Medically the review by Deborah Weatherspoon, Ph.D., R.N., CRNA — created by Bethany Cadman — updated on April 22, 2020

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Pagophagia is the medical term because that compulsively consuming ice cream or iced drinks. Children and also pregnant women frequently experience this, yet it can happen in anyone.


Many world who want to cool under or feel refreshed chew on ice or include it to a drink. Sucking on ice cream cubes can also help relieve dry mouth.

However, continually consuming ice, freezer frost, or iced drinks have the right to indicate an underlying problem that needs medical attention. The can likewise damage the teeth.

Read on to find the feasible causes of ice cravings and the accessible treatments.


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Share on PinterestEating ice may cause dental issues.
When a human being compulsively craves and consumes ice, the medical term for this is pagophagia. It is a rare kind of an eating disorder referred to as pica.

People who experience pica may:

have a discovering disabilityhave schizophrenia

Pica can also influence children who have actually experienced stress, neglect, or abuse.

A person with pica may have actually compulsive cravings for nonfood items, such as hair, dirt, chalk, paint, charcoal, or clay.

If these cravings space persistent and also last for longer than 1 month, watch a doctor, as clinical attention may be necessary.

Pica is typical in children and pregnant women, however it can construct in anyone.

Iron deficiency anemia

Some researcher have suggested a link between iron deficiency anemia and also craving ice, yet the underlying reasons remain unclear. for example, follow to one study, around 4% the participants there is no iron deficiency anemia skilled compulsive ice cream chewing, while 56% of those with anemia had the experience.

People with anemia have low level of red blood cells, i beg your pardon are necessary for transporting oxygen about the body. In world with steel deficiency anemia, a absence of iron is responsible for the low levels of this cells.

A human being with any kind of anemia might experience:

fatigue pale skindizziness or lightheadednessheart palpitationsbreathlessnesschest paina swollen tonguecold hands, feet, or both

One study that looked at human being with steel deficiency anemia uncovered that 13 of the 81 participants had actually symptoms that pagophagia. Acquisition iron supplements removed ice cravings in several of these individuals.

Other research says that stole supplementation may also carry out relief from other pica symptoms.

One theory about the link in between anemia and pagophagia is the chewing ice cream makes human being with iron deficiency anemia feel an ext alert. In a 2014 study, people with stole deficiency anemia that chewed ice cream performed much better on tests for attention and response time.

The researchers indicate that the coldness can increase blood circulation to the mind by constricting blood ship or activating the concerned system.

Pregnancy, menstruation, and also breastfeeding

Iron deficiency anemia may build during pregnancy, menstruation, and also breastfeeding. Researchers note that throughout these times, world have an boosted risk of compulsive ice cravings.

Emotional tension

Some world chew on ice to assist cope through emotional stress.

In one case study, because that example, a woman’s ice cream cravings showed up with stress related to her boy education and also continued ~ that.

There may also be links between pagophagia and also obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). People with OCD endure compulsive behaviors, obsessive thoughts, or both.

Nutritional problems

Underlying dietary concerns can exacerbate cravings for ice.

Because that is typical to add flavored syrups to shave ice, cravings for ice cream may, in fact, be sugar cravings. The is vital to eat flavored ice just in moderation, due to its high street content.

Dehydration

Mild dehydration have the right to lead to ice cream cravings. Suck on ice cubes can cool the body, quench thirst, and also moisten dry lips. The symptom of gentle dehydration are thirst and also darker-than-usual urine. Anyone who is enduring symptoms of much more severe dehydration, such together dizziness and also confusion, needs treatment. This problem can result in seizures and also be life threatening.


Eating ice cream is not commonly dangerous. However, depending on how typically the usage occurs and the underlying cause, a person may it is in at risk of:

Dental and oral issues

Consuming a many ice can damages tooth enamel and also cause cracks or chips in the teeth. This have the right to lead to further problems, such as boosted sensitivity to temperature and oral pain.

In one situation report, doctors related that a human who had chewed 30 ice cream cubes or an ext each day because that over 20 years — utilizing the teeth on the left side — experienced alters in the jaw and cavities on the side only.

People who continually chew ice may need dental work for cavities, including replacing lost fillings.

Anemia complications

If anemia underlies pagophagia, a human may have a higher risk of:

infection (in children)stunted growth or advancement (in children)cardiovascular problems, such together an enlarged heart or love failure

During pregnancy, anemia can injury the health of the mother and also fetus. That can likewise lead to premature birth or short birth weight.

Dietary problems

People who eat ice v flavored syrup may have actually an increased risk of weight gain and health troubles related to high street consumption.

See more: How To Find The Length Of A Cube, How To Find The Length Of An Edge Of A Cube

Other pica complications

Ice is unlikely to cause internal damage. However, pica may additionally express in other ways, such as in cravings because that nonfood items such together charcoal, repaint chips, or soap.

Eating these kinds of things can reason severe inner problems, together as:

infectionsbowel issues, including intestinal obstructions and also tearspoisoningchoking