Change of Life in Women; Its Ills and Ailings
Of course we do not except to find any virus-disease from without as peculiar to the Change of Life. The English name – change of life – is singularly appropriate:it is what its name implies and nothing more. The woman who is really in sound health – i.e., of good constitution – is quite a swell at and after the change as before.
A good constitution does not then become bad. It is, as it were, sleeping dogs that then wake up to bark and bite; hence it is that we must early look to the principle of heredity to get correct and helpful views of the troubles that be set a woman at the change, notably where they have lain more or less latent prior thereto. Manifestations of gout and rheumatism are most common.
Goutiness – Arthritism
Like begets like, which no one can gainsay; but as two beget one, we have a third entity whose qualities are not absolutely apparent. When we learn to read, and come across a new word, we spell it; so it is with the hereditariness of disease. I have occupied myself a good deal with this question, and hope to say my say thereon in due course.Here I must confine myself to its bearings on the subject matter of this book.
The offspring of a gouty parent must be gouty more or less, unless indeed the one of the twain completely neutralizes the other, which is conceivable, but not probable. The girl that comes of a gouty father will teethe goutily; she will menstruate goutily; and at and after the change of life her ills and ailings will be gouty.
Many times I have remembered this point in the troubles of dentition with much advantage. Even in using the Repertory it throws a valuable side-light on the case, and helps. My two big guns in gouty menopause are – Bursa Pastoris 0 and Pulsatilla 0.The similitude is very small; the dose must therefore be material, a few drops of the tincture; and on the treatment of gout I may fairly refer to my own monograph on the subject, Gout and its Cure. Boericke & Tafel, Philadelphia, 1895. in which what I know of gout may be found. Bursa Pastoris 0, ten drops in a teaspoonful of warm water at bedtime, is a very frequently indicated remedy in gouty ladies at the change of life. The gouty diathesis must be treated on its own merits in a woman just the same as in a man.
Note on Bursa Pastoris
In my judgment, as I have elsewhere stated, the Shepherd’s Purse in pronouncedly a uterine medicine. It is a very notable remedy in uterine sterility – pregnancy frequently occurring during its use. A gentleman was under my professional care for frequent nocturnal micturition of a gouty character, and I ordered him Bursa Pastoris 0, ten drops in water at bedtime. On April 8th he wrote me that he could not take such a large dose, as it caused him “aching and fullness in the head, worse in the morning.” At my request he resumed the medicine (Bursa ) in four -drop doses.
June 10th. – On this day he bought the medicine back himself to me in the original half-ounce bottle, still two-thirds full of the tincture, complaining very much of its ” nasty rotten drain smell,” and saying he could not take any more of it, for says he, ” it flushes my face so much that I cannot take it; I only took three drops this morning, and just see how it has flushed my face.”
This symptom being pathogenetic, we thus get another remedy for the flushes, and it would be additionally indicated in gouty individuals, for Bursa pastoris often produces a notable output of gravel.
And, referring again to the Flushes, our apotherapeutists score one in the palliative treatment of this trouble; thus we read in the British Medical Journal of April 24, 1897, a note by Dr. Fosbery, of Bournemouth, as follows :-
“Severe Climacteric Flushings Successfully Treated by Ovarian Extract
“As medication by various glands is still on its trial, except perhaps, that of the Typhoid in Myxoedema, individual experiences, if recorded, will help in estimating rightly its value, and in indicating the class in which treatment may be used with benefit. It is with this object I record the following case :-
“Miss C., aged fifty-two for more than three years suffered from severe menorrhagia, and during part of that time from metrorrhagia also. The latter was relieved by the removal of a pedunculated polypus growing from the cervix. The menorrhagia, however, continued, the periods occurring about every three weeks, and lasting a fortnight or even three weeks. The bleeding was very severe, and not influenced much by drugs, though Ergot (both by mouth and hypodermically), Hydrastis, Liquor Ferri Perchloridi, Potassium Bromide, Hazeline, Arsenic and Thyroid Gland were tried. During the last two periods, however, Calcium Chloride in scruple doses, three times a day, seemed to have a good effect, but this might have been due to the natural close of menstruation. Frequent plugging of the vagina, sometimes twice a day, was the only means of controlling the haemorrhage, with iced injections on removal of the plugs. Hot douches were not so effectual as the cold.
“When at last the periods ceased, the patient was much troubled with frequent and violent flushings, which at night, in winter, would wake her up, the face being in a burning heat, while the hands and body were icy cold.
“For these flushings I ordered five grain doses of Ovarian Gland three times a day. For the first day or two there appeared to be no effect, then the flushings rapidly became less frequent and intense, and were nearly cured by the time three dozen doses were taken. The patient now tells me she is free of them, but gets a ‘threatening’ if she omits the capsules for some days. One dose occasionally keeps her free.”
the treatment of the case is bad from our homoeopathic standpoint, and I only quote it as suggestive of the use of Ovary extract in the flushes when Lachesis and other remedies have failed.
Cancerousness Traced Through Life Clearly evidenced at the Menopause
A gentleman brought his wife to me on June 26, 1897, for a painful swelling in her LEFT breast;and as the case brings out one of the chief points of this little treatise, I will narrate it pretty fully.
Mrs. S, aet, forty-three, married these twenty years, but childless, Has pains in her breast that wake her up in the night and cause her much anxiety. Her father died at sixty three of diabetes; her mother, at fifty two, of cancer of the left breast; her sister, of cancer of the same breast, at forty three, just after the change; a brother, at forty-five, of rapid phthisis.
The inner half of the patient’s left breast is the seat of a diffused swelling since the change, which occurred at forty years of age, that is three years ago.
These is nothing unusual in this history, but let us trace back her health and see how that stands, Soon after marriage she was under treatment for womb trouble – ulcers at the os; these ulcers were cauterized severely and oft, at times daily for weeks together; they were when painted regularly and for long periods. for many years. She injects hot water into the vagina on her physician’s advice every day for the past fifteen years, and still the whites – yellow and stickly and corroding – continue the same as ever. “All my life I have never been ill and also never well.” Right lobe of thyroid somewhat enlarged for a year past. The breasts often swell. Has had gallstones twice.
We are here not concerned with the treatment of this particular case (moreover, it was only begun yesterday), but it illustrate clearly what I hold and what I should like to teach, viz, that the various ills and ailings of women are not of a local nature, and must therefore, not be locally regarded or treated.
I read the phenomena thus: the ulcers at the os, the leucorrhoea, the sterility, were of a cancerous nature (precancerous, as Hutchinson would say), and inherited from her mother, and that the ulcerations and whites should have been treated on constitutional lines from the beginning in lieu of the local measures of cauterizing and painting the seemingly offending parts. And as to the treatment of the case, now it is manifest that we have to deal with a constitutional ailment locate primarily in the uterus, an thence reflected on to the breasts, so ablation of the left breast would be useless, inasmuch as the root ailing is located primarily in the womb.
My object in narrating the forgoing is to bring before the reader’s mind how the thing appears to my mind – the ulcers and the leucorrhoea were not to be regarded as the ailment to e treated at all, they were only the local expression of the enemy within, and not the enemy himself – rather were they its voice.
What I am trying to say is that silencing the ulcers and leucorrhoea was bad practice, not only doing no good to the woman’s organism, but rather harming her. So long as the monthly flow continued, so long did this lady live on in a fair state of health; but since it has stopped she has ailed rather more, the right lobe of her thyroid has become enlarged, and now the left breast is enlarging and hardening, and has already become the seat of a good deal of pain.