We had a couple of patients in our clinics which developed ice craving. They loved to crush and chew on ice chips all the time. When they saw their physician for another reason, blood tests showed low level of hemoglobin, known as anemia.
It turned out that these patients had iron deficiency coming from blood loss from colon cancer. These iron deficiencies can lead to a craving to chew or eat ice chips. Iron deficiencies can affect the mucosa in the gut and mouth, and ice chips may relief some of the discomfort caused by iron deficiencies.
My patients diagnosed with anemia underwent colonoscopies and were found to have colon cancer, which in both cases resulted in a curative removal by surgery and successful adjuvant chemotherapy.
Usually iron deficiencies develop over a long period of time. When diagnosed it takes months to replace iron in the storage in the body. Iron is critical for red blood cell production. We usually use Slow Fe because it is better tolerated than other preparations which can cause stomach upset.
You need to know if you take iron supplements your stool may look black, similar to patients who have bleeding from their stomach. When there is bleeding in the stomach the stool is black because of its interaction with stomach acid. When bleeding is in the colon, the stool is red.
If you are abnormally craving ice chips, make sure you are checked for iron deficiency.