Chronic indigestion in one form or another is a problem which takes up considerable amount of the paediatrician’s time in Out- Patients.
Constitutional treatment can play a very useful part in this condition. Here I should like to mention the adverse effects of aluminium cooking utensils in undermining the health of a minority of children. It has special importance in alimentary disorders and allergic diseases.
Common symptoms are irritability, touchiness about the least thing, slowness in eating, accompanied by a sensation as if food lodged behinds the sternum, and itching of the eyes, especially the inner canthi.
A specially important feature of aluminium is weakness of the rectal muscles so that straining is necessary for the evacuation of a stool of normal consistency.
Dryness of mucous membranes and skin along with a tendency to cracking of the skin may also be present.
A girl of eleven years of age came to the hospital with the complaint of diarrhoea alternating with constipation since the age of eighteen months. She had almost constant headaches and a leucorrhoeal discharge for six years. All the aluminium symptoms mentioned were present.
The cooking utensils were replaced by enamelware and the girl given a 200th potency of Alumina. Within a month all symptoms, including the leucorrhoea had disappeared and the irritable disposition vanished also. Incidentally, many migraine sufferers are extremely sensitive to aluminium, and it is advisable to make sure that the kettle is replaced as well as the pans.