NAUSEA AND VOMITING – MORNING SICKNESS
THE stomach of course sympathises generally and acutely with the functions of gestation. In every accident, and in every disease, the appetite is affected; and during so mighty a change, we can hardly anticipate the digestive organs would remain unaltered. It is common, during the earlier periods, or until the arrival of the FIFTH MONTH, for nausea and vomiting to be endured every morning.
I have separated the two words, because in some instances, a sensation of nausea or qualmishness is alone present; and this sensation generally departs with breakfast, the appetite for which meal it does not destroy. On the other hand, VOMITION is sometimes violent and distressing, and, so far from its being arrested by feeding, it positively prevents the patient taking any food whatever.
In the generality of cases, however, vomition ceases with the “quickening” of the child; but well-authenticated cases are on record of ladies who have been starved by the continued irritability of the stomach; they have sunk from want of nutriment, the spasm not having ceased by day or by night. Nay, in extraordinary instances, delivery, when the patient has lived to undergo that process, has not terminated the suffering, but vomition is reported to have continued for two months subsequently.
The earliest case of nausea on record, is that of a lady who was led to the hymeneal alter on a Monday, and on the first Saturday of the “honeymoon” she began to sicken. Any earlier notice than this I am unacquainted with; but there can be no reason why the sensation should be even so long delayed.
During these retchings, very frequently nothing is voided; occasionally, a small quantity of water, or mucus, only more or less discoloured, is thrown up; and the patient may, or may not, be relieved by the act.
For these symptoms bleeding is a favourite practice with the Allopathists, notwithstanding that this operation is one of the best-known means of producing abortion; leeches, purgatives, counter-irritants, enemata of asafoetida and turpentine, salines, narcotics, and almost every known process or drug recognised in medicine, are sometimes adopted by the advocates of the general or so-called orthodox doctrine. For my own part, I should hesitate to recommend the mildest of the foregoing measures.
In Homoeopathy, VOMITION is successfully allayed by apparently insignificant doses of either Arsenicum, Ipecacuanha, * Ipecacuanha, in scruple doses, is a well-known emetic. The daily experience of Homoeopathists, however, proves, that in small doses it will allay vomiting.* kreosote, Nux Vomica, or Pulsatilla.
Dr. Simpson, of Edinburgh, was heard to relate a case of chronic vomiting, which has defied every known remedy in the British Pharmacopoeia, until he took the advice of Dr. Arnth, a Homoeopathic physician, and gave half-grain doses Ipecacuanha, which very soon stopped the sickness. As an act of gratitude for this “kind hint,” the great obstetrician of the North undertook the laborious task of compiling the “largest mass” of nonsense ever published against Homoeopathy.
Some of the more enlightened and advanced Allopathists of the present day, have at last deemed it WISE to investigate the leading principles of Homoeopathy, and have embodied in their works numerous and valuable illustrations of the benign efficacy of that mode of practice. Amongst the most prominent of these is Dr. Ringer, Professor of Therapeutics at University College, and one of the physicians to University College, Hospital, London. Few remedies, says that author, are so efficacious in checking some kinds of vomiting as IPECACUANHA. The author in numerous instances has witnessed the efficacy of the wine administered in one-drop doses every hour, or three times a day, according to the urgency of the case, in checking the following kinds of sickness:-
FIRST-It will check the vomiting of pregnancy. This vomiting is not always of the same kind. It occurs only in the morning in some cases, and is excited by the first waking movements. In most instances this from will yield to IPECACUANHA, taken in the way just described. Should it fail, however, relief in many cases follows the administration of the medicine to the patient on WAKING, and some time before any movement is allowed. In other instances, the vomiting occurs not only in the morning, but frequently during the day; recurring whenever food is taken; and may be so severe that no food is retained; while during the intervals of meals, there may be constant NAUSEA, and great LOATHING of all kinds of food. Ipecacuanha may check the nausea and vomiting, with the exception of the attack recurring on the first moving in the morning, when, on on taking a dose IMMEDIATELY on waking, this will also generally cease; but in some very obstinate cases, this early-morning nausea and vomiting continues in spite of the treatment.
SECONDLY-In other instances the early-morning vomiting may be absent, and the attack may occur only on taking food, increasing in severity as the day advances, and becoming most severe in the evening. Should Ipecacuanha, however, as is sometimes the case, fail to check this kind of sickness, then Nux Vomica may be substituted, or taken in alternation, often with marked relief.
In some pregnancies, besides the nausea, sickness, and vomiting, there is much heartburn (Pyrosis), and often considerable flatulence-symptoms which in many cases yield kindly and quickly to Ipecacuanha. But here again, should this remedy fall short of out expectations, Nux Vom. will generally afford relief; and when both are taken, the symptoms yield more surely. It is singular that, while Ipecacuanha will remove, in pregnant patients, even excessive flatulence co-existing with sickness, yet, if the flatulence occurs without sickness, this medicine is generally inoperative; and recourse must, in such cases, be had to Nux vomica, Pulsatilla, the Carbo Vegetabilis, or the Sulpho- carbolate of soda, in five-grain doses, administered immediately after a meal.
We have just observed that, in some instances, nux Vomica succeeds when Ipecacuanha fails to afford the expected relief; and this is notably the case when the tongue is coated with a creamy fur; when there is flatulence; when there is much acidity, heartburn; when, in fact, the stomach is generally out of order. In these cases, we shall not be very far wrong in prescribing both the Nux Vomica and Ipecacuanha conjointly, or in alternation.
It must be observed, however, that, in certain instances, Ipecacuanha fails to afford the anticipated relief. In these, it may be the nausea and vomiting is kept up by a displacement of the womb, or by a chronic inflammation of this organ, its cervix, or its os, as long since pointed but by Dr. Henry Bennett. Under these conditions, a line of treatment directed to the removal of these affections should be carried out. Some ladies who, during pregnancy, were untroubled with nausea and vomiting, yet suffer with both these symptoms during the whole or part of the time of suckling. These symptoms usually begin after the first few weeks of suckling, and continue till the child is weaned; and may be so severe, and produce so much exhaustion, as to compel the mother to wean her child prematurely. The nausea and vomiting may be accompanied by great flatulence and other stomach derangements. All these symptoms, also, will invariably yield to the administration of drop-doses of Ipecacuanha, or Nux Vomica, and sometimes to Belladonna.
Similar troubles to those already pointed out afflict some women at each “menstrual epoch,” occurring immediately before, during, or directly after the period. These cases, likewise, will generally yield to Ipecacuanha: if before the period, to kreosote; if during the period, to Arsenicum album; and if after period, to Sepia.
Thus the patient simply has the annoyance removed without the health being destroyed; and she is left all the strength nature has endowed her with, to encounter the season of peril.
WALKING EXERCISE While recommending medicine, however, I should be consciously wrong did I advise a patient so circumstanced to rely alone upon such efficacy. Doctors can do much; but patients can do more. Everybody must have heard gentlemen, previous to dinner, speak of taking an appetising walk. Nothing strengthens the digestive organs so much as frequent exercise in the open air. All the best efforts of science are wasted, if the patient, having strength to perambulate, will remain a prisoner within the house.
Moreover, there is not a greater beautifier in the world than fresh air and exercise. A lady who lives half her time in the open air in God’s sunshine-and who takes plenty of walking exercise, has generally a clear and beautiful complexion-
“She looks as clear As morning roses newly washed with dew.”
Many wives, I am sure, owe their good health to their good legs, and to their good legs, and to their good use of them; and woe betide those ladies who will not exercise their legs as they ought to! Ill-health, general languor, and a jaded frame, are sure to be their allotted portion for life.