this is a common phenomenon called PICA
in kids ages 2-3.
Some kids require behavioral intervention and families may need to work with a psychologist
or other mental health professional.
Depending on a child's age and developmental stage, doctors will work with kids to teach them ways to eat more appropriately. Medication may also be prescribed if pica is associated with significant behavioral problems not responding to behavioral treatments.
Your doctor may check for anemia
or other nutritional deficiencies, if indicated. A child who has ingested a potentially harmful substance, such as lead, will be screened for lead and other toxic substances and might undergo stool testing for parasites. In some cases, X-rays or other imaging may be helpful to identify what was eaten or to look for bowel problems, such as an obstruction.
Fortunately, pica is usually a temporary condition that improves as kids get older or following pregnancy
. But for individuals with developmental or mental health issues, pica can be a more prolonged concern.
Following treatment, if your child's pica behavior continues beyond several weeks despite attempts to intervene, contact your doctor again for additional treatment. Remember that patience is key in treating pica because it can take time for some kids to stop wanting to eat nonfood items