Pica – When To Seek Medical Assistance?

picaHypothesis regarding the causes of pica are plentiful. One theory is that being nutritionally deficit like iron insufficiency could elicit particular hankerings. Facts that back at least few of the pica cases are a retort to dietetic insufficiency – nutritional paucity mostly are linked with pica and correcting them mostly causes allaying of the symptoms. Few pregnant women, for instance, would give up the craving of consuming non-food substances subsequent to undergoing treatment for iron deficit anemia – a widespread condition noted in expectant mothers with pica.

But, not all are observed to respond to a correction of their nutritional deficiency, that could be the result of pica instead of due to the cause, and some individuals with pica do not have a known nutritional dearth.

Geophagia is a type of pica that occurs due to iron dearth wherein there is the craving for consuming earth based items like clay or dirt. One premise for elucidating pica is that in few customs, consuming clay or dirt might aid in relieving nauseous sensation (and morning sickness), curbing diarrhoea, increasing salivation, for detoxification and altering whiffs or taste sensitivity.

Few individuals have claimed that they get pleasure from the taste and feel of dirt and clay, and consume it as part of their regular routine (analogous to those who take to cigarette smoke as their daily habit). Few psychological presumptions expound that pica as a behavioural retort to stress or a hint that the person is having an oral fascination (gains comfort by putting such items in their mouth).

Another elucidation is that pica is a cultural aspect of some religious customs, folk medicine and supernatural convictions. For instance, few individuals in diverse cultures consider that ingesting dirt could aid in incorporating paranormal spirits into their bodies.

As neither of these theories elucidates every type of pica, doctors need to treat every individual by delving into the reasons that cause the condition.

When to seek medical assistance

In case one’s kid is at risk for pica, it is imperative to speak to one’s doctor regarding this. In case the child has ingested a dangerous substance, one must promptly seek medical assistance. One could call the Poison Control Center at (800)-222-1222 in case one doubts that the child has consumed something toxic.

A kid who continually ingests non-food substances could be at increased risk of developing grave health conditions like:

  • Lead poisoning due to ingesting chips in older constructions having lead-derived paints.
  • Bowel issues due to consumption of stodgy substances such as hair, cloth or other items.
  • Intestinal hindrance or damage due to items eaten that might lodge themselves in the intestines.
  • Dental damage due to consuming firm items that could be harmful to the teeth.
  • Parasitic infections due to consuming dirt or faecal matter.

Pica Treatment

  • Few children would need behavioural intercession and kin would require working in unison with the psychologist or other mental health care specialists.
  • Based on the kids’ age and developmental phase, the doctor would be working with the kid for teaching them the apt ways to eat. Medications could be prescribed in case pica is linked to considerable behavioural issues that fail to respond to behavioural therapy.
  • Screening for metal toxicity would be carried out and stool analysis to check for parasites would be done.
  • X-rays or other kinds of imaging methods could be performed for identifying what has been consumed or for observing bowel issues like any form of barrier.
  • For most situations, pica is a transitory condition that resolves as children grow old or after pregnancy. But in case of those with developmental or mental health issues it could be a long-standing issue.
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