We can see our children, especially at a young age, trying to eat foreign substances such as soil, paper, sand, stones, batteries and so on. At first, it is quite normal to think that your child is doing this out of curiosity. But if this continues in the following processes; Your child may be suffering from pica syndrome, which is a type of behavioral disorder. In our country, this disorder is seen more in Anatolia. Pediatric Diseases Specialist, one of the doctors of Meltem Hospital. Dr. Hilda Keykubad gives us the following informative information about children’s soil eating habits and pica syndrome…

The Urge to Eat Substances Such as Soil, Sand, and Metal in Children
A type of behavioral disorder that begins in infancy and continues until later ages is called pica syndrome. In this syndrome, children tend to eat unusual items such as soil, sand, stones, plaster, paint, batteries, paper and sponges. This is an impulse. And children tend to eat these non-food items out of impulse. Some of the underlying reasons for this are the lack of elements such as iron, zinc and copper in the body. With this impulse, the urge to compensate for the element deficiency in the body has developed.

What Effects Does Pica Syndrome Cause?
The biggest problem that this syndrome can cause is iron deficiency in the body, which will lead to anemia. Likewise, there may be developmental delay due to the deficiency of the element zinc. In addition, another negative situation is that children with pica syndrome may consume many foreign substances, causing great problems in the processing and digestion of these substances in the body. For example, swallowed hair can turn into hairballs, or the paint the child eats can lead to an increase in the amount of lead in the body. Finally, this situation may lead to malnutrition in the child, as the child will tend to consume foreign substances instead of the nutrients he/she should consume.

Correct Diagnosis is as Important as Treatment
The reason for anemia and developmental delay in children in pica syndrome is; The reason for this behavioral disorder is that foreign substances (especially substances such as soil and clay) ingested by children bind substances such as iron and zinc, obtained naturally from food, in the body. As a result, anemia due to iron deficiency and developmental delay due to zinc deficiency occur. Deficiencies that may occur in the body after pica syndrome are revealed as a result of blood tests. After diagnosis, a period of time planned by your doctor will play an active role in the treatment of this deficiency. Diagnosis and observation are very important in this disorder. After the diagnosis is made, a correct planning should be made. When mineral deficiencies in the body are identified, drug treatment should be started without delay, and this deficiency should be eliminated by effective planning with nutrients taken naturally.

To Prevent Iron Deficiency in Children;
When treating iron deficiency due to pico syndrome in babies or children, the ongoing process is directly proportional to the doctor’s planning. During this process, treatment should be supported with iron-rich foods as long as it is deemed appropriate. The most important of these foods are red meat group, egg yolk, liver, chickpeas, lentils and grape molasses. When these foods are given in an average of 3 portions per week within the framework of a certain plan, the iron needs of the body will be met. Among vegetables, spinach is rich in iron. In case of iron deficiency due to pica syndrome, these food supplements can be taken, but the main thing to do is to continue this process with your pediatrician.