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Geophagia

Case contributed by Dr Rodney Strahan

Presentation

Patient living in a refugee camp presents with abdominal pain.

Patient Data

Age: 20
Gender: Female
X-ray

High density material is present in the colon. No radiological contrast had been administered. No small bowel dilatation.

(NB: flowers and emblems over the pelvis and left upper quadrant are from paint on the patient's clothing)

X-ray

The patient's abdominal pain resolved after the administration of an aperient. Post-treatment X-ray shows marked colonic clearing.

Case Discussion

This patient presented with nonspecific lower abdominopelvic pain. Small hard masses could be felt on abdominal and PV examination. Ultrasound (not shown), demonstrated normal pelvic structures and where a mass could be felt, there was an echogenic structure with a clean shadow as would be seen with calcification, not gas.

Following the abdomen X-ray, the patient admitted to eating soil.

Geophagia is defined as the deliberate consumption of earth, soil, or clay.

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