In the treatment of children the physician has to depend solely on the objective symptoms as these miniature forms of human beings cannot communicated their subjective symptoms to him. Some of these objective symptoms the physician collects from the parents while the others he finds out from his specialized observation. The more experience he gains the more would like to depend upon his personal observations as the parents not only often fail to convey correctly all the required information but also frequently misguide the physician by presenting their own imaginations for facts. Indeed, time comes when a homoeopath wishes that the patients would have been devoid of the speaking art.
In previous chapters an attempt has been made to show how a homoeopath can establish health in the suffering children depending wholly upon his own observations. But now we have come to the most important chapter. Rectum and stool symptoms of children are often peculiar and guide us correctly to the selection of the appropriate remedy.
Our materia medica is rich with rectum and stool symptoms peculiar in children alone and we so frequently come across such symptoms that in the writers opinion a practitioner of homoeopathy can alleviate his difficulties to the minimum in the treatment of children if he can master those peculiarities. Very often he will find his guiding symptoms here.
Let us first take up the constipation. In our practice parents seldom come to us for the treatment of constipation of their wards. They bring the kids for the treatment of some other ailments that they may be suffering from and the experienced physician finds either constipation at the root or some leading symptom in their peculiar state of bowel. Thus although in the eyes of the parents constipation may be a negligible factor but the study of the subject will enable the practitioner of this healing art to cure other ailments that the child may be suffering from.
As a rule an infants bowel is expected to move three or four times a day. The stools should be soft and yellow. Harder stools or less frequent movements will suggest the possibility of autotoxin requiring a correction. In the treatment of constipation, as for diarrhoea, the physician must regulate the diet first and if it is an infant on breast the mothers diets should be restricted. In the latter case the physician has again to consider whether it is the mother or the child who requires the medical aid.
As the majority of these little children requires Calcarea Carb, we should in the first place, consider the suitability of this polychrest. It suits better the heavy and doughy type of children who perspire and exhaust easily. They are habitually constipated and if they are given any aperient it upsets them. these kids get cold easily which is often accompanied by a green diarrhoea.
We cannot think of the bovine type, especially with constipation, without giving a thought to Graphites. It has chronic constipation with difficult stools. The stools may be large and hard or knotty but our guiding symptom is the presence of mucus threads uniting the lumps together. It has unhealthy skin, and cracks behind the ears exuding a honeylike gelatinous fluid.
The unhealthy skin will naturally bring to our mind the possibility of Sulphur which these little children require almost as frequently as Cal-c. Sulphur stools are too large. The child cannot keep the feet covered during sleep. It is more suitable for puny children having habitual constipation alternating with diarrhoea. As a rule you will seldom find a child requiring Sulphur without having any sort of skin irritation.
Sulphur has so much similarity with Nux-Vomica that one naturally leads to the consideration of the other. Nux has frequent straining with little or no results. These kids will often give you a history of abuse of patent medicines.
With Nux-vom. we enter into be next group of medicines having constipation. Medicines in this group, though frequently indicated, render no lasting result; they are more or less palliatives. Bryonia tops the list in this group having large and dry stools, as if burnt which is due to the dryness of the entire alimentary canal. Tongue coated white (try Kali Mur. 6x if Bry. fails.
Alumina is the chronic of Bryonia and is more suitable in the treatment of constipation in children, more particularly the bottlefed ones, with inert, bowels. Great straining is its key- note and the child has to strain hard even to pass a soft stool. Its inactivity of bowel is comparable with Opium and dryness of stools with Bryonia.
Inactivity of bowel is the leading symptom of Opium. The child has no inclination, no desire for stools for days together, sometimes even to 7 or 8 days (Alum.). The stools are like hard, round, and black balls. Wind colic if often an accompanying feature of Opium constipation.
In the third group let us deal with the remedies which, though not so often indicated, have well defined application in constipation of children. To obtain satisfactory results a physician should keep these peculiarities always fresh in mind.
Aloe: Persistent constipation, painful urging to pass stools but during sleep even large stools or balls escape involuntarily.
Causticum: It has frequent ineffectual urging for stools like Nux-v. and mucus threads over the stools like Graphites and Alumina. The child finds it easier to evacuate in a standing posture. It is more useful in constipation of children with nocturnal enuresis (Sep.).
Podophyllum may relieve the constipation of bottlefed children with dry and crumbling stools. Torpidity of liver is always present when this medicines is indicated.
Hydrastis is another medicine for portal constipation in children with anorexia. A thick, yellowish, ropy mucus is its peculiarity.
Lycopodium. Remember this polychrest when a child develops constipation every time he stays away from home. This is our first remedy for homesickness of children.
For constipation of rachitic children the principal medicines are Natrum-mur, Silicea and Sulphur. The leading features of Sulphur have already been described in the first group. The emaciation of Natrum-mur. is more marked near about the neck and thence it spreads downwards.
Consolation does not pacify the child: thirst prominent: the stools are large and hard, lacerating the anus (Lac-d.). The leading feature of Silicia constipation is that the stools come down with difficulty and when partly expelled the recede again.
For constipation alternating with diarrhoea think of: Ant-c., Op. and Podo. first and then Abrot., Iod., Lyco. and Sulph.