Q:

What does it mean if you are craving crushed ice?

A:

Quick Answer

According to Andrew Weil, M.D., the craving for ice is linked to pregnancy and iron deficiency anemia. It's less frequently linked to a few other nutritional problems. The craving for or compulsion to chew ice is known as pagophagia.

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Full Answer

Dr. Weil explains that studies show that people who are iron deficient tend to want to chew ice because they enjoy the taste more than those who do not have an iron deficiency. Studies also show that ice is beneficial in relieving the pain of glossitis, a tongue inflammation that appears with iron deficiency. Craving crushed ice is a symptom of pica, an eating disorder that can result from stress and from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Iron supplementation is only implemented if medical tests confirm the existence of an iron deficiency.

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Related Questions

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    What are the causes of low blood iron?

    A:

    Causes of iron deficiency anemia, a condition where the body has low iron levels, include blood loss, insufficient iron in the diet, inability to absorb iron and pregnancy, according to Mayo Clinic. Lack of iron prevents the body from producing hemoglobin, which is a component of red blood cells.

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  • Q:

    Is chewing ice a symptom of anemia?

    A:

    Chewing ice can be a symptom of iron deficiency anemia but can also be related to pica, a condition in which people crave and chew nonfood items like ice, soil or paper, notes Mayo Clinic. Doctors don't know what causes some people with anemia to crave ice, as of 2015.

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    Why do I chew ice?

    A:

    Chewing ice, or pagophagia, can be caused by anemia, pregnancy and nutritional deficiencies, according the Dr. Andrew Weil. It can also be caused by OCD, stress or emotional uproar, or signal a developmental disorder in children, notes Dr. Weil.

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    What are the causes of low iron in the blood?

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    Causes of low iron in the blood, also known as iron deficiency anemia, include a lack of iron in the diet and blood loss during menstruation or as the result of a peptic ulcer, colon polyp or hiatal hernia, according to Mayo Clinic. Pregnancy can also cause low iron in the blood because the increased blood volume of the mother and fetus consume the iron stores within the body.

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