Pica

  1. So I come to work today and take report for one of my patients. I am given the warning to not give her baby powder unless I supervise her. First thing, as soon as I walk in the door she asks me for baby powder. I give it to her, then do my assessment and sneak it accross the room I come back in about an half an hour later, there is white around this woman's mouth and half a bottle of baby powder there.

    Another nurse and I ask her what she is doing with the powder, she says her lips are dry, so she uses baby powder. Half a bottle. All of this is going on while she has a room mate in the room. The funny part is that the room mate's daughter watched her eat the baby powder, by the way, the room mate's daughter is a psych nurse in the hospital were I work. She was afraid she would soon see this patient on her floor.

    Has anyone else caught a patient eating anything weird?
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   NurseLatteDNP
    Not a patient, but my aunt did during her pregnancy. I don't even want to say what she ate. It is just crazy.
  4. by   medsurgnurse
    I don't understand. After you received a warning not to give the patient baby powder, apparently because staff knew she had pica; you gave it to her. And then left her alone with a full bottle of it. ??
  5. by   KnarfKS
    I forgot to say that she was diabetic and lost both her legs, so it wasn't possible for her to get it by herself across the room.
  6. by   Hairstylingnurse
    I have never dealt with pica(I find it amazing though when I read about it),but was wondering if someone could five her a few small powered donuts. Would the powered donuts cut her cravings I wonder.

    I 'm a type 1 diabetic so I know if I really need a few powered donuts I can take a little extra insulin. Is this a possibility for her?????? It seems much more dangerous to ingest baby powder than the powder sugar on a donut.:wink2:
  7. by   jnrsmommy
    It's strange what cravings people will have with pica. My sister has three kids (5, 4, & 2) and with each one of her pregnancies, she craved sand. Couldn't be just any sand either, had to be extremly light in color and taste a certain way. She said she and her ex would drive around for hours looking for the right spot. The same time she told me this, she also told me that our mother had told her that while she was pregnant with us kids, she craved grass (not the one you smoke ) All I can say is that I'm glad that whatever causes pica completely missed me.
  8. by   Hairstylingnurse
    Quote from jnrsmommy
    It's strange what cravings people will have with pica. My sister has three kids (5, 4, & 2) and with each one of her pregnancies, she craved sand. Couldn't be just any sand either, had to be extremly light in color and taste a certain way. She said she and her ex would drive around for hours looking for the right spot. The same time she told me this, she also told me that our mother had told her that while she was pregnant with us kids, she craved grass (not the one you smoke ) All I can say is that I'm glad that whatever causes pica completely missed me.
    Supposedly PICA is your body trying to get certain vitamins or minerals it is missing at the time. Don't know if its true but have read it in alot of different sources. It really blows me way though.
  9. by   SinfulCNA27
    Quote from jnrsmommy
    It's strange what cravings people will have with pica. My sister has three kids (5, 4, & 2) and with each one of her pregnancies, she craved sand. Couldn't be just any sand either, had to be extremly light in color and taste a certain way. She said she and her ex would drive around for hours looking for the right spot. The same time she told me this, she also told me that our mother had told her that while she was pregnant with us kids, she craved grass (not the one you smoke ) All I can say is that I'm glad that whatever causes pica completely missed me.


    You know that dust u get in ur car on the dashboard if you havent Armoroiled in awhile? A friend of mine used to run her fingers across it and lick it up while she was pregnant. I stopped riding in the car with her after awhile.
  10. by   daisybaby
    A girl I know ate chalk when she was pregnant. She was sitting in class one day, saw chalk at the board, and said she wondered what it would taste like. She grabbed it on the way out, and then couldn't get enough of it. She would go to Wal-Mart to buy chalk all the time. Once she delivered,no more chalk cravings.
  11. by   AZmom
    Quote from medsurgnurse
    I don't understand. After you received a warning not to give the patient baby powder, apparently because staff knew she had pica; you gave it to her. And then left her alone with a full bottle of it. ??
    Ditto that. Although.......a quick google shows that many baby powder manufacturers have switched the main ingredient from talc (toxic) to corn starch. Still not appropriate for digestion as I'm sure there are other potentially toxic chemicals added to baby powder.
  12. by   LoriAlabamaRN
    This site has an interesting perspective!

    http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acro...5579/pica.html
  13. by   mamajama
    I have a friend who is vitamin B12 deficient and she eats toothpicks Vicls and aspirin. Very strange we all worry about her.
  14. by   1Tulip
    Many years ago when I was a nsg. student in the very deep south, there was a notorious place on the Mississippi River Bank at which an amazing number of people harvested clay to eat. A pt. came in with bowel obstruction and her flat plat abdomen looked like a Barium enema that went waaay up into the small bowel. We asked her, and she said, yes... she like to eat the clay from that spot. But she preferred to batter it and then deep fry it.

    Sadly, she perforated and we couldn't save her for the subsequent sepsis. I sometimes wonder if they're still eating clay from that bit of river bank.

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