[Pica in Germany--amylophagia as the etiology of iron deficiency anemia].Z Gastroenterol 1998; 36(8):635-40ZG
Pica (pica = magpie) is an eating disorder that is manifested by a craving for oral ingestion of a given substance that is unusual in kind (nonfood items) or quantity (food items). Pica has been described as a world wide phenomenon, but there are more frequent occurrences of selected substances among selected groups--especially young children and black pregnant and nonpregnant women in the southern part of the USA. In Central Europe and Germany this syndrome has not been described in the moderne literature. For this reason, we report a case of pica for starch associated with severe iron deficiency anemia in Germany. Iron deficiency anemia and--less often-potassium and zinc deficiency are the main complications of an excessive starch or clay ingestion, followed by gastrointestinal obstructions due to gastroliths or impaction. Additionally, naphtalene poisoning (in pica for toilet air-freshener blocks), phosphorus poisoning (in matches pica), mercury poisoning (in paper pica), and lead poisoning (in dried paint pica) have been described.