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Presse Med. 2001 Feb 24;30(7):321-3.

[Rapid regression of prolonged pagophagia after treatment of iron deficiency].

[Article in French]

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Service de Médecine interne, Hôpital Jean Verdier, Bondy.



Pica is an eating disorder characterized by the irrepressible and elective craving for food and non-food substances. Pagophagia is a particular form characterized by an ingestion of ice, often associated with iron deficiency. We report a case of intense and prolonged pagophagia. We also analyse literature about the nature of the link between pica and iron deficiency.


A forty-two year old woman was admitted for severe anaemia secondary to iron deficiency possibly related to chronic gynaecological bleeding. A diet investigation revealed a pagophagia of about eighty ice cubes per day developing over five years. Iron supplement corrected the anaemia and the pagophagia disappeared in less than fifteen days without recurrence in the following year.


The disappearance of pagophagia after the correction of iron deficiency supports the theory that pagophagia could well be a symptom of iron deficiency.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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