Ice chewing is a sign of anemia

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Cyborg Ninja
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   Posted 9/9/2007 3:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Just to let you guys know. If you find yourself craving ice like me or some other bizarre substance, then you likely have anemia. Take those iron pills and get those shots.
Current DX: Graves' disease, Crohn's disease, syringomyelia (C6-L1)

Dave D
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Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 404
   Posted 9/9/2007 3:58 PM (GMT -6)   

True. It's called Pica. People from third world countres will even chew on such inert material such as dirt (soil).

I have been there, cracking my teeth and seeing my hgb go down to 5.7. As I write, it just went from 14 to 11.6 and guess what I am chewing?

11.6 doesn't yet demand Iron infusions ( can't take oral) and vitamin B12 shots, but I'm on my way.

Dave D

Retired male in late 60's. Perforated Colon in 92. Diagnosed as Ulcerative Colitis in 93. Uncontrolled flareup in 97 dictated J-pouch surgery. 04 Capsule endoscopy diagnosed as Crohns not UC. Emergency surgery in 05 to remove lodged camera capsule. Biopsies positively diagnosed Crohns at that time. 12/06 Unsucessfully tried Naltrexone(LDN). 2/07 developed scleritis of the eye, tearing and detaching the retina. Treated with high doses of Prednisone. 6/07 Eye is healing and currently taking Entocort counting on the residual (non-systemic portion) treating the eye. In October if eye is stabilized, will need cataract removal (obviously old steroid associated). Then surgey to the back of the eye to remove scare tissue caused by the detachment. The upside? Right now I only have to clean one side (lense) of my glasses.
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   Posted 9/9/2007 4:03 PM (GMT -6)   
before i and my dr figured it out i did wint-o-green life savers, rolls and rolls a day.

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   Posted 9/10/2007 6:54 AM (GMT -6)   
Yep thats me lol ICE all the time and yep I am on b12 shots hmmmmmgo figure need to yak at doc I guess
I am down at 3 am to get ice .........

Thanks for this input
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frank j
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   Posted 9/10/2007 10:40 AM (GMT -6)   
Randy - that's amazing about the wint-o-green b/c i was absolutely addicted to them at my office.  People, literally, were talking about how I couldn't stop.  I went and bought, literally, rolls and rolls.  I had been chewing ice as well.  Well, by the time I was diagnosed, then had surgery, I was still chomping them down.  Fewe now (the flavor isn't as addictive) but that's what it must have been... i thought I was just nuts.

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Date Joined Apr 2007
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   Posted 9/10/2007 2:37 PM (GMT -6)   
I had a friend who craved "chalk". that must have been why.
32 years old. Diagnosed in 2002ish. 
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   Posted 9/10/2007 3:22 PM (GMT -6)   
Are you serious? My husband has been chewing ice forever - so much so that he actually wore his teeth down. Drives me nuts. Funny, none of his bloodwork has ever come back as low. Just how low does it have to be to get concerned?
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   Posted 9/10/2007 11:42 PM (GMT -6)   
I crave ice cubes all the time....even get up at 3 a.m to have my fix. Sit at the computer and suck on my cup of ice until it is done....go back to bed....up again 3 hours later....same thing...then go through up-teen cups in a day. Had some blood tests done this week ....wonder if anything will come up?
50 yr.old retired RN,Crohn's D for last35 yrs..severe esophagitis, migraines,strictures,urethral stricture,depression,probable MS.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 44
   Posted 12/3/2007 1:35 PM (GMT -6)   
Wow...that's crazy. I never knew that. I've chewed ice whole life and I've always been slightly anemic. I wonder why that happens. Can I just ask my doctor for B12 shots? If not, how do I get them? And, are they usually covered by insurance?
Female, 30. Diagnosed August 2007 with Crohn's Colitis. Asacol 400 mg 12 x day. Canasa, Cortifoam, just finished Prednisone (tapered from 60 mg). Orthotricyclin Lo, Calcium, Trinity (probiotics), and multivitamin.

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   Posted 12/3/2007 6:43 PM (GMT -6)   
that is true however I have many people in my family who chew ice on a regular basis and are not anemic at all. My mothre for once chews ice all the time and she is tested for aemia regularaly since she donates blood every time she is able too....not sure how many weeks you have to go between donating but that is the only time she doesnt donate is when it is too soon. I have always chewed ice and yes I am anemic but in the past when I was not anemic and not even in need of iron or b 12 suppliments I still found myself craving ice since I just enjoy it.

My late grgandpa use to sit on the couch and drink his iced coffee and eat that ice then just refill the glass with ice and chew on it through the day he even broke some teeth while chewing it and he was not anemic either so dont just assume you are anemic because you crave ice, life savers etc get tested before taking any iron suppliments since having too much iron in your system can cause liver toxicity

Also iron deficiency anemia can have symptoms like cold extremities (hands feet etc)
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Temp iliostomy February 2007, reversed June 2007, Ovarian cysts, migraines, allergies (incl food allergies) , oral allergy syndrome (diff than true food allergies), Asthma, Gall Bladder removed 1999, Inguenal hernia 1987

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 12/3/2007 6:58 PM (GMT -6)   
This is interesting. I consistently crave hard candy. It started when I started to quit smoking I also have extremely cold extremities so bad that my wife at times doesn't want me to touch her because my hands are so cold. My feet get colder. And yes I am slightly anemic.
Still not diagnosed. Problems since 2003

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   Posted 12/3/2007 7:27 PM (GMT -6)   
WEll I know I will eat ice all day long and even with B12 shots I still do it .......dont think I am getting or absorbing enough B12...........

My Doc did say that yes it is a definite sign of anemia

Be well and careful on the teeth with the ice

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Aimee =)
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   Posted 12/3/2007 11:05 PM (GMT -6)   

I always know where my iron levels are based on how much ice I am crunching. My mom also crunches ice due to iron deficient anemia.

I stopped craving it 2 weeks after my iron infusion for the first time in years!

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