The passage of loose or watery stools more frequently than is natural constitutes diarrhoea. This is a consequence of increased secretion of the intestinal mucous membrane and intestinal glands, and may result from many causes, such as a chill, from excessive heat, sudden fright, vexation, burns or scalds. Diarrhoea is looked upon by some people as a cleansing process, and they are in the habit of taking purging medicines perennially with this object.
This is a mistaken notion. Diarrhoea is no more “Cleansing” than a cold in the head is. But it is not advisable to check a diarrhoea with astringents, for then the morbid process may be transferred to some other part.
General Treatment.-The quieter the patient can be kept when suffering from diarrhoea the better, and in severe cases absolute rest must be enjoined. The diet should consist of mucilaginous food, such as arrow-root, rice, sago, mutton-broth thickened with wheaten flour or sago. Boiled milk may be taken warm. The white of eggs beat up, just sweetened with a little sugar, is also useful in diarrhoea. Acid, coffee, tea, and such things must be avoided. Fruit, fresh or dried, eggs, poultry, and veal are bad. Beef-tea also is apt to increase the disorder.
Medicines.-(To be taken every hour or two until relief is obtained, and then less often.)
Veratrum alb. 3.
Painful, watery diarrhoea; summer diarrhoea; great coldness; cold sweat on forehead; nausea and vomiting.
Frequent watery stools, with griping pains; chronic, painless, watery diarrhoea; food passes undigested.
Following a chill.
With much colic; stools brown or yellow, pappy or watery. The colic is relieved by pressure or bending double.
Slimy diarrhoea, each stools of a different colour much pain.
In teething children, uneasy, want to be carried about constantly; cry, twist, and writhe; stools slimy or watery, or brown, smelling of rotten eggs. In adults when evacuations are green, watery, hot and offensive; bitter taste in mouth, bilious vomiting, griping, headache.
Watery yellow stools, painless worse in early morning.
Mucous bilious diarrhoea, sometimes mixed with blood; attend by screaming fits, ineffectual urging and trembling, great exhaustion, fetid breath.
Arsen. x.-Watery, yellow, acrid stools; great emaciation, anguish; chronic diarrhoea; debility.
-Diarrhoea coming on early in the morning; green, slimy, acrid, excoriating the parts; emaciation, hard, distended abdomen; chronic diarrhoea. See also CHOLERA.