The inability to digest food is an accompaniment of many diseases. Acute inflammations and fevers give rise to it, and organic disease of the heart, liver and of the stomach itself. In these cases it is the original disease that needs attention, or rather the whole condition of the patient. But indigestion may be a disease in itself. The causes of it are manifold, as badly cooked food, over-indulgence in wine or tea, or bodily excess of any kind. Abuse of the sexual functions, especially selfabuse, so unhappily common among boys, is a prolific source of indigestion. Tobacco, unsanitary houses, poisonous wall-paper, anxiety and worry, are accountable for many cases of the disease.
Diagnosis.-Ulcer of the stomach and cancer of the stomach both give rise to symptoms of indigestion; but are attended with more violent pain and more persistent vomiting; and there is generally vomiting of quantities of blood.
In cases of cancer, if advanced, a hardened mass may be felt about the region of the pit of the stomach. Ulcer of the stomach is most frequently met with in young women who are anaemic, and also in persons who have sustained severe burns.
General Treatment. – This may be summed up very shortly-wholesome feeding and wholesome manner of life. For the first, the article on DIET may be referred to; for the second, every one must do the best he can. There are many avoidable causes of dyspepsia, such as bad habits, which all may conquer if they will. Some are dependent for their livelihood on injurious trades; these will have to make the best they can of their situation, taking such care as they can, and living healthily when not actually at work. Dyspeptics should avoid all food that has been preserved, cold meat, meat cooked a second time, salted, pickled food, cakes, fruit pies, acids. For drink, cold water or toastwater, or weak china tea freshly made, with plenty of milk. If these disagrees, scalded milk (milk with boiling water poured into it in equal proportions). Cocoa or chocolate is admirable if it can be digested.
Medicines. – (Three or four times a day.)
– Dyspepsia from dissipation and late hours. When the tongue coated brown at the back, mouth dry, heartburn, flat taste in the mouth, constipation.
– When different kinds of food that do not agree with each other have been taken at the same time; after fat food, pork, sausage, or fat mutton, or anything fried in rancid butter, or pastry. Taste bitter, salt or putrid; food tastes bitter; distaste for tobacco. Accumulation of mucus in the mouth; scalding in the throat; eructations tasting of bile; a feeling of acidity or acridness in the stomach; aversion to warm food no thirst; diarrhoea.
– Stomach disordered; patient feels chilly; bowels constipated; tongue white or yellow; weight at the stomach as a load after meals.
– Everything turns to wind; much pain in the chest, eructations; coldness; blueness; slow circulation.
– Distention after food; white moist tongue; flatulence in the bowels; constipation.
– Yellow slimy tongue; “gone” sensation at the stomach; constipation, or constipation alternating with diarrhoea.
Sulph. 6 – Tedious cases of dyspepsia. This medicine should be given in infrequent doses. After the first, wait until improvement ceases before repeating.
Thuja 6. – When there is much flatulence, constipation irritability. In tea-drinkers and those who have been injured by vaccination.