or have had them in the past with fever; * Exhibiting signs of dehydration; * Excessive crankiness, lethargic, unable to sleep, sensitive to light, crying more, not eating, pulling at ears; * A low-grade fever for a couple of days that suddenly spikes; * Fever doesn't drop with fever-reducing medication; * A low-grade fever with mild cold or flue symptoms lasting for more than 3 days; * Fever lasts longer than 24 hours when there are no other detectable signs of illness.

Pica Disorder

What do you call a person who eats paper?

It is called wierd

Pica Disorder
Greek and Roman Mythologies

What is the ownership of Argos?

Limited company

Pica Disorder
Migraine Headaches
Multiple Sclerosis
Medical Terminology

What is mild diffuse cortical atrophy age appropriate?

AnswerCortical (brain-related) atrophy means wasting away and decrease in size of gray matter of brain. Diffuse means the wasting is generalizedGeneralized anxiety disorder, not confined to one particular area. Age related may mean the result of aging (over 55-60).
Pregnancy Health and Safety (Prenatal Care)
Pica Disorder

Is chalk a suspension?

chalk is insoluble so it is a suspension because it cannot dissovle so there you have it folks from your pal Bugs bunny

Pica Disorder

How do you eat paper?

Pica Disorder
Rocks and Minerals

Will talcum powder dissolve in water?

Talc is insoluble in water.

Conditions and Diseases
Pica Disorder

What is the treatment for pica?

A complete medical evaluation to discover the cause of the persons craving a foreign substance. This will include, blood and urine tests. In some cases the doctor may want a chest xray to see if any foreign matter has entered the lungs.

Treatment is dependent on the cause of the pica. Anemia and zinc deficiency may be treated with supplements. Often pica is treated with counseling and behavior modification techniques. Some doctors/psychiatrists are advocating the use of psychotropic medications to treat pica associated with OCD.

AnswerI have recently started treatment for pica, and as the other answer stated, it has inculded a chest x ray and an investigation into the possibility of a mass collecting in my digestive system. I have also been referred to behavioral therapy, which i am about to begin properly. My GP told me that pica is often due to behavioral habits rather than lack of minerals or nutrients, but I suppose I'll have to see how it goes.
Pica Disorder

When was talcum powder invented?

Talcum powder is powdered talc, which is a rock. It's probably been used for more or less as long as there have been people.

Conditions and Diseases
Pica Disorder

If you have a pica condition and eating powder does it mean you can put on weight?

Allah give us a beautiful why we r spoiling it left this things and thak,s to Allah for good and healthy life

Pica Disorder
Cat Health
Cat Behavior

Is it safe to eat toilet paper?

Not unless you are from the unknown species Homo aegagrus :Toilet Paper is made up of a compound known as Cellulose. Which, as many may know, is an essential component of plant cell. Only Goats and other ruminants can digest Toilet paper because they have an enzyme cellulase which helps them to digest it.

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