Craving for ice and iron-deficiency anemia: a case series from Oman

Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2005 Mar;22(2):127-31. doi: 10.1080/08880010590896486.


Pagophagia, or the practice of consuming ice, is a particular expression of the more general phenomenon of pica. Pagophagia is a complex behavioral phenomenon arising from the interplay of biochemical, hematological, psychological, and cultural factors. This compulsive dietary aberration is observed in many children and pregnant women worldwide. The authors report 3 cases of severe iron deficiency anemia with a serum ferritin level of 2-3 ng/mL, in which the patients were consuming 2 trays and many bags of ice per day. Following treatment with iron therapy, pagophagia spontaneously resolved within 2 weeks. It is a commonly missed problem. Pediatricians should be alert to this phenomena and its association with iron-deficiency anemia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / complications*
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / diagnosis
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / drug therapy
  • Appetite
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ice*
  • Iron / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Pica / drug therapy
  • Pica / etiology*


  • Ice
  • Iron