The body has an interesting way of getting what it needs from the things you drink and/or eat, no matter what it is. The crunching of ice, the smell/ taste of cornstarch or clay, Yes I said CLAY!!! the urgent craving that can’t be satisfied unless you eat the exact thing that you’re craving. The craving that never goes away is known as Pica and is defined as the craving or chewing of things that have no nutritional value. For years or even decades, women have craved things that seem unusual, but never knew what the cause could be, the name of it, or that the habit could be related to their health. Pica can be described by eating earth/soil or clay(geophagia), ice (pagophagia) and starch (amylophagia). My mom could have been diagnosed with geophagia and amylophagia, while I would just be diagnosed with amylophagia. I remember my mom keeping a box of Argo starch in our laundry room where she would satisfy her craving and I would follow just to see why she would drive to the other side of town for a box.
There are several causes of Pica:
- Stress or Anxiety
- Cultural or learned behavior e.g., eating GA clay/chalk
- Medical Conditions e.g., pregnancy
- Dieting or Health Disorder
- Mental Conditions and
- Nutritional Deficits (zinc/iron)
The purpose of this blog is to increase awareness of Pica and how it’s associated with nutritional deficits. In many cases women diagnosed and suffering from fibroids also suffer from anemia, and severe anemia can be associated with pica and crave some of the things mentioned above. What can occur from indulging in these habits? Parasitic
infections, intestinal blockages, choking, chipped teeth etc.
PICA is treatable especially when the deficit is addressed. Interventions to address PICA as it relates to nutritional deficits include vitamins, iron supplements, naturally shrinking fibroids or even surgical intervention to remove fibroids. When the issue, in this case iron and/or nutritional deficiency, Pica goes away.
It doesn’t matter how normalized Pica has been in your home or community e.g., chewing on ice or GA clay, Pica is a warning from our body that a deficit is present, and it needs to be addressed. If you have any of the craving listed above, a visit to your physician, holistic practitioner or acupuncturist is warranted so that you can start healing from the inside out and increase food with nutritional value that heal and not promote illness.
Leave a Reply