Pica: el síntoma olvidado

  • Germán Campuzano Maya Laboratorio Clínico Hematológico, Universidad de Antioquia
Palabras clave: pica, trastorno del apetito, pagofagia, amilofagia, geofagia, coprofagia, tricofagia, deficiencia de hierro, deficiencia de zinc, bezoar.

Resumen

La pica es un síntoma, no una enfermedad, que se manifiesta por la ingesta persistente y compulsiva de sustancias no comestibles como tierra, arcilla, tiza, jabón y materia fecal, o comestibles como hielo (pagofagia), almidón (amilofagia), papa, arroz y café, entre otras, en forma compulsiva y desenfrenada. Las formas más frecuentes de pica son la geofagia o consumo de tierra y la pagofagia o consumo de hielo. Similar a otros síntomas en medicina, como la fiebre y la anemia, la pica es un síntoma multicausal, siendo la deficiencia de hierro y la deficiencia de zinc las asociaciones más frecuentes, en donde el médico, antes que tratarla, debe identificar la causa íntima con la cual está relacionada y corregirla, como es posible en la mayoría de los casos en donde se presenta pica. La pica a pesar de ser un síntoma, de acuerdo con el tipo de pica y la intensidad de ésta, puede causar morbilidad y mortalidad. Dentro de las complicaciones relacionadas con la pica se incluyen los trastornos electrolíticos, la obstrucción y el daño del tracto digestivo por algunos tipos de pica, como la geofagia y la tricofagia, y la pica por objetos tan extraños como los plásticos (plasticofagia) y el velcro (velcrofagia). Su diagnóstico, que solo consiste en interrogar sobre esta práctica a los pacientes o a quienes los cuidan, en el caso de los niños y los pacientes con enfermedad mental, usualmente es ignorado durante la atención de los pacientes, muy probablemente debido al desconocimiento por parte del equipo de salud respecto a este trastorno o falta de tiempo en la consulta médica. El objetivo de este módulo es llamar la atención sobre este signo clínico cardinal, de tal manera que a partir de él se puedan identificar desde sus primeras etapas problemas latentes, aun antes de que se manifieste clínicamente la enfermedad de base o las complicaciones con ella asociadas.

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Biografía del autor/a

Germán Campuzano Maya, Laboratorio Clínico Hematológico, Universidad de Antioquia

Médico especialista en Hematología y Patología Clínica. Docente, Ad Honorem, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Antioquia. Médico Director, Laboratorio Clínico Hematológico.

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Cómo citar
1.
Campuzano Maya G. Pica: el síntoma olvidado. Med. Lab. [Internet]. 1 de diciembre de 2011 [citado 8 de diciembre de 2021];17(11-12):533-52. Disponible en: https://medicinaylaboratorio.com/index.php/myl/article/view/375
Publicado
2011-12-01
Sección
Hematología