Eating sand is not likely to be very harmful to a person unless he eats very large quantities of it, according to the medical experts at NetDoctor.co.uk. However, eating too much dirt may cause abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting, according to AboutKidsHealth.
Many small children regularly eat sand or dirt, and in most cases, the habit is a harmless curiosity. Children eventually grow out of this habit, assures AboutKidsHealth. For children who seem frequently attracted to dirt and eat it in large quantities over a long period of time, take them to a doctor to check for any nutritional deficiencies.
Women sometimes experience unusual cravings such as eating sand or dirt during pregnancy, and these tendencies may be associated with a mineral deficiency. For those who are not pregnant but still experience highly unusual cravings, NetDoctor.co.uk suggests they may have a condition called Pica. Pica causes people to crave non-food or, in some cases, harmful substances. Pica is most commonly experienced during childhood, but high levels of stress, anxiety or psychological problems may cause the condition to appear in adults. Iron or other mineral deficiencies may cause a person to crave sand or dirt. The subconscious need to eat sand could result from a hormonal change.