Dear Ask The Doctor: Hallo im a little embarassed about my question but ihave to ask, im worrried i might be hurting myself im a twenty six year old woman and i sometimes eat soft rocks (soap stone), roasted clay, kaolin, i dont know why but im addicted to it. and when i couldnt get them i started eating chalk( non toxic) and i feel horrible about it but i cant stop. i havent eaten any in a few months but i have thiis stomach aches in my upper stomach and im scared, what can eating rocks or chalk cause?
Dear Patient: Craving for substances like clay, soap stone, ice, cornstarch or paper, that have no nutritional value is termed as pica. This condition is often associated with iron deficiency anemia — although it may be associated with other nutritional problems as well. Why this craving develops is not well understood. In some individuals, pica is a sign of emotional problems, such as stress or obsessive-compulsive disorder. I would advise that you see your doctor for a thorough medical evaluation to help determine if pica is due to an underlying medical condition or emotional issue. treatment for anemia or cognitive behavioral therapy may be required depending on the cause.