SOME VARIETIES OF STOMACH DIS ORDER AS INDICATED BY THE NATURE OF THE CHIEF SYMPTOM OF INDIGESTION.
It would be of no value to attempt in a work of this kind to give a technical descrip tion or classification of the diseases of the stomach, which chiefly appeal to the sufferer by the type of indigestion they produce. But it may be of some use to take the leading symptom of the indigestion as an indication of the type. The reader must note again that the indigestion is only a symptom, not the disease in itself, that the d isease is some change or failure within the stomach, and that the selection of the chief feature of the indigestion as it strikes the sufferer will lead one only a little way.
Slow Digestion is a very common form of indigestion. Its usual symptoms are a sense of weight and fulness after taking food. It is accompanied by costiveness. There are also coated tongue, a bad taste in the mouth, flatu lence, and, accompanying occasional discharges of wind from the mouth, there are small quan tities of sour material. The failure to digest speedily, and the accompanying constipation, induce a tendency to headache, and a feeling of dulness, mental depression, and disinclina tion for exertion.
Now very often such a condition of affairs is induced simply by want of proper regulation of times of eating, and of quantity of food, by want of exercise, and so on. In such cases the liver is sluggish. It may be this was the im mediate cause of the indigestion, but in any case it tends to maintain and aggravate it. In other cases the indigestion is what is termed atonic, that is, due to want of tone. There is lack of energy in the stomach, deficient secre tion of gastric juice, or lack of power in the juice to perform its work. This want of tone in the stomach may be simply part of a general condition of body, that general condition, for instance, termed anaemia, in which the sufferer is pale and wants the ruddy look of health.
Its treatment proceeds on very simple lines. Let the directions as to diet given on p. 228 be followed. Let regular exercise be taken. If the person is in a position to have horse exercise nothing can be better. For the constipation an excellent remedy is the resin of podophyllin (ith grain), the extract of mix vornica (hth grain), and the extract of gentian (1 grain) made into a pill. One such pill should be taken every morning before breakfast. As a rule it produces no discomfort. It gently stimulates the liver and procures an ordinary movement of the bowels sometime during the day. Instead of this a pill containing 5 grains of rhubarb and 1 grain ipecacuanha powder may be used. In either case the pill should be continued for ten days or longer. It cannot, however, be too often repeated that there is no use giving such pills if bad habits of dieting are maintained.
In the atonic form of dyspepsia follow the directions as to diet and bowels given on p. 228. As to special remedies, dilute hydrochloric acid is extremely valuable. It should be given iu doses of from 5 to I() drops in a little water, always immediately after meals. In many cases
not acid but alkaline treatment is best, but the alkali must be given, before meals. The best alkaline medicine for the purpose is the bi carbonate of soda, in doses of 8 to 15 grains. Bitter tonics are also prescribed, such as tinc ture of gentian root, chiretta, &c., which may be given with the soda. (See PRESCRIPTSONS BITTER TONICS.) Ia cases of general weakness preparations of iron are used with tonics, for example quinine and iron tonic, &c. (Refer for this also to Tomes.) Indigestion from Catarrhal Conditions of the Stomach. —This may be put more plainly by saying that the dyspepsia is due to some irritation of the stomach. The irritation may be temporary, in which case the indiges tion is likely to be short-lived, and perhaps severe. But if the irritation be chronic the indigestion is of a most intractable sort, indeed, as long-lived as the irritation. The presence of the irritation produces such a condition of the stomach wall as will be noted as occasion ing GASTRITIS (see p. 233). In such a case there is loss of appetite, a bitter taste in the mouth, coated tongue, and specially sickness and vomiting, the vomiting, it is to be observed, coming on very soon after a meal. Indeed al most a certain sign of irritability of the stomach is vomiting speedily after food, even when only small quantities have been taken, vomiting not only of food but of a glairy mucus, secreted from the mucous wall of the stomach. If the vomiting be frequent or severe it is likely soon to be tinged with bile, and so people say it is a bilious attack. This is as likely as not a mis take. It is the frequent efforts of vomiting that force up some of the bile out of the small intestine into the stomach, from which it is afterwards expelled. It is the vomiting that causes the bile in the stomach, not the bile that causes the vomiting. Of course the irritation may not be so great as to make the symptoms marked, and they are more or less modified, and accompanied frequently by belching up (eructation, as it is called) of badly-smelling gases, when the bowel shares in the irritation. Looseness of the bowels with colicky pain is present. Now an irritable condition of the stomach may be caused by swallowing food hastily, without proper chewing. The remedy is evident, and if it is the want of teeth that caused the food to be swallowed in masses, let false teeth be properly fitted. It may be Mr proper food that has created the disturbance. In this connection it is to be noted that some people are affected by certain quite ordinary foods as if they were irritant poisons. Some people cannot take mutton without sickness and vomiting setting in. Even milk has been known to act similarly. With many people a boiled egg produces nausea, depression, and diarrhoea. A common cold, ending in gastric catarrh (p. 233), will produce this kind of indi gestion. But nothing so readily induces the catarrhal condition with its attendant irrita bility as excess in Ocohol.