THE condition I tend to associate with Argentum nit. is the typical flatulent dyspepsia. It is indicated in definite gastric ulcer, but always a gastric ulcer which is associated with intense flatulence; a feeling of acute distension and other Argentum nit. symptoms referred to later.The picture is of a nervous make-up-the typical anticipation neurosis which one commonly associates with Argentum nit. in all its complaints. Not infrequently this remedy is indicated in people who have been overworking, getting overtired, and whose digestion is giving out in consequence.And these patients as a rule give the history that the first sign they get of becoming overtired is a sense of brain fag and the development of headache, coming on usually at the end of a day’s work. And with that brain fag they get the feeling that they will not be able to carry on with their work, that they are going to have a nervous breakdown, or that they are going to have a gastric or duodenal ulcer.
They always have a marked sensitiveness to heat in any form, particularly close rooms, a stuffy atmosphere of any kind and when they feel below par they develop an acute sensitiveness to any crowded place;’ a roomful of people; a theatre; a church; in fact a crowd of people anywhere.
All their digestive upsets are liable to be brought on, or made very much worse, from anticipating any important engagement which they have to keep. One of their most troublesome complaints is a feeling of intense abdominal distension, with violent efforts to bring up wind which they cannot expel, and then, after the effort has stopped, the wind gurgles up on its own account.
Very often you will hear the statement that when the pain is very acute, and they feel they are full to bursting point, they get marked relief from very dilute alcohol. It seems to break the wind, and they immediately become very much more comfortable.
In acute digestive upsets they develop an extreme desire for cold foods, cold drinks, iced foods, and as they have a definite desire for sweet things in any form, you find the Argentum nit. patients have a strong desire for ice cream. The cold foods and cold drinks seem to relieve abdominal pain, but, as a rule, ice cream makes them worse.
They are very fond of sweets which always tend to increase their digestive difficulty. The appetite is usually fairly good, and these patients have a marked desire for strong-tasting, pungent food.
Very often there is a history of the pains developing immediately after the patient has taken any food. They continue getting worse for about an hour, and then there is vomiting, with relief. Sometimes the pain does not develop until half an hour after a meal, and then becomes steadily worse until the patient vomits.
The pain usually starts right in the middle of the epigastrium and tends to spread from there round towards the left side of the abdomen under the left ribs. In acute gastritis or gastric ulceration, they get a good deal of vomiting, and the vomit may be blood-streaked or definite coffee-grounds.
These patients often suffer from quite acute nausea, and occasionally you come across an Argentum nit. patient who tells you that a sour drink will relieve the nausea, but usually the Argentum nit. gastric upsets are made much worse by sour fluids or sour food.
There is frequently a history of a chronic, very troublesome diarrhoea. Associated with that, there is a very useful point to remember as regards the appearance of the tongue.
When the disturbance is mainly of the upper digestive tract, the typical Argentum nit. tongue is a rather pale, flabby tongue, which is somewhat dry. But where there is much chronic bowel irritation, the tongue is liable to become smoother, redder, and looks rather as if the papillae had been flattened out. It is still dry, and the mouth is still hot, but the appearance is quite different from that in the acute gastric upsets.