Thursday, April 13, 2017

Health: Pica....the urge to eat unedible things..

Months back, when I read this weird news of man gulping down about 40 iron knifes within few months and their subsequent surgical removal....I got curious...
Why he felt the urge to swallow something deemed remotely edible?
Learnt its a disease..called Pica...where, the patient feels like eating non-nutritive   hair (trichophagia), paper/cardboard (papyrophagia), ice (pagophagia),  glass (hyalophagia), stones (lithophagia), paint, sponge, metal (metallophagia); earth (geophagia)...  even feces (coprophagia)....
An eating diorder other than the well known........anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa..
I remember, as a child, sometimes I used bite pieces of chalk...but that is the ignorance of childhood..
Adults indulging in such unhealthy habits is linked to nutritional deficiency manipulating one's brain or mental disorders with inability to judge right from wrong...
Have not we heard of people consuming bricks, lizards etc......
Its prevalent during pregnancy and the postpartum old women with multiple sclerosis..linked to iron deficiency anemia, mental retardation..
The ingestion of random non-digestible things can cause bezoars (obstrutions) in the gut..requiring bariatric surgery ..
Educating the poor  and iron-rich food might help overcome such abnormal  habits..

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