Ever heard of pica? It’s an eating disorder that is characterized by craving and eating non-food items. It’s not that common, but it does affect some pregnant women. Small children and people with nutrient deficiencies are also at risk. It’s estimated that less than 10 percent of people suffer from the condition. It can cause very strange cravings though. If you’ve ever craved something that isn’t food, talk to your doctor. Eating items that are not food can pose health risks. Here are some of the strangest pica cravings on record.
Gross, right? When someone craves feces it is likely that they have a nutrient deficiency. Your body eliminates excess nutrients it doesn’t need when you have a bowel movement. In theory, that makes poop something that could satisfy nutrient needs. It’s not a good idea to consume it, but sometimes nature has no explanation for a person’s behavior.
Eating ice isn’t really that strange. We’ve all crunched a cube or two in our drink, right? However, for people who crave ice, there could be a biological reason for it. According to the Mayo Clinic, craving ice is sometimes associated with low iron levels, a condition called anemia. Thought there isn’t a firm explanation for why this happens, it pays to get your iron levels checked if you crave ice cubes.
3. Dirt or Clay
This one is commonly reported among pregnant women with pica. Like feces, many kinds of soil are rich in nutrients. A woman’s body might crave it because it subconsciously knows that it could help satisfy a deficiency. It’s important to be sure you’re meeting your nutrient needs during pregnancy to ensure the health of your baby. Don’t eat dirt though because it can also harbor harmful bacteria. Instead, talk to your doctor about a supplement.
4. Coffee Grounds
You love your morning cup of joe, but would you eat the grounds? Most people wouldn’t. However, coffee grounds have been reported as a craving among pregnant women suffering from pica. Doctors are currently stumped as to why women would want to consume the grounds. They might not be as harmful as some other non-food items, but they can’t be that good for you.
Have you ever smelled something you like, but that you would never eat? I sort of like the fresh smell of a newly painted room. However, for some people, that extends to a craving to eat the paint. This is very dangerous because paint is filled with chemicals. Craving paint chips can cause serious harm as some of them have lead in them.
6. Laundry Starch
This is another craving reported among pica sufferers who are pregnant. This is also another item that is very dangerous to consume. It can make a person very sick and it poses the risk of dangerous complications to an unborn baby. For some people, it’s the texture they want so looking for a safe food with a similar consistency can help.
There is no definitive explanation for why someone would want to eat hair. However, doing so can cause a dangerous mass of hair in the body that can block the intestines or wrap around internal organs, cutting off blood flow.