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Ice Addiction Is Out Of Control

Posting Date: 05/24/2004

Q. I need help. Twenty years ago, I developed a craving for cornstarch during my second pregnancy. It disappeared with the birth of my son.

I thought that was the end of it, but some years later it returned for no apparent reason. It was pure torture, because I could not stop myself from eating it once I'd begun again. I never suffered from significant weight gain or constipation, but I felt that it was unhealthy.

My solution was to find something to replace the cornstarch and I found crushed ice to be a good substitute. Now I can't stop eating ice.

I feel like an addict. Sometimes, if I am very stressed, I will eat nearly the entire compartment of ice from the ice-maker in an hour or so. My teeth, tongue, throat, and stomach are suffering from all the ice that I eat, but I can't stop. I have tried and I can't.

I had a physical when the craving first returned. My CBC came back normal, so I was told to eat certain foods that were supposed to stop the craving. It's been several years now, and I can't stop. My voice has changed, my tongue burns and my throat feels scratchy. I suppose the ice has caused damage. I bought the refrigerator for the sole purpose of getting crushed ice and the blades cracked from over-use. What can I do?

A. It?s time to go back to the doctor. Strong cravings like yours for non-food substances are called ?pica.? This condition is often associated with a deficiency of iron or zinc and usually disappears when the deficiency is corrected.

The normal CBC (complete blood count) did not indicate an iron deficiency. Ask for a work-up on zinc. If that is normal, your doctor may want to look more closely at your iron status. We hope this helps you overcome your ice craving.

Q. Are there any herbal remedies that actually promote hair growth? I have heard radio ads that claim herbs can be used to treat baldness. Propecia is too expensive, but I?m interested in other approaches.




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