Q. Despite regular deworming, my son craves for cement and not food. Why?

Answered by
Dr. Hardika Kothari
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Aug 18, 2020

Hello doctor,

My 9-year-old son has less diet than his peers since the age of 5 years. After regular deworming, he still craves to eat cement and tastes it. 10 months back, he was found anemic and was treated for the same. Now for the last five to six months, his stomach has come out (bloated) and pass stools every alternate days. He is 27 kg and his height is also less. He is not interested in eating.



Welcome to

As per the age of your child, his weight and height are fine. There is no stunning or wasting indicating any malnutrition. Height of both parents would help in the assessment of his growth potential. Kindly mention the height of mother and father also.

You have mentioned that he has pica, a condition in which child craves for non-nutritive substances like mud, cement, etc. It can happen when the child is anemic or has worms for which you have given regular deworming and iron for treatment of anemia.

Have the symptoms subsided or still persisting? Have you ever got him investigated for anemia? If yes, can you please share the complete blood counts for the assessment of hemoglobin.

For the last six months, you have mentioned about his bowel habits and abdominal distension. Is he having constipation? Passage of hard stools? Straining while defecation? Passage of streak of blood in stools? Are the stools bulky, foul-smelling, sticky? Does he also complain of intermittent abdominal pain?

You have mentioned that child is showing disinterest in eating. There are a lot of alternative and healthy options on youtube which you can try to overcome monotony in food. Try making dishes that are colorful and incorporate his choices of vegetables at least every alternative day. You are doing right by incorporating chapati as a replacement for rice. But you need not to rush. Give him time.

Since the age of 5 years, he is having allergic symptoms also. Is the condition controlled? Is he on any medications? If yes, please mention. Is there any history of asthma or allergy in family also? Considering he has chronic symptoms, he needs to be investigated.

Please do CBC (complete blood count) with peripheral smear, Liver /kidney function tests, thyroid profile, and ultrasound abdomen.

Kindly revert with the reports.

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