March 29, 2023

Pica syndrome: understanding the disorder of those who have an uncontrollable urge to eat inedible things, such as bricks and soap | health

Allotriophagia can cause cravings for inedible things, even toxic ones – Image: Unplash

Allotriophagia is a syndrome characterized by An uncontrollable urge to eat inedible things (And not the usual either). The disorder, known as Pica syndrome, causes patients to crave a variety of things, such as bricks, paper, cigarette ash, cotton, clay, feces, nails, glue, nails, and more.

To understand allotriophagy, the g 1 Talking to Adriana Basiloand nutritionist and healthy longevity researcher at Fiocruz Ceará Digital Health Lab, and with psychiatrist Saul Siakacoordinator of the postgraduate program in psychiatry in Sennar.

Lotriophagea or pica syndrome

Allotriofagia is known as pica syndrome, and as Adriana Basilo explains, the disorder takes its name because it refers to a magpie (also called pica pica), which “feeds indiscriminately” and eats whatever it sees in front of it.

Saulo Ciasca comments that the disease is characterized A very strong and irresistible urge to eat inedible things, and she [pessoa] You know you shouldn’t eatAmong the reports the doctor deals with in the office are cravings for cans Wall paint, wood, nails, glue, hair, nails, soap, feces, ice, eggshells.

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Both Adriana and Saulo point out that the fact that a person tastes something unusual or eats on schedule does not mean that he or she is pollinated. The diagnosis can only be considered for “compulsive desire for things” and this occurs for more than 30 days.

In addition, Ciasca says that the patient feels like a specific thing, “it doesn’t mean that he wants to eat everything, he just feels like something, even though he knows he shouldn’t eat that.”

what are the reasons?

“The first reports in the literature refer to a case involving a pregnant woman who swallowed soil,” says the nutritionist. She says that in addition to frequent cases in pregnant women, pica syndrome is also closely linked to iron and zinc deficiencies.

“Sometimes, even when a blood test doesn’t indicate anemia or iron and zinc deficiency, a change in eating habits actually improves symptoms,” comments Adriana.

Saulo and Adriana list the main causes of toxicosis:

  • malnutrition: In general, it is most common in people who are anemic or iron deficient.
  • PsychologicalPeople with schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or even depression.
  • Pregnancy: It is not a pathological condition, but it is common for pregnant women to have cravings for inedible things (lack of nutrition can be a secondary symptom).

Pregnant woman ‘eats’ soapy sponge and video made by groom goes viral – Image: playback / Instagram


Experts explain that the indication is to carry out a multidisciplinary treatment, which combines the services of a general practitioner, pediatrician or geriatrician, psychologist, nutritionist and psychiatrist (if the case is related to mental illness).

“There is no point for me to make an adjustment in the diet and, in the end, even supplementation, because you need psychological support for the person to understand the effect, especially in cases of trauma and depression,” the nutritionist assesses.

The psychiatrist also explains that the first step is to “investigate the organic causes” and take a “look at mental health”.

Ciasca also warns family members and people close to the patient to try to “keep these people away from toxic products to avoid poisoning” because, depending on the product, it can be very toxic and, in some cases, have surgical complications.

Britain’s Kerry Trebelcock says she has to take up a sponge to wash the dishes. She says she devoured about 4,000 sponges because of her addiction – Image: Reproduction
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