It has a vast clinical presentation ranging from pallor, anorexia, irritability, pagophagia
, breath holding spells9 to febrile seizures10 impaired psychomotor and mental development 1,2,4,8.
ICE CHEWING The practice of compulsively chewing and consuming excessive amounts of ice is called pagophagia
Often associated with pregnancy, iron deficiency anemia, early development, and mental retardation, pica has been observed in post-gastric bypass surgery patients, all of whom presented with pagophagia
(compulsive ice eating), and in one case was associated with a bezoar causing obstruction of the GI tract (1), (2) With the dramatic increase in gastric bypass surgery and the required presurgical mental health evaluation, the consequences of failing to screen patients for pica behaviors can be devastating.
A study by Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago says that compulsive ice eating, called pagophagia
, could be a symptom of iron deficiency anaemia.
Pica Terminology Term Nonfood substance Amylophagia Laundry starch Cautopyreiophagia Burnt matches Coprophagia Feces Foliophagia Dirt, sand, clay Lithophagia Rocks, pebbles, gravel Pagophagia
Ice, freezer frost Plumbophagia Paint chips Trichophagia Hair
Several examples of pica include amylophagia (the consumption of starch), coprophagia (feces), geophagia (soil, clay, or chalk), hyalophagia (glass), pagophagia
(pathological consumption of ice), trichophagia (hair or wool), urophagia (urine) and xylophagia (wood).
1) reported in the November issue of SAMJ that pagophagia
(pica for ice) was present in 9 out of 16 patients with iron deficiency and some form of pica.
Clinical features of IDA include pallor, pagophagia
, irritability, anorexia and reduced attention span, alertness and learning12.