AN acute attack of diarrhoea, or of Asiatic cholera, may, if improperly treated, leave behind it a chronic state of looseness of the bowels in those who are predisposed. Sometimes there is a constitutional tendency to looseness, and then a chronic diarrhoea may supervene without any acute attack. In these cases any rapid stopping of the diarrhoea by astringent remedies is attended with no little risk: the diarrhoea may be cured and the patient made worse.
With the specific homoeopathic remedies the case is different. Their aim is to cure the patient: the diarrhoea will then no longer exist. It not infrequently happens that asthma and diarrhoea alternate,-that is, a patient has asthma when he has not diarrhoea, and diarrhoea when he has not asthma. In such cases, if the homoeopathic remedy for the patient is found- probably Arsenicum or Carbo vegetabilis-the patient will be cured, and he will have neither complaint. He has not two diseases, but only one with two different expressions; and the allopathic method of “curing” the diarrhoea with “astringents” and the asthma with “anti-spasmodics,” only keeps the see-saw going.
Diarrhoea may be due to defect of any part of the intestinal tract, or of the glands which pour their secretions into it. Liver disease is a frequent cause of diarrhoea.
Here is a case in point. A good many years ago a patient, a gardener, aged about 50, came under my care in the Homoeopathic Hospital suffering from recurrent attacks of diarrhoea with violent abdominal pains and swelling in the region of the gall- bladder. He had been the round of the various hospitals, both in the country and in London, and had been under the treatment of a well-known practitioner, who had painted him vigorously with iodine, but all without benefit to the patient.
For many days he would be in great pain, chiefly in the region of the gall-bladder, where a swelling was to be felt. This generally increased in size until, the pains coming to a climax, he would be seized with an attack of diarrhoea, the stools being mainly composed of matter and blood, and the swelling would disappear for the time. The continued suffering and drain occasioned by this malady had reduced the patient to a shadow of his former self; and I confess I had not much expectation of doing him great good. However, after trying a number of remedies, I was led by the general symptoms to give him Baptisia in alternation with Phosphorus, and under these two remedies he steadily gained ground, and eventually became perfectly well, and has remained well ever since.
He pays me a visit now whenever he comes to town, just to show himself, and tell me how many hours a day he can work, and how many miles (from 14 to 20) he sometimes can walk. I have little doubt that Baptisia had a greater share in the cure than Phosphorus, as I had given him Phosphorus before; and Baptisia has a very marked action on the gall-bladder.
Many Europeans who have been resident in India are subject to chronic forms of diarrhoea. One form, called adipose diarrhoea, attended with white milky evacuations, is connected with disorder of the pancreas.
For this, Iodine is the most important remedy. It may be given in potencies from the 3rd decimal or 3rd centesimal to the 30th.