AFFECTIONS OF THE FUNCTION AND APPARATUS OF DIGESTION.
IN the state of perfect health all the functions of the body are so harmoniously carried on, each receiving its proper portion of the vital force in due season, that no one preponderates over another. But where, as in cases of excessive intellectual development in children, any one structure obtains more than its just share, the others must suffer in equal ratio. Gestation is indeed a normal condition; but the remarkable development of vital action in the uterus, renders it an exceedingly difficult task for nature perfectly to adjust the balance. But while in general a similar increase of vital action seems to pervade the entire system the health remaining perfect, there are numerous and sometimes most distressing exceptional cases. The greater number of these appear in connection with the nervous system, and at first take the from of sympathetic irritation.
There are other disorders in the pregnant state which arise from mechanical pressure, and even displacement of the abdominal organs by the gravid uterus. And there is still another class of disorders, severe functional derangements, and even deeper-seated derangements of the elementary constituents of the blood, which seem to be the result of some of those before mentioned.
All these sympathetic irritations, structural difficulties, and derangements of the constitution of the blood, acquire a still greater importance from the fact that they become the occasion for the development of every constitutional weakness and hereditary taint. The way is long and tedious; what wonder then that the heavily-laden system of the pregnant female sometimes stumbles? How much greatest the wonder if the nine months of gestation, even before being concluded by perhaps twice as many hours of almost convulsive effort, should not expose and aggravate every inherent debility and fully develop every latent miasm.
There is yet another class of difficulties, which if they do not actually make their first appearance during gestation, then at least for the first time become seriously troublesome; this class includes disorders connected with the uterus itself and with its appendages.
Some of these are structural diseases of the vagina, os, or cervix uteri, unnoticed before, now rapidly developed. And even if there were no morbid conditions, the suspension of the regular catamenial flow, could not but exert an important disturbing influence upon the more delicate female constitutions.
But from whatever cause they arise, and to whatever class they may be referred, all the disorders of pregnancy require the most patient and careful attention on the part of the Homoeopathic physician. The season of gestation is the given him for sowing the good seed, from which his patient may reap a rich harvest of improved health during all her subsequent life. The fact just mentioned that the almost herculean labors of nature tend to develop and ultimate all the hitherto latent, hereditary predispositions to disease, renders this period of gestation at once of the greatest value to the true physician, and of the most serious importance to the patient. For even as an hereditary tendency to phthisis pulmonalis, may be most readily and radically cured when its temporary development in a bad cold or even in a severe attack of pneumonia, renders its characteristics more apparent; so the exaggerated manifestation of her constitutional disorders, which in one form or another so afflicts the pregnant female, may be made the opportunity for radically purging them from her own system, and at the same time of purifying the constitutions of all her children.
As already intimated, the tremendous strain upon the constitution of the pregnant female, finds its crisis in the agonizing labors of parturition. These are rendered all the more terrible, are sometimes followed by the most disastrous consequences, and even rendered immediately fatal, by the culmination of the disorders developed during gestation. Thus the same sedulous attenuation on the part of the true physician which will relieve her from present sufferings during the long months of pregnancy, will also render her confinement much more safe and easy, and entirely prevent those consequences which so often fill her subsequent life with wretchedness. And the invaluable means and methods committed to the Homoeopathic physician, will often enable him not only to ameliorate the unfortunate condition of his suffering and despondent patient, but in many instances to secure for her the preservation of the fruit of her womb. In the Homoeopathic jurisprudence, morning sickness and all other forms of gastric derangement must be entirely stricken from the list of justifiable causes for inducing premature delivery. The most distressing of these cases are relieved and the offspring preserved, where under the Allopathic regime the health of the mother was often rendered permanently wretched, and the child inevitably sacrificed at an earlier or later stage of pregnancy.
And in many instances in which the mother had suffered for many months from the disorders of pregnancy incidental to her constitution, and had in consequence greatly deteriorated in her own vital nutrition, the child, if not actually destroyed, became of necessity greatly enfeebled. Such results are too common in the Allopathic practice to attract much attention; and such offspring go far to swell the bills of mortality to the frightful extend of one-third of all who are born dying within the first three years. Contrast with this the fine healthy child born after the mother has been relieved of her distressing disorders of pregnancy, and in a great measure at the same time cleansed of her constitutional impurities by Homoeopathic medication, and you have picture of what has been done in thousands of cases, and of what it is now the duty of the Homoeopathic physician at least to attempt to do in every case of the kind. He is the true physician who seeks not only to relieve the present suffering, but at the same time to remove its cause in the constitution itself, and thus prevent the return of the evil. He is truly a benefactor of his kind, and shall well deserve to be called a Healer of Nations, who, not content with curing the generations with whose successive portions he mingles, thus seeks to improve his present opportunities in the light of an advanced and beneficent science, in such a manner that the race may be rendered more healthy in all the years to come.
Our object in these remarks is simply to call attention to the profound important of most carefully treating the disorders incident to pregnancy; even in cases where their severity does not entail suffering, they many thus be seen to afford most precious opportunities for permanently improving the health of the mother, and of rendering her confinement comparatively comfortable and perfectly safe, and of insuring the preservation and health of the offspring, and finally securing the comfort of both mother and child during the season of lactation-And to state that, for reasons rendered obvious by the preceding remarks, the valuable and efficient remedies for the disorders incident to pregnancy will be found among the antipsorics; and that in some cases the higher these are given the more good will they do. Such is my own experience in innumerable cases.
The disorders which appear appear during gestation vary in almost every possible respect in different females; each individual, however, usually suffering in the same manner whenever enceinte, and with the same comparative severity, unless relieved by appropriate Homoeopathic medication, the Allopathic treatment, in most respects, being considered worse than useless. Since it differs little in effect from tearing down the house to save it from the danger of being burned up. In some females these disorders appear with but slight intensity and soon pass away. While others declare they never have such good health as they enjoy when pregnant. Others again dread this condition as bringing with it for them a long train of most various and distressing sufferings, by which their health is profoundly deteriorated, their strength exhausted, and their prospects in confinement rendered gloomy in the extreme. In some instance the disorders appear very soon after conception, and in different forms continue during the entire period of utero-gestation. In others they are relieved by the third, fourth, or fifth month; while in other cases the difficulties make their appearance only during the later months, and continue to increase in severity till confinement.
And while the disorders of pregnancy principally affect individual cases in some one or even more of their various forms, the entire range of these forms, as collected from the records of many cases, is found to cover every function and particular organized system in the female economy. The principal of these disorders may be classed under the following heads-which are given in the order of their subsequent description: Affection of the Digestive System; of the Secretions and Excretions; of the Uterus and its Appendages; of the Circulation and Respiration; of Locomotion; and of Innervation.
The disorders of the Digestive Function and Apparatus may be enumerated under the heads of Variations of Appetite; Gastric Disturbance; and Intestine Affections. In the first class will be found Anorexia, Pica or Malacia, and Bulimy; in the second, Nausea and Vomiting, Pyrosis, or Heartburn; in the third, Constipation, Hemorrhoids, Diarrhoea.
I. VARIATIONS OF APPETITE.
Anorexia, or want of appetite and even disgust for food, very frequently make its appearance at the commencement of gestation; less often it is seen only towards its close. In some cases there is a loathing especially for some particular kinds of food; especially meats; in other cases there seems to be simply a general loss of appetite. These symptoms are usually supposed to be the results of the sympathetic relations existing between the stomach and the uterus; but their deeper meaning, already referred to, will the particularly stated in connection with that of the other varieties of appetite.
Malacia, another not uncommon affection of pregnant females, consists in a depravation of taste, in which an almost universal loathing is combined wit an exclusive longing for more particular article of food. Where something injurious, or not used for food, is desired, the abnormality is termed Pica. Chalk, charcoal, pepper, salt food, acids, alkalies, are sometimes very strongly and persistently craved, and eaten. The desire for particular articles of food should be gratified to a reasonable extent. “The common tendency of the appetite in pregnancy is to prefer fresh vegetables, fruits, and cooling drinks, and to avoid stimuli of all kinds. In this the state of pregnancy accords very well with all its requirements. Smith.
Bulimy, or inordinate and insatiable hunger, is another affection of pregnant women, which here, as in other persons generally indicates some disorder of the nutrition or assimilation; although it may be due simply to sympathetic nervous irritation. All these morbid conditions of the appetite are but indications of the various hitherto latent dyscrasia, developed now by the pregnant state. And the careful exhibition of the appropriate remedies will not only relieve the sufferings of the patient; but will also greatly improve her general health, as already stated.
We give the various remedies which have been found useful in these complaints-these should be compared with those more fully stated under Gastric Derangements; and carefully studied in the Materia Medica, in order to determine which is the appropriate remedy in each individual case.
NOTE.- In arranging these remedies for study, we have followed the very valuable Therapeutic Pocket Book of Boenninghausen, now unfortunately out of print in English, and it will be observed that the higher the numbers the more strongly marked is the remedy for the symptom to which it is affixed. Thus I. corresponds to the ordinary type of Boenninghausen; II. to the italics; III. to the small capitals, and IV. to the large capitals or most strongly marked of all.
But while these indications of the relative prominence of particular symptoms in the confirmed pathogenesis of particular remedies are of great value, they will be found infallible only when they lead to the determination of a medicine in accordance with the totality of the symptoms. And yet the totality of the symptoms until often BE INDEXED by the characteristic symptom on the side of the patient, and by the corresponding key-note on the side of the remedy.
Finally, and as elsewhere observed in the present work, the characteristic symptom of a particular case may not be the most prominent or even the most distressing symptom, especially is this seen to be the case where it consists in the time of aggravation, or other similar circumstance; nor yet will the key- note often be the most violent and painful of the pathogenetic results of the drug. The deepest streams are the most still and silent, and the true vital currents of the human frame are far more subtle, profound and spirituelle, than the noisy rivers that rush through the arteries and the veins.
ANOREXIA-WANT OF APPETITE.- I. Aconite, Carb. v., Causticum; Chelid., Cina, Cocculus, Crocus, Caps., Drosera, Graphites, Mosch., Nux moschata, Tart. e.
II. Agaricus, Alumina, Argent., Borax., Chamomilla, Digit., Dulcamara, Ferrum, Helleb., Hepar, Ipecac., Kali Bi., Kali carb., Magnesia carb., Magnesia muriatica, Nitric acid., Pet., Phosphorus, Acid Sulphuricum, Veratrum
III. Anti., c., Arnica, Arsen., Belladonna, Bryonia, Calcarea, Cantharis, Conium., Ignat., Lycop., Mercurius, Natrum mur., Opi., Pulsatilla
IV. China, Cyc., Nux v., Rhus t., Sepia., Silicea, Sulphur
DISGUST OF CERTAIN AILMENTS.
ACID THINGS.- I. Ignatia. II. Cocculus, Nux v. III. Belladonna, Ferrum, Sulphur
BEER.- I. Alumina, Belladonna, Chamomilla, China, Phosphorus II. Spigelia III. Cocc. Nux v., Sulphur
BRANDY.- III. Ignatia, Mercurius
BREAD.- I. Agaricus, Ignat., Kali. c., Magnesia carb., Rhus t. II. Nit. acid., Phosphorus, Sulphur, III. Conium, Lyco., Nux v., Pulsatilla, Sepia. IV. Natrum muriaticum.
RYE BREAD.- I. Pulsatilla II. Kali. c., Nux v., Sulphur III. Lycop.
BROTH.- I. Belladonna, Rhus t. II. Arsen., Graphites III. Arnica.
COFFEE. I. Belladonna, Carb. v., China, Dulcamara, Mercurius, Rhus t. II. Lycop., Natrum mur., Acid Sulphuricum III. Bryonia, Calcarea c., Chamomilla, Coffea, Phosph. IV. Nux v.
COFFEE WITHOUT SUGAR.- III. Rheum.
FAT FOOD-BUTTER.- I. Calcarea c., Crocus, Helleb., Mercurius, Rhus t., Sepia, II. Cyc. e., Hepar, Sulphur III. Arsen., Bryonia, Carb. a., Carb. v. Natrum mur., Pulsatilla, IV. Petroleum.
FISH.- II. Graphites III. Zincum met.
GARLIC.- III. Sabad.
MEAT.- I. Alumina, Arnica, Causticum, Helleb., Kali. c., Magnesia carb., Nux v., Opi., Pulsatilla II. Arsen., Bryonia, Ferrum, Ignat., Mercurius, Natrum mur., Nit. acid., III. Calcarea c., Carb. v., Graphites, Lycop., Rhus t., Sabad., Sepia, Zincum met. IV. Mur. acid., Pet., Sulphur
MEAL AND FLUOR, (Dishes of.)- I. Arsen. III. Phosphorus
MILK.- Arnica, Belladonna, Nux v., Phosphorus II. Carb. v., Cina, Ignat. III. Bryonia, Calcarea c., Pulsatilla, Sepia, Silicea, Sulphur
SALT.- I. Graphites II. Car. v. III. Selenium.
SOLID FOOD.- I. Mercurius II. Ferrum III. Staphysagria
SWEETS.- I. Graphites, Zincum met. II. Mercurius, Acid nitricum, Phosphorus III. Arsen., Causticum, Sulphur
VEGETABLES.- II. Magnesia carb. III. Helleb.
WATER.- I. Cantharis, Causticum, Chi., Lycop. II. Bryonia, Natrum mur. III. Apis, Belladonna, Nux v., Stramonium
WINE.- Lachesis, Sulphur II. Ignat. III. Mercurius, Rhus t., Sabad.
LONGINGS – CRAVINGS FOR FOOD.
BULIMY-CANINE HUNGER-II. Helleb., Hyoscyamus, Kali carb., Mercurius, Opi., Pet. III. Bryonia, Coccul., Nat. mur., Phosphorus, Pulsatilla, Rhus, Sabad., IV. Calcarea c., China, Jod., Lycop., Nux v., Silicea, Sulphur, Veratrum
ACIDS.- II(>) Ignat, Kali carb., Pulsatilla, Secale, Sepia. III. Anti. c., Arnica, Arsen., Bryonia, Chamomilla, Hepar., Phosphorus, Stramonium, Sulphur IV. Veratrum
BEER.- II. Opi. III. Bryonia, Causticum, Coccul., Mercurius, Nux v., Petroleum, Pulsatilla, Sabad., Sulphur
BITTER THINGS.- II. Digit. III. Natrum mur.
BREAD.- Belladonna, Ferrum, Helleb., Ignat., II. Nat m., Pulsatilla III. Arsen.
BREAD (WHEAT).- Arnica
BREAD AND BUTTER.- Ferrum, Ignat., Mercurius III. Magnesia carb.
BRANDY.- I. Bryonia, Calcarea c., China, Pulsatilla II. Sulph. Acid. III. Aconite, Arsen., Hepar, Nux v., Sepia., Sulphur IV. Opium.
COFFEE.- I. Mosch., Nux moschata II. Arsen., China, Conium. III. Bryonia IV. Angust.
CUCUMBERS.- I. Veratrum II. Anti. c.
FAT FOOD.- II. Nitric Acid. III. Nux v.
FRUIT.- I. China, Magnes., Pulsatilla, II. Alumina III. Ignatia, Sulphur acid. IV. Veratrum
HERRINGS.- I. Veratrum. II. Nitric acid.
JUICY THINGS.- Phosph. acid.
LIME-CHALK.-III. Nitric acid., Nux. v.
LIQUID FOOD (SOUPS).- I. Mercurius II. Angust. Ferrum III. Staphysagria, Sulphur
MEAT.- I. Helleb., Sulphur II. Magnesia carb.
MEAL AND FLOUR (DISHES).- II. Sabadilla.
MILK.- I. Magnes., Natrum mur., Rhus. II. Arsen., Bryonia, Calcarea c., Phosphorus acid., Staphysagria III. Chelid, Mercurius, Sabad., Silica.
REFRESHING THINGS.- II. Causticum, Rheum. III. Coccul., Phosphorus, Phosphorus acid., Valerian.
SALT THINGS.- I. Phosph. II. Calcarea c., Conium, Nitric acid. III. Causticum, Veratrum
SMOKED THINGS.- Causticum.
SOUR KROUT.- I. Chamomilla II. Carbo. an.
SWEET THINGS.- Calcarea c., Carbo vegetabilis, Nux v., Petroleum II. Ipecac., Magnes. m., Sulphur III. China, Kali carb., Lycop., Nat m., Rhus, Sabad.
VEGETABLES.- II. Alumina III. Magn. c.
WARM FOOD.- I. Cyclam. II. Lycop. III. Ferrum.
WINE.- I. Aconite, Calcarea c., China, Pulsatilla II. Bryonia, Lachesis, Spigelia III. Hepar., Sepia, Sulphur
RAW POTATOES and DRY FLOUR, each eaten separately and alternately for half an hour, as bread and cheese, Calcarea carbonica.
II. GASTRIC DERANGEMENTS.
Nausea and Vomiting-Morning Sickness.- In many females nausea and vomiting set in at an early period of pregnancy, and are simply the result of a peculiar reflex irritation of the stomach; in these cases this affection usually continues but a short time. Those forms of nausea and vomiting which principally appear in the later months, result not from sympathetic irritation or reflex action, but from the direct irritation of the stomach and perhaps also of the diaphragm by the upward displacement. Next to the cessation of the catamenia, and especially in conjunction with it, morning sickness becomes one of the earliest as well as one of the most reliable original sings of pregnancy; while for all those who have ever before experienced it, there is little room for mistake in regard to its nature. For in each individual in whom it occurs it has a uniform type and well remembered character.
The nausea may occur at an early period in the morning, with unvarying regularity; or in the evening; or at any period of the day or even of the night. For each individual it maintains also its uniformity as to the date of its first appearance; in some it begins very soon after conception; in others; in others it appears towards the third or fourth mouth; and in other again it comes on only towards the close of gestation, in these latter cases it may have appeared also for a short time soon after conception. In the duration of this affection there is also the same general variety and individual uniformity. Thus in some females it lasts but a few weeks, from six to eight at most; in others it continues for four or five months; while in some few most distressingly severe cases this difficulty assumes the form of a formidable disease and persists through the entire period of utero-gestation, unless relieved by art. An this unfortunate condition has sometimes been still more fully developed and aggravated by sea-sickness, so that even life itself has been lost, where the voyage was tedious.
The nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, as already stated, are most apt to occur on first rising in the morning; sometimes these symptoms disappear in a few minutes, sometimes they last through the greater portion of the day. In some the vomiting is very easy; in others it is attended with very severe retching and even with other painful symptoms. Those who vomit upon waking or rising in the morning, usually throw up some viscid, glairy matters which are generally colored with a little bile, especially if the retching had been very severe. Others vomit only after eating; occasionally after only one of the daily meals, but sometimes after all of them. Again, in some unfortunate cases the vomitings continue even in the intervals of the repasts; every thing taken into the stomach, whether liquid or solid, being immediately rejected. There are cases, finally, in which the mere thought of flood, or the sight or the smell of it, is sufficient to induce the vomiting. Cazeaux.
In some cases nearly all the food ingested seems to have been thrown up even for months in succession; and yet a good delivery succeeds at full term; the repeated and severe vomitings seeming to exert comparatively little influence upon the general health. In like manner pregnant women may rise from the breakfast table, vomit, and return to their food as if nothing had happened. Such characteristics, so different from vomiting arising from any other causes, very conclusively indicate the presence of pregnancy. Important complication however arise in the greater number of more severe cases; and the health of both mother and child is often greatly injured through the marasmus and cachectic conditions which ensue. Among the most serious of the symptoms of which appear in connection with severe emesis is to be attended by considerable pain which is increased by pressure. This epigastric soreness and tenderness, whether observed in the earlier or in the later stage of pregnancy, is due to the profound irritation of the ganglia or plexuses of the Sympathetic Nervous System, which are located in this vicinity. And in this centre of organic life, in the very constitution itself, are planted the psoric elements whose active development in pregnancy occasions these sufferings and innumerable others, whose duration and severity but too well indicate the gravity of the miasms from which they are derived. The stomach itself is in no such direst sympathetic relation with the uterus; but the latter organ is in profound sympathy with the organic nervous system which is centered near the stomach and which entirely controls the compound functions of digestion and nutrition. Hence the marasmus and cachexia which succeed severe cases of morning sickens in the old practice; hence too the brilliant successes which in the new school follow the exhibition of Arsenicum, and other powerful and particularly indicated antipsorics. Hence too while under the Allopathic regime these cases became worse and worse with each succeeding pregnancy, under Homoeopathic treatment they become better and better, until the female finds she can pass through the formerly so much dreaded periods of gestation with little or no suffering and terminate her labors in a delivery as pleasant and easy as it formerly was difficult and painful.