THE GENERAL TREATMENT OF BOWEL DISORDERS.
The great variety of bowel disorders makes it difficult to lay down rules apart from the consideration of particular diseases. It will be apparent, however, that any disorder of the bowel will be markedly affected by the kind of material passed into the intestinal canal from the stomach. Many affections of the bowel persist because they do not at once affect the appetite, and, the stomach being undisturbed, the patient sees no reason for modifying the diet. When one reflects, however, that all the waste and undigested material from the sto mach passes along the bowel, the foolishness of continuing an ordinary diet, when the bowel is disturbed, because the appetite is unimpaired, will be apparent. In the second place it will also be clear that since the food continues to undergo fermentive change as it passes along the bowel, and its waste matters begin to take on a putrefactive process, it is desirable in any bowel disturbance to keep the whole length of bowel as clean as possible, and to hinder the retention anywhere of any such material. That
is to say, the two primary things to attend to are (1) the reduction of the diet to the smallest and simplest kind, and (2) the unloading of the bowel. The means for doing this are practi cally identical with those already detailed on p. 227.
As regards pain and vomiting the general directions given for the treatment of such symptoms in stomach disorder are equally ap plicable to the present case (p. 229).
We may, therefore, following a similar course to that taken in discussing disorders of the stomach, go on to consider one or two of the chief symptoms in disorder of the bowel, em phasizing the fact that though these symptoms are spoken of as if they were diseases in them selves, they are really only indications, though the most prominent ones, of a bowel disease.