Urge to eat chalk stems from mineral deficiency

Urge to eat chalk stems from mineral deficiency

Gastroenterology is a medical discipline that deals with digestive health. Things like nausea and abdominal bloating are very common issues that fall under this discipline. However, there are also some rather strange gastro phenomenons that send people to see a doctor in this discipline.

Dr. Todd Sheer, an Austin-area gastroenterologist with Austin Diagnostic Clinic, says that an irresistible desire to eat chalk is perhaps the strangest gastroenterology symptom that he has seen in his practice, though it has a logical cause.. A desire to eat typically non-edible things is known as pica. This disorder if most commonly seen in children ages 1 through 6, and it affects 10 to 32 percent of children in this age group. This condition generally results from a deficiency in certain nutrients, such as zinc and iron. Correcting the deficiency and behavioral therapy are used to treat this disorder.

Dr. Sheer said that the strangest medical procedure he has performed would be a stool "transplant."  This simply involves implanting fecal matter from a healthy donor into the colon of a patient suffering from certain refractory colon infections such as Clostridium difficile.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, this infection results in about 14,000 deaths every year in the United States. Treatment, however, can be a simple matter of introducing health bacteria from the donor's stool, with the goal being to restore the normal healthy bacteria in the colon.


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