Pica is an eating disorder characterized by a compulsion to eat non food items. To be diagnosed with Pica, you must exhibit these cravings for at least one month. Pica often manifests itself during pregnancy.

Consumption of non food items including, but not limited to:
Baking soda, Burnt match heads, Cigarette ashes, Cigarette butts, Clay, Coffee grounds, Cornstarch, Dirt, Glue, Hair, Paint chips, Paper, Plaster, Rust, Sand, Soap, Toilet Paper, Toothpaste

If you suspect a family member or someone you know of having Pica you should encourage them to see an eating disorder specialist. As with most eating disorders, you will probably encounter resistance, anger, and denial.

Medical Risks:

  • Blockage or mass in the stomach
  • Chipped teeth
  • Infection
  • Intestinal Blockage
  • Iron deficiency
  • Lead Poisoning
  • Malnutrition

External Resources

Wikipedia documentation on Pica
Mayo Clinic Overview of Pica
WebMD Overview of Pica
Medline Plus Overview of Pica
ANRED Overview of Pica
Kids Health Overview of Pica