Like many people, I enjoy an iced drink on a scorching day. We all need that chilled refreshment from the heat–I certainly do. However, did you know some people have a strong urge and craving to chew on ice every time? Not because they are looking to relieve from the heat but because they have a compelling urge to eat ice. I found that weird–I mean, why would someone want to eat ice all the time? However, there are people with that condition, and the term for that habit is pagophagia.
Causes of Pagophagia
Now, what causes pagophagia? It’s certainly not for the nutritional benefits – I mean there are more meals which go easier on the stomach and teeth than ice. Ice is not food anyway. So why would someone feel the urge to eat ice regularly? Well, I found a few reasons why.
Iron Deficiency Can Result In Pagophagia
Pagophagia is often linked to iron deficiency with or without anemia. Experts aren’t sure why, but there is an iron deficiency present in many cases of pagophagia. So look after your mineral levels people and ensure you aren’t at risk of being deficient in any essential minerals- iron included. Our diets should be tailored in such a way that it provides adequate amounts of these crucial nutrients. Calcium deficiency has also been suggested as a possible cause by some- even more reason for me and you to eat healthy and nutritious food.
Pagophagia May Be A Symptom Of An Eating Disorder
Another factor I found out linked to pagophagia was eating disorders. Here’s a possible scenario depicting how that might play out: A person has an eating disorder, making them extremely calorie-shy. However, they have to eat something to satisfy their hunger. How to eat something without increasing calorie intake? Well, some settle for eating ice, which by the way, contains virtually no calories. I think it’s a poor choice, though, as ice is non-nutritious, in addition to posing risks of teeth damage. Besides, ice is no substitute for food.
Pagophagia Is Often Linked To Mental Health Issues
A third possible cause I discovered had an emotional and mental health component. The compulsive desire to eat ice may be symptomatic of depression and other mental health conditions. Mental health conditions come with a broad range of symptoms, and eating ice has been pinpointed as a possible symptom. Several researchers also believe it may have something to do with bacterial infection or even possibly be genetic.
Can Anything Be Done About Pagophagia?
Okay, so pagophagia is a weird habit, but can anything be done about it? Well, while I was looking it up, many possible palliatives or even curative management showed up.
Treat Iron Deficiency
For one, if pagophagia is due to an iron deficiency, steps can be taken to boost iron levels in the body to overcome the nutrient deficit. These can include diet modification, iron supplements, or treatment of any condition likely to cause iron deficiency. When the iron deficiency is managed, the pagophagia due to it is hopefully put under control too. Other nutrients like calcium should also be boosted.
Expert Help With Mental Health Issues
If pagophagia is due to mental health issues, then behavioral therapy is a possible management option. The mental health specialist will likely offer guidance and support to help those with it manage it properly. Other modes of treatment may also be under consideration at the discretion of the mental health expert.
So there guys, pagophagia is not very common, but it does exist. I have shared some possible causes of this post’s condition and what can possibly be done about it. However, the best option for managing pagophagia is with a medical expert’s guidance, so always refer to them in situations where it arises.