At what age can pica be diagnosed?
Most cases of pica happen in young children and pregnant women. It’s normal for kids up to 2 years old to put things in their mouth. So the behavior isn’t usually considered a disorder unless a child is older than 2.
How can you test for the possibility of pica?
There is no single test for pica. Because pica can occur in people who have poor nutrition, the health care provider may test blood levels of iron and zinc. Blood tests can also be done to test for anemia.
What can trigger pica?
The most common causes of pica include:
- developmental conditions, such as autism or intellectual disabilities.
- mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia.
- cultural norms that view certain nonfood substances as sacred or as having healing properties.
- malnourishment, especially iron-deficiency anemia.
How does pica start?
What causes pica? There’s no single cause of pica. In some cases, a deficiency in iron, zinc, or another nutrient may be associated with pica. For example, anemia, usually from iron deficiency, may be the underlying cause of pica in pregnant women.
How can I help my child with pica?
- Alert your healthcare providers. …
- Tell teachers and other caregivers that your child has pica. …
- Do your best to “pica-proof” your home. …
- Enrich your child’s environment in other ways. …
- Teach her to differentiate food from non-food. …
- Consider working with a behavior specialist.
What happens if pica is left untreated?
Risks. Even though pica disorder can be hard to detect in some individuals, it poses serious threats that could prove fatal if left untreated. Substances ingested could be poisonous, contain toxic chemicals, or be ridden with bacteria.
Why do kids eat dirt?
It appears to have a behavioral basis, although some children may eat dirt or other substances because they are deficient in certain nutrients, such as iron or zinc.
How do you get rid of pica in humans?
There is no specific way to prevent pica. However, careful attention to eating habits and close supervision of children known to put things in their mouths may help catch the disorder before complications can occur.