Are You Addicted to Chewing Ice Cubes?


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Do you crave chewing and eating ice cubes all day and night? If so, you are not alone. Ice chewing addictions are more common than you might think. Some people are so addicted to chewing ice cubes, they will actually have a special bucket of ice in their freezer and no one had better touch it. Others get addicted to certain kinds of ice cubes from specific restaurants and will order a glass of ice to go. 



Ice Cube Chewing Addiction


Sometimes a person can be so addicted to chewing ice cubes, they will have ice cubes with them at the dinner table and when they go to bed. They chew and eat ice cubes all day long because of this addiction. There are valid medical reasons for being addicted to eating ice.

Have you ever watched people crunching and eating ice cubes as if it was Captain Crunch cereal. My teeth hurt just watching them. Some people that are addicted to eating ice cubes can eat as much as 2 gallons of ice per day and more. And they cannot stop this addiction to eating ice.

Constantly chewing and eating ice causes damage to your teeth, tongue, throat and stomach. The damage to teeth can be chipping of teeth or developing cracks in the teeth that might not be detected for years. Some people report that their voice has changed because of their addiction to eating ice. With some people, this can also include the compulsion to constantly drink ice cold drinks. Many reported having extreme gas, stomach bloating and stomach pain because of their being addicted to eating ice.

Those who are addicted to eating ice even prefer certain types of ice and places that sell just the right ice. Many prefer the ice that the Sonic drive-ins sell or a certain grocery store gourmet soft ice. They have cravings for it all day long and will get into bad moods if they don’t have it. Those addicted to eating ice will warn others to stay away from their ice trays and going as far as having a bucket of ice with every meal.

It is reported that women are addicted to eating ice more than men are. Many women say that their first craving for eating ice was when they were pregnant and that sometimes it went away until they became pregnant again. Many teenage girls also reported being addicted to eating ice.

Pica is the medical term for being addicted to non-nutritive substances. This could be dirt, clay, coal, chalk, paint chips, erasers and even more dangerous items like glass and other harmful items. Pagophagia is the actual term for being addicted to eating ice cubes.

There is an old saying, that if you crave a certain food, you are low in those nutrients. Some doctors are now theorizing this could be the case with Pica and Pagophagia. At least in the cases of some of the items like ice and dirt since ice and dirt do contain certain nutrients.

Burning Mouth Syndrome


The majority of the people having an ice eating addiction also say that their mouths and tongue burned and that eating ice made them feel better. Other symptoms of burning mouth syndrome might also include:

  • Your mouth is dry most of the time.
  • Normal things taste differently some of the time.
  • You have a tingling in your mouth and on your tongue.
These symptoms are usually absent during the night and upon waking. The symptoms of burning mouth syndrome will increase as the day goes on being worst in the evening before bed, causing some to have a hard time falling asleep.

Medical Reasons For Ice Eating Addiction


The web sites where people discuss being addicted to eating ice reported going to a doctor and finding out they weren’t only anemic, but severely anemic. Studies have shown that people with iron deficiency anemia, 88% of them had an addiction to eating ice cubes. Anemia is a medical condition in which the hemoglobin or red blood cell count is lower than normal [1].

 For men, anemia is usually defined as a hemoglobin count lower than 13.5 grams/100 ml (milliliters). For women, anemia is typically defined as a hemoglobin count lower than 12 grams/100 ml.

Many of those addicted to eating ice report that their blood tests came back with extreme anemia to the point where some even had to have a blood transfusion. Most of the people with an ice eating addiction had hemoglobin numbers as low as 5 or 6, which is dangerously low. After being put on multi-vitamins and iron pills, many reported that the craving for eating ice went away, though the habit remained for some time, like many addictions.

Another theory is people who are addicted to eating ice are also low in minerals that are found in hard water. If the ice they are eating is made from hard water, they could be low in those minerals. The most common minerals in hard water are calcium and magnesium. Other nutrient deficiencies that can cause burning mouth syndrome are zinc, folate (B9), thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and Cobalamin (vitamin B-12). If you don’t already take a multivitamin, you should consider taking one or also taking a B complex supplement. 

Symptoms of Anemia


Some of the symptoms of anemia are the same as reported in those with ice eating addictions and include a burning mouth, burning tongue, sore tongue, swollen tongue and an overly dry mouth. Other symptoms are fatigue or easily fatigued, brittle nails and restless leg syndrome.

If you are addicted to eating ice, you should have your blood and hemoglobin tested immediately. There is the chance you are just addicted to eating ice out of an addictive habit with no underlying medical reasons.

 If you do eat ice because of the burning mouth syndrome and you do not have anemia, you should work with your doctor and or dentist to find the cause of this. Doctors report numerous reasons for burning mouth syndrome including prescription medicine, dental work, vitamin deficiency and cranial nerve damage.

Copyright © Sam Montana 2009-2014

Resources

[1] Annals of Internal Medicine


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