Chewing ice frequently, a warning sign of Anemia

Since the weather in Thailand is usually hot, it is not weird that people may want to drink cold beverages and chew on ice. However, if you carefully notice whether our friends or people around us who always chew on ice all the time or chew all day? or question yourself whether you are having that kind of behavior or not? If so, you are at risk of Anemia.

Symptoms of people with Pagophagia

Alway chewing ice and addicted to chewing ice all day. Cannot stop chewing or craving for ice all the time. Prefer chewing ice to drinking cold beverages. Even if the beverage is freezing cold, it cannot make them satisfied. They have to seek ice and chew it loudly and they prefer to chew it rather than just putting it in their mouth.

Preliminary symptoms of Pagophagia

  • Always consume ice
  • Want to chew on ice all day and cannot stop it.
  • Have no strength and feel dizzy 
  • Skin start to look pale and swelling in face and tongue
  • Weak nails
  • Chest pain and shortness of breath
  • Numbness in hands and feet and cramp may occur as well

A cause of Pagophagia

Pagophagia or the habit of chewing ice is a warning sign of Anemia. It is not the cause of the Anemia but the habit of frequent ice chewing  is a sign of iron deficiency. Research shows that more than 50% of patients with the disease often experience ice chewing, but should see a doctor for a thorough examination.

Another cause is stress from some problems related to emotions and minds such as stress, and obsessive-compulsive behavior, so they have to chew things up to relax.

Consequences of Pagophagia

  • Dental health problems

Ice chewing may make your teeth chipped, cracked, broken or fallen out.

  • Get diseases from unclean ice

Eating unsanitary ice can be at risk of contracting diseases, bacteria that cause flux and diarrhea, or infection with parasites from ice used in cooling fresh food as well as other toxins and chemicals contaminated in the unclean ice.

  • Complications from anemia

If you have anemia, it may affect the condition as follows:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • The heart is enlarged
  • Complications in pregnancy, such as premature birth
  • Infection increase
  • Delay of the growth and development of children


  • Try to restraint and slowly decrease the amount of ice consuming
  • Try changing from chewing to keeping it in the mount or change the type of ice from ice cubes to ice flakes
  • Eat food that is good for health instead
  • Supply more iron to the body from foods such as meat, eggs, green leaf vegetables, nuts, and innards.

Now don’t forget to observe yourself and people around you and see if there’s this kind of risky behavior or not. However, if you really can’t stop your behavior or cannot control ice chewing, try consulting with a doctor or psychiatrist.

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