Major Things You Need to Know about Pagophagia

Pagophagia is an eating disorder which involves eating ice and icy foodstuffs in a compulsive manner. This disorder is also sometimes associated with iron deficiency anemia and can arise due to biochemical, psychological and cultural factors.

While it is true that eating ice is harmless, but it can also be a sign of a serious underlying problem. The problem is often seen in small children or pregnant ladies. The following is some more information Pagophagia which you may need to know about.

know about pagophagia

Causes of Pagophagia:

  • Pagophagia is often seen as a symptom of iron deficiency anemia even though this is not a confirmed cause.
  • This condition or eating disorder is also seen in those with calcium deficiency which is mostly common in pregnant women and older people.
  • It is also believed that a diet poor in iron content can trigger anemia and Pagophagia.
  • Another cause of iron deficiency which is loss of blood through menstruation can also lead to Pagophagia.
  • Gluten intolerance has also known to cause iron deficiencies and ice chewing symptoms.
  • A lot of people develop this condition in their childhood and it is carried out to the older years.

Side effects of Pagophagia:

  • Chomping down of ice on a regular basis can damage the teeth by making them week and this is one of the dangers of chewing ice. This can eventually lead to chipping or cracking of teeth.
  • Even though it is a very rare possibility but it is actually possible to choke on an ice cube which can be life threatening.
  • There are many cases of Pagophagia which can lead to malnutrition among individuals as by eating excessive amounts of ice can reduce the hunger and desire to eat other nutrient rich foods.
  • A lot of people who feel a compulsive need to chew on ice may limit their contact with other people due to low self esteem or inability to express their addictiveness to it.

Who all are vulnerable to Pagophagia?

  • Those who are chronic smokers often develop this inclination to chewing or eating ice.
  • Even those who consume alcohol in large amounts or regularly may be susceptible to this eating disorder known as Pagophagia.
  • It is often seen that those who are undergoing stress or depression tend to be drawn towards chewing ice more than other individuals.


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