Exciting news! CURA4U is now offering online urgent care consultations in 50+ states across USA. Click here to learn more!
For Physicians
Sign Up 0    

Eating Ice: What Does it Mean and Why is it Bad for You?

April 12, 2021 | Farah Jassawalla

Ice serves various purposes, including cooling, preservation, and recreational activities. It also provides a soothing effect when applied to inflamed areas. However, eating ice can have potential health implications that should be considered. This blog will explore the underlying causes of ice cravings and the importance of addressing them from a medical perspective.

The Multiple Uses of Ice in Medicine

Ice has multiple purposes in medicine. Not only can it be used for cooling down the body on a hot mid-summer evening it can also be used for the soothing effect that it brings to the body. For example, doctors may recommend applying icing to a bruised area to reduce inflammation. Additionally, ice can also be used for preservation in certain cases where a body part needs to be amputated and reattached.

Ice chips are also sometimes recommended by doctors for pregnant women who are undergoing the process of labor.

Ice is a staple for many people everywhere, and although it may seem harmless, eating or craving ice could be a sign of many underlying conditions and not just an indicator of your hunger.

Do People Crave Ice?

The short answer is yes! Ice cravings, known as pagophagia, are experienced by many people worldwide. There can be several underlying factors as to why someone craves ice, and we will go through some of them in this blog.

While cravings for ice are common during pregnancy and often considered normal, it's important to note that compulsive ice consumption may indicate a condition called Pica.

Pica is an eating disorder characterized by the consumption of non-food items, including eating ice. It is often associated with underlying mental health disorders. Therefore, if someone shows signs of compulsively eating ice, it is advisable to closely observe for any signs of mental disorders and seek professional help.

In addition, ice cravings may also be associated with iron deficiency anemia. Some researchers suggest that eating ice may temporarily improve blood flow to the brain, resulting in a soothing effect. Ice cravings in individuals with anemia can serve as an indicator for further investigation. If you suspect anemia or any underlying health issues, it is recommended to undergo a blood test for proper diagnosis.

Therefore, those who crave ice are usually suspected of having iron-deficiency anemia or Pica. One can get checked for iron deficiency through a simple blood test.

How Does Eating Ice Affect You?

Eating ice may seem harmless; it’s just frozen water, right? However, eating ice does have its fair share of consequences for your health.

One significant impact is on dental health. Habitually chewing ice can wear down the enamel, the protective outer layer of your teeth, leading to increased tooth sensitivity and potential dental damage.

Moreover, ice cravings associated with anemia or Pica can indicate underlying health issues. Therefore, it is important to consult a healthcare professional, and getting a blood test done would be very beneficial for the patient to check for iron deficiency or other potential causes.


Craving ice can have various underlying causes, including pregnancy, iron deficiency anemia, or the presence of an eating disorder such as Pica. It is crucial to differentiate between normal cravings and compulsive ice consumption associated with underlying health conditions. If you experience persistent ice cravings or suspect any related health issues, seeking medical advice for proper evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment is recommended. Additionally, to maintain good dental health, it is advisable to avoid habitually chewing ice.

Consider taking advantage of the comprehensive healthcare services provided by Cura4U. Whether you need a blood test, consultation with a healthcare professional, or access to other medical services, Cura4U can offer a convenient and affordable solution. Our user-friendly website lets you access your test results and medical reports online, ensuring you stay informed about your health status. By utilizing Cura4U's services, you can address any underlying health concerns related to ice cravings and take proactive steps toward maintaining your overall well-being.


Our clinical experts continually monitor the health and medical content posted on CURA4U, and we update our blogs and articles when new information becomes available. Last reviewed by Dr. Saad Zia on June 9th, 2023.

Recommended Tests

Recommended physicians