Ice eating is a common habit in every age group. It feels cold inside your mouth and body when you take the ice. You can get rid of a dry mouth quickly. The benefits and long-term side effects of ice will be discussed in this post.
Regular ice intake or craving may show a hidden health problem within your body. You may experience tooth damage. Pagophagia is a health condition developed due to nutritional deficiency that indicates continuous or intense intake of ice in daily life. Discover the symptoms of pagophagia and its treatment.
Benefits of Ice
The use of ice is frequent in those countries and cultures having hot weather. Intake of ice during hot summer plays a vital role in cooling down a person. Ice may also be utilized for sports, preservation, cooking, and refreshment activities.
Following are the benefits of ice in your daily life:
- A healthcare professional suggests icing the injured or bruised area to decrease the inflammation in your body.
- If you are a pregnant woman and working in an open environment (labor).
- Storing a body part if it is cut off and requires attachment to the body.
- Ice cube helps to remove the pain that frequently develops in your stomach.
- Tired or swollen eyes can be refreshed through the ice.
- Help to relieve cramps pain in menstruated women.
- Help to soften your dry lips.
- Insomnia, a sleep problem developed due to stress, can be eliminated by putting an ice cube on the neck.
What leads people to crave or eat ice?
Following are the possible conditions that may urge anyone to more ice craving.
- Iron deficiency anemia
A high amount of ice intake is often linked with the common condition known as iron deficiency anemia. Anemia is a disease in which your blood does not possess enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells move oxygen to your body tissues. You have tiredness or shortness of breath without oxygen.
If you are dealing with iron deficiency anemia, this shows that you do not have a recommended amount of iron in your blood. Red blood cells will lose the ability to carry oxygen to your body if you have low iron levels. According to the research, ice eating affects people with iron deficiency anemia. It releases a high blood amount to the brain, which leads to more oxygen supply. The more oxygen supply in your brain may activate alertness and clarity of thought. You can schedule an online test to see the iron levels in your blood at an affordable cost.
Pica is an eating disorder. It leads to people eating one or more non-food items, including ice, paper, or ash. You will not be compelled to eat ice due to disorders such as anemia (a physical problem). Pica is a mental disorder and often develops with other psychiatric conditions. It may also happen in the case of pregnancy. Pagophagia is the category of pica, which shows repeated ice intake.
Symptoms of Pagophagia:
The leading symptom of pagophagia is eating ice. You have an excessive intake of ice cubes or crushed ice daily if you are dealing with pagophagia.
You may experience other symptoms of pagophagia, such as:
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Stress or depression
- Soreness on the tongue
- Skin becomes pale and dry
- Increased heartbeat
These symptoms do not develop by ice eating. But, these are linked with anemia, one of the causes of pagophagia.
Ice eating side effects
You may eat more ice than usual if you have high ice craving. If people have pagophagia, they can eat a bag full of ice. Some ice-eating side effects are:
Every day eating ice may lead to wear and tear in your teeth. You can damage your teeth’ enamel with time. Enamel has the function to develop the outer layer of each tooth and prevent the inner layer from any damage. You will feel sensitivity to cold or heat if you have an enamel disorder. You may also have a high risk of cavities in your teeth.
Problems developed by anemia
Anemia conditions can be more dangerous to your health if you do not get treatment. These health problems include:
- Difficulty during pregnancy
- Heart problems
- Growth disorders in children and infants
Problems developed by pica:
Pica leads to various complications depending on the thing you intake. Ice does not cause any problems internally, but some non-foods can create issues. You may also be urged to eat other substances in excess amounts if you have pagophagia.
What happens to your stomach when you eat ice?
When you take ice through your mouth, it will go to your stomach. Cold things such as ice or ice water, foods decrease the function of the stomach. The digestion will slow down in your stomach. Ice does not lead to any internal damage.
How to stop ice-eating addiction?
Everything in excess can become an addiction.
Ice eating may avoid or reduce in the following possible ways:
- Add more water to your diet.
- You can take iron supplements if you have iron deficiency. It leads to a reduction in the urge to intake ice.
- Add iron-enriched foods like eggs, leafy green vegetables, and bread.
- Treatment for pica may be more difficult. Take talk therapy if you are using antidepressants or anxiety medications.
- You can use shaved ice or small melted pieces instead of large ice cubes, which leads to less enamel damage to your teeth.
You can also talk with a dentist if you have tooth or jaw pain. It will help to prevent you from any severe damage. You should consult a healthcare provider if you have difficulty getting rid of ice craving problems.
Regular ice eating may show several possible causes. You can follow the above treatment steps to reduce excessive ice cravings or eating. If you want to identify the leading cause behind eating ice, a provider may use a blood test to understand the real reason for ice cravings.