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Monday, January 24, 2011

PICA (Geophagia)

PICA: Refers to eating of substances other than food

example:earth,dust,clay,sand,flakes of paints,plaster from wall,fabrics ice (pagophagia), etc.

it is frequent in first 4 years of life but may be seen in grown-ups as well.

These infants and children are often anemic and have mineral and vitamin deficiencies.Intestinal parasitic infestations are generally associated some develop pseudomotorcerebri. besides,there is risk of chronic lead poisoning which can be dangerous.Also, behavioural problems are common.some children may pull out their head hair(trichotillomania) and swallow them. lots of hair may collect in the stomach which becomes palpable as a big lump in the upper abdomen (trichobezoar)particularly after means.The perverted appetite in such children is generally a manifestation of psychological cause which should be searched.

Besides,psychological pica,vitamin and mineral deficiencies and worm manifestations have been

blamed as other etiological factors in majority of the cases.whether these are the cause or the result of pica is difficult to say.But the association is well known,it is therefore,necessary that treatment of these factors receives attention at the earliest.

Psychotherapy is of value in cases where pica is associated with psychosomatic problems.

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