A diagnosis is made via a medical professional’s evaluation, and tests to check for possible complications.
Medical professionals usually diagnose pica by determining what the individual has been eating.
Pica is diagnosed when individuals persistently eat things that are not food for one (1) month or longer.
The disorder is not diagnosed in children under two (2) years old because at that age, eating such materials is considered part of normal development.
It is also not diagnosed when eating such materials is part of the individual’s culture.
If medical professionals suspect the disorder, they evaluate nutritional status to check for weight loss and nutritional deficiencies.
Sometimes pica is diagnosed when an individual has symptoms of a blockage in the digestive tract (such as severe cramping or constipation) or lead poisoning and is taken to the emergency department or to see a medical professional.
X-rays may be taken to check for blockages in the digestive tract.
Medical professionals may do blood tests to check for lead poisoning or stool tests to check for a parasitic infection.