Written by Bindu Raichura
Is your child more fond of papers and dirt? Do you find them chewing these non-edible items more often? Then, it’s not just a phase of their childhood but is a severe eating disorder called pica. Pica in children is most often found in kids who are less than two years old. But, if you find the same disorder for more than a month, then it is time for you to book an appointment with the doctor. Let’s get into more insights about the disease and how it can be diagnosed and treated.
Pica in children is a medical condition where young ones are tempted to chew and taste non-edible items. Some children may eat paper, mud, dirt, paint, chalk, hair, and many more. When kids start to crawl, they tend to put everything they see into their mouths. So, when your kid puts something other than food in his mouth, it does not necessarily mean he might have pica. Pica is generally diagnosed in toddlers between 18 to 24 months.
So, as children grow, the tendency to taste non-edible items should change. If a child shows continuous signs of eating non-edible things for more than a month, the chances of having a Pica are higher.
Sometimes pica may lead to problems in the digestive systems and developmental delays. It may also be an early sign of Autism.
As parents, we have to be extra cautious about the signs and symptoms of pica.
The primary pica in children symptom is repetitive consumption of non-food items for more than a month. However, there are more symptoms that you can look out for in your child:
But what causes pica in children? The answer: the major causes of pica are not known. However, based on the history of cases, the following are considered as some of the primary causes of pica.
If left untreated for a long time, Pica in children can lead to further complications like:
There is no standard method to diagnose pica in children. The doctor might suggest several tests and evaluations identify based on the medical history and other factors. As a parent, you need to be straightforward and honest about your kid’s eating habits. This will help the doctor in proper diagnosis.
Before starting the pica diagnosis, the doctor might check for any existence of any other disorder. Example – Intellectual and Developmental disabilities and Obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The blood tests can reveal if your child is anemic or has lower zinc or iron levels. This is the most common diagnosis.
If your child suffers from digestive problems or intestinal bleeding, the doctor might suggest testing the stool samples to check the damage caused.
If your child has swallowed a non-food item, the doctor might suggest an x-ray or other imaging techniques of the intestines to evaluate the intestinal blockages. The doctor may also identify the potential toxicity of any consumed substances.
Like in diagnosis, even the treatment has no direct approach, but to figure out and treat the main cause.
Pica in children is easily cured in some instances. But, some others may require advance medical procedures and professionals to interfere. The lack of knowledge about pica is a significant reason behind adverse effects. We have discussed all the information about pica in detail. If you think your kid might have pica, what are you waiting for? Are you booking an appointment? Well, it’s better to intervene early in your child’s behavior to provide them a happy and safe childhood.
It is a medical condition where kids have an eating disorder. They tend to eat non-food items for a long time.
Pica may lead to choking, intestinal blockages, and poisoning. It also affects the kid psychologically. A regular therapy session with a psychiatrist will help the kid get over the effect of such a situation.
Medically, we can’t prevent kids from pica. We can identify pica very early with the following strategies.
But, with early identification and intervention on food habits, we can cure pica quickly before it creates more complications.
If your kid persistently chews non-edible items for more than a month, it is an alert reminder to get an appointment with the doctor
Pica develops in kids and may last for few months. But, in certain instances, pica may not completely vanish. It is very challenging to fight pica in kids who are intellectually and developmentally disabled.
Bindu’s background in English literature paved the way for her writing career. Her vast experience in content across different genres has proved her strong point as a successful writer.Read more.
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