Interesting and Inspiring

Pica – an appetite for substances non-nutritive

Pica is a medical disorder characterized by an appetite for substances largely non-nutritive. The name of the condition originates from the Latin word for magpie, a bird that is reputed to eat almost anything. Pica is seen in all ages, particularly in pregnant women, small children, and those with developmental disabilities.

metal, clay, coal, sand, dirt, soil, feces, chalk, pens and pencils, paper, batteries, spoons, toothbrushes, soap, mucus, latex gloves, ash, gum, lip balm, contact lenses, tacks and other office supplies.

Pica is more common in women and children. In addition to poisoning, there is also a risk of gastro-intestinal obstruction or tearing in the stomach. Another risk of dirt-eating is the possible ingestion of animal feces and accompanying parasites.

Picture – 1,446 items swallowed by a patient and removed from her intestines and stomach. She died during surgery from bleeding caused by 453 nails, 42 screws, safety pins, spoon tops, and salt and pepper shaker tops.


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