-Disclaimer for Trisha- don’t read this if you are going to be eating. I guess that would apply to all.
So Gavin has been having GI issues. Dr. H has us keeping tabs every time he goes potty. We have to see it before he flushes. We also keep a food log of what he’s eating as well.
Gavin had another GI “episode” today. So I asked him if he has been eating anything that we haven’t given him to eat? He began nervously pacing so I knew this wasn’t going to be good. So I start questioning him. What are you eating? He says “nothing”. Eventually he says he has been eating paper. So we start the process again. What else have you been eating, I asked? “Nothing” he says, just paper. Later he tells us he is eating the tags off his stuffed animals. We do the exact same process one last time and learn he is still eating the stuff between his toes.
We were forced to gut his room. All he will have in there is him bed,pillow and blanket. We also found he had been eating some of his blankets so we got rid of those as well. I don’t know what the hell we are supposed to do. The scary thing is that these are the only things we got him to admit to. There are also large amount of paint missing off his walls and baseboard (not lead based). We need a “clean room” to stick him in. There is no way we can stay on top of him constantly, which he apparently needs.
I feel bad removing all his things be we have to protect him from himself. Gavin has no real quality of life. We have to control everything because he can’t be allowed to endanger himself. Right? Should we let him do what he is going to probably do anyway? Should we let him get sick and need his stomach pumped? Does he have control over this or is he just doing this to push me and his mother over the edge? Honestly I don’t know.
Anyone have experience with pica? Can we discourage this some how? Should he be punished for doing this? I have no idea what we should do.
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Cadence is the same way about not being able to regulate what she eats. She would eat 24/7 if I let her. I, on the other hand, rarely ever get hungry and only eat because I know I have to. I guess it must be an SPD thing?
First of all, I have to say that just because something is natural doesn't mean it can't hurt you. Make sure you check with his doctor before you give him any "natural" meds. They could react badly with something he is already on or just be generally bad for him.
Anyway, I'd say get his iron and zinc levels tested. You definitely don't want him eating most of these things you've listed because of the possible health risks. If getting him to stop means having to take everything from his room and even punishing him when he eats these things, then so be it; it is better than him getting really sick. Another option may be talking to his doctor and finding out what non-food items (if any) may be safe for him to eat and letting Gavin know he can only eat those items. I've heard of people eating chalk on a daily basis to help with the PICA cravings since their doctors said it was fine. Check with his doctor first on that though, I have no idea if chalk is actually safe.
I don't think he has control over the cravings. I have never had issues with PICA but I know with my SPD I am very sensitive to food (both taste and texture). Sometimes I will get a craving for something and that is the ONLY thing I can eat. If I try to eat anything else I will get sick to my stomach. It could be that his is craving the taste (for the life of me I have no idea why) or the texture of these things he is eating. And Cadence still "mouths" items like a baby does. She seems to do it absentmindedly. Maybe that is kind of what Gavin is doing and he just ends up swallowing the items without even realizing it?
I know it has to be frustrating and scary dealing with this and I hope you're able to find a solution for it soon.
You are correct about the natural stuff. It may be an option but we clear everything with his doctors first. I do think it's more of a compulsion for him then anything else.
I can't tell you how many trips to the children's hospital we've made over this. What tough is that he cannot regulate himself. So he would eat until he vomits. We have to keep tight control over what,when,when and how much he eats. He's hungry all the time. At least he thinks he is. I'm sure that plays a role.
The other part is that we are to tired to chase after him all the time. So things are slipping through so to speak.
Oh well, we do our best.
Thanks for your remarks. Have a great weekend.
Actually, PICA is associated with iron deficiency. Not just serum iron, but ferritin levels – both need to be tested. I wouldn’t try straight iron because it sounds like there are GI issues, but find one that has vitamin C in it or a dessicated liver product that won’t cause constipation. I am extremely sensitive, and am taking a product called Recovery 1 that is fantastic and I’ve suffered no belly issues at all.
Good luck – I know these sorts of challenges are so sad and frustrating.
I think the tummy issues may be related to what he has been eating. We are have a full blood workup done. All the docs got together and they added what they wanted tested so we could do it all at once. We also need to rule out celiac. We will defiantly be checking into those. Thanks a lot.
Hey guys.. it's been awhile since I commented on one of your blog entries. But my Maxie has PICA issues as well.. We've had horrific experiences with cat litter, his own feces, etc.. I know you guys know that PICA is horrifying as well as stressful and scary.
Recently, I read that PICA can be associated with a lack of calcium in the diet..or rather a lack of some type nutritional deficiency.. Go figure.. Perhaps you guys might try going the holistic way.. I recently started giving Max calcium pills.. so far we haven't had any episodes, but I don't know if it's just because we are having a good few weeks…
I know you guys are desperate, as am I. My max will put anything in his mouth.. ANYTHING.. we've been lucky because usually he doesn't swallow anything, he just ruminates it in his mouth.. But occasionally he has had some really bad stomach ailments..
Good luck with the PICA.. Try going online and seeing exactly what kind of holistic meds you can try on him.. It won't hurt him because they are natural.
Great to hear from you. I hope things are going well or as well as can be expected. This stuff really sucks sometimes. Gavin is having some major blood work done soon. They are going to be checking everything. Luckily his lead level is very low so at least we have that.
I hope you have a good weekend. Thanks again.