how to help toddler with pica?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 02-25-2013, 09:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello, I have a toddler that has pica. She is 2 and a half and eats nothing but fuzz and fur. She is anemic now with very low iron. She started at 8 months old picking at her blankets and stuffed animals. And until she got constipated for 6 days and we took her to to the ER,I didn't know she was suffering. They made us give her a suppository and she pooped that night but it was all fur. She was never as constipated before. And she pooped hairballs almost for 5 days straight after that. Her Dr saw her and tested her iron and it was very low. She eats and picks fuzz no matter what I do. I've even taken away her fuzzy toys and blankets. But now she picks fuzz balls off of my shirts and anything she can get lint off of. Anyone have advise?? She sees a therapist in 2 days. She is also taking a multivitamin for her iron prescribed by the Dr. Her issue is so bad that the Dr said she could need surgery if it gets bad enough.
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#2 of 8 Old 02-25-2013, 09:43 PM
 
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I don't have advice other than to say "good for you for getting a therapist now."  Really, I think that is a great route.  I hope they're able to give you great help.

 

A friend of mine has a child with pica and chose not to see a therapist when the child was younger.  This was due to personal beliefs, financial issues, time constraints, etc.  However, the child is now a teenager and still has very severe pica issues.  She's fortunately getting professional therapy now and it's helping--but the mom definitely wishes she would have sought out professional advice earlier.

 

Good luck!

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#3 of 8 Old 02-27-2013, 06:09 PM
 
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Have you tried any alternative therapies? Homeopathy would be something I would look into. I have been thinking about your post often since I first read it. I am hoping for the best for you and your daughter.
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#4 of 8 Old 03-01-2013, 07:38 AM
 
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DD 15 months also has this problem. She loves eating fuzz, hair, lint, threads, fiber, paper, plastic, anything really. She has been doing this since she was about 6 months. Our pediatrician said that it was a nervous habit, and that by reducing her opportunities to eat stuff, she would grow out of the habit. Following his advice, she has definitely decreased, but not stopped. We have done lots of things to reduce her opportunities. We covered the living room rugs with huge white sheets. That keeps her from eating the rug, and we can also immediately see and remove any lint or hair or whatever has fallen onto the rug. I always wear my hair in a ponytail so that my hair does not fall on the floor, and to prevent her from pulling out my hair. I no longer dress her in wool or fleece. I don't wear wool or fleece or anything tempting either. We put away all stuffed animals. I am also giving her an iron supplement. Good luck!
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#5 of 8 Old 03-04-2013, 05:48 AM
 
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I would imagine you have read similar, but it may be worth it to change diet and see what happens if the iron supplement doesn't make a difference.

 

Malabsorption can result from inflammation, anything irritating the GI tract lining, such as gluten i.e. celiacs, bacteria imbalance, food allergies. WIthout iron absorption I could see how it would create pica. It is also difficult to absorb medications and supplements, not just food nurtients. So if the iron supplement doesn't make a difference it may not be that it's not working it could just be that that it is not being absorbed.

 

Quote:

Iron deficiency and pica have been reported in association with celiac disease in childhood.[11,12] Santos and Werlin[11] describe 4 patients who each complained of vague abdominal symptoms of intermittent pain and loose stools. All patients required biopsy to confirm the diagnosis of celiac disease. The gastrointestinal symptoms, pica symptoms, and anemia all resolved with institution of a gluten-free diet. The authors believed that, in these cases, the pica was secondary to the iron deficiency, and the anemia was due to malabsorption. Cases such as these lend support to the theory that pica results from a low iron state.

 

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/405804_6

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#6 of 8 Old 02-24-2014, 09:12 AM
 
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My daughter is 3 now and we have been struggling with pica for the last 2 years or so. In November she was taken to ER after eating a large string from a towel. She normally eats anything paper/tissue related and its so bad that we can't keep any in our kitchen, bathroom or anywhere. She was also found to be anemic and so had iron and multivitamin supplements every day. She got a lot better for a few weeks and now is back to eating it whenever she can, for example she eats our mail when it's posted! She also hides it, to eat later when I am not looking. She's very intelligent and is a perfect height and weight and I just don't know what to do next to cure this. Her nursery is now making me aware how bad it is there too. Will she grow out of it? Or will this be a life long struggle, I don't know but I just want to help her before this gets any worse and willing to try anything. Any advice or experience anyone can offer would be great. Thanks
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#7 of 8 Old 02-25-2014, 02:11 AM
 
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My understanding is it means she is deficient in a vitamin/mineral. You said iron, I would get her checked out again. Also I would look into why she is deficient? She could have a food allergy causing gut problems in turn causing lack of absorption in certain vitamin and minerals.

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#8 of 8 Old 03-04-2014, 07:15 PM
 
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My now 8 year old suffered from this when he was a toddler. He would get anxiety that would cause him to pick and eat carpet fibers. He has outgrown it.
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