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Metal Pica: Hmmm, That’s Good—-Or Not

19 Mar

 

Pica is the persistent and compulsive eating of substances that have no nutritional value. Things like dirt (geophagia) or rocks (lithophagia), ice (pagophagia), paint chips, hair (trichophagia), paper (Xylophagia), metal, almost anything.

In the South, clay pica, more so in the past than now, still occurs. Red clay dirt is seen as having health benefits. It doesn’t, and in fact, the clay can bind iron, remove it from the body, and lead to significant anemia.

X-Ray of Geophagia

And oddly, ice pica can be a sign of iron-deficiency anemia. If someone says they feel the need to munch on ice constantly, a search for anemia is in order.

Metal pica is not common but cases do pop up from time to time. Kids swallow coins and paper clips and pieces of aluminum foil because kids do goofy stuff. But some people consume metallic objects in large amounts and, as should be obvious, this has significant health concerns. I mean, a belly full of metal can’t be good.

Such is the case with a 52-year-old man from whom surgeons removed over 100 pieces of metal.

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1 Comment

Posted by on March 19, 2018 in Medical Issues

 

One response to “Metal Pica: Hmmm, That’s Good—-Or Not

  1. Chris Norbury

    March 19, 2018 at 10:15 am

    *shaking my head* The things I learn on this blog! 🙂 And I always thought the M*A*S*H episode where Klinger attempted to eat an entire Jeep was just a bizarre fantasy of one of the writers. I guess it was based partially on truth, that humans will sometimes eat metal.

    Chris

    Liked by 1 person

     

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