The habit of eating objects such as soil, clay, chalk, coal is called as PICA syndrome in medicine. Although the name of PICA syndrome is not known much among the people, people tend to eat these substances due to iron, zinc and calcium deficiency. However, according to experts, this situation does not eliminate the deficiency of any minerals, and it can even cause constipation, parasitic intestines, mercury poisoning and even problems of the sexual desire in adults.
Stating that PICA syndrome is seen in 5-10 percent of children, Yeditepe University Koşuyolu Hospital, Pediatric Hematology Specialist Doctor Çetin Timur said that PICA syndrome can cause severe neurological disorders.
PICA syndrome is seen more frequently in societies with low socioeconomic status and education level. The reason for this is that nutrition is negatively affected compared to developed countries. Since their financial situation is insufficient, the consumption of foods such as red meat, fish, eggs, milk, yogurt and cheese decreases. The rate of PICA decreases by correcting the socioeconomic status of the people, improving their educational status, that is, educating the society in this regard and improving the economic situation of the society.
Explaining that mercury poisoning, severe neurological disorders, parasitic intestines and loss of libido can be seen in those with PICA syndrome, Dr. Çetin Timur continued: “You can get parasites, parasite eggs with soil, and you can be exposed to mercury or lead poisoning. The effects of these do not appear in a short time. As you eat, they begin to gradually come out. Severe neurological disorders may occur. Disorders of education, decrease in educational success can be seen frequently, that is, academic success decreases and the growth of the child lags.”
Addressing the effect of the syndrome in adults, Dr. Çetin Timur “There can be a serious loss of libido, or sexual insufficiency may develop in adults. So, it must be prevented”
Describing the symptoms of PICA syndrome, Yeditepe University Hospital, Hematology Specialist Doctor Çetin ended his words as follows: “In PICA syndrome or PICA disease, there is a persistent consumption of food without nutritional value for at least one month. These nutrients are mainly soil, clay soil. Besides, paper coal, ice, match heads, whitewash, cement. The main cause of PICA syndrome is nutritional deficiency, and especially iron deficiency, and as a result, individuals and children tend to eat different objects”