SOME of the worst cases of constipation with which we have to deal are met with in infants and children. Some children suffer a perfect martyrdom from it, and the ordinary method of administering purgatives doses only aggravates the trouble. Much maybe done by careful dieting in these cases, but they are only to be cured by specific constitutional medicines.
Children who have a tendency to enlarged mesenteric glands, “consumption of the bowels,” as it is popularly termed, are very apt to suffer from obstinate constipation. I have frequently seen these cases completely relieved by Plumbum, especially the Plumbum aceticum.
CASE XXXIV. CONSTIPATION CURED BY Silica.
A little patient, who gave me a good deal of concern at various times on account of her general delicacy, was much troubled with constipation, among other things. She got help from several medicines, but the one which relieved her of difficulty for long periods together was Silica. In this child’s case there was prolapse of the bowel, and at times the motion would come part of the way and then slip back again, which is a leading indication of Silica. Its action was very prompt and satisfactory.
CASE XXXV. VALUE OF MENTAL SYMPTOMS.
In order to show how necessary it is in homoeopathic prescribing to look all round a case and take in the totality of the symptoms, I will relate that of an American young lady, aged 22 years, who had come with her family from Venice, where they had made a prolonged stay, and who was then on her way home. She had always been constipated, though she once had diarrhoea, and after that the bowel came down. The stools were in hard balls and too large to pass. She passes blood with stool. Screams with pain, an wants her nurse to hold her. Is a bad sleeper; very restless; head perspires in sleep; grinds her teeth; has a croupy cough. Nitric acid, Podoph., Alumina, were given with inappreciable result, upon which I took note of the child’s mental symptoms, which I ought to have done at first. In addition to the screaming at stool, she would scream at other times, and not only scream, but scratch and bite if she got the chance. This period clearly to the peculiar brain irritation of Stramonium, and I ordered that medicine to be given.
This is the report I received the last before the family sailed. It showed clearly that the vital simillimum had been struck:-
“Better. Action sooner than expected. Though a hard stool, passed with much effort and crying, it was almost involuntary not being able to leave the chair. No bad after-effect.”
CASE XXXVI. CONSTIPATION IN INDIA-BORN INFANT.
I will give just one more case, also that of a little girl of the same age as the last, just arrived with her mother from India. Her mother had been unable to nurse her, and she was constipated from the time she was put on cow’s milk. Before leaving India she had an attack of diarrhoea, and for that was dosed with calomel. When on board ship the constipation again began. She was a fair child, and rather inclined to fatness. Head perspired at night. In India had a lot of boils. Her tongue was white; appetite variable. The motions were large, hard, healthy in colour. A little redness round the orifice. When she had the diarrhoea there was bleeding. She was fretful, though that was not natural with her. Lycopodium gave the patient very great relief. Calcarea, which was afterwards given, did much good, but did not relieve the constipation so well as the Lycopodium