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During pregnancy, a woman experiences changes in her body that make her hate certain foods or even have a need for others. It is the case of pagophagia, or the uncontrollable desire to eat ice in pregnancy, a subject quite unknown by many, but it is very important to know about it, since it can occur during pregnancy and trigger pathological consequences that affect its development and evolution and, therefore, the baby.
It is a disease produced by compulsive, exaggerated and unavoidable ingesting ice or very cold drinks, even producing general discomfort and a lot of anxiety if it is not done.
The pagophagia It is included within what is known as pica syndrome, which is a type of phagia that consists of a digestive disorder and eating behavior, where we see the repeated or chronic ingestion of non-nutritive substances such as coal, earth, plaster, wool, ashes, ice ...
Many pregnant women experience the uncontrolled urge to eat ice. It has been concluded that if there are these pathologies described below, it is more likely that a woman has pagophagia:
- Iron deficiency anemia.
- Gastroesophageal reflux.
- Emetic syndrome (repeated vomiting).
- Gastritis or mucositis.
- Zinco deficit.
If these circumstances occur, an uncontrollable and exaggerated ingestion of ice will occur, as we described previously, and this has been explained, because apparently, the pagophagia greatly improves the symptoms that these diseases produce, such as weakness, fatigue, tachycardia, heartburn (heartburn) and inflammation of the lining of the esophagus and stomach. And it is proven that chew ice increases alertness in pregnant women and people in general.
Actually, to determine or confirm whether a pregnant woman suffers from pagophagia, the clinical and paraclinical symptoms, such as the laboratory (complete hematology, peripheral blood smear, determination of serum iron and zinc) help us to diagnose this pathology.
What are the clinical symptoms that determine if a woman suffers from pagophagia?
- If a pregnant woman consumes ice more than once a month in a compulsive and exaggerated way.
- Or it presents symptoms according to the pathology such as skin-mucosa paleness, weakness, fatigue, tachycardia, chest pain, dyspnea, hyporexia or vomiting.
And all this caused by the increase in the contribution of iron, which must do to the formation, development and nutrition of the fetus.
Although it may seem a priori that consuming ice in this way is harmless, the consequences or complications for both the pregnant woman and her baby can range from the mildest, to the most severe and even fatal. Among them we have:
- Damage to the pregnant woman's teeth: enamel cracks, tooth chips, cavities or loss of teeth.
- Mild or severe anemic syndrome.
- Heart disease.
- Spontaneous abortions.
- Premature births.
- Low weight of the baby at birth.
- Delayed growth and development of the baby.
- Greater probability of both to contract infectious diseases.
Pagophagia, in general, disappears at the end of pregnancy, but if it persists, the person should be evaluated by a specialist (in this case the psychiatrist) who will take the appropriate corrective measures with cognitive behavioral therapy.
If the cause is anemic syndrome, you should receive medical treatment with oral or parenteral iron, vitamins to contribute and facilitate the absorption of iron, eat a diet rich in iron (grains, red meat, green vegetables, pumpkin, paprika, molasses, nuts , carrot or beet) and consume foods with vitamin C (broccoli, tomato, strawberry, blackberry, guava, orange, peach, peach, kiwi or melon).
Have you met any pregnant with pagophagia? Have you suffered from it? Well, you know what it is about and how important it should be, especially because of the complications or consequences that this disease entails.
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