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mucus, affection, bowel, colic, intestinal and intestine

MUCOUS COLIC.—An intestinal affection NVhiCh is characterised by the discharge of large shreds of mucus. It occurs at all ages, hut especially in youth, more frequently in women than in men. The causes are not well known. Excessive secretion of mucus is the result of an irritative condition of the mucous membrane of the intestine, often caused by persistent consti pation. The use of enemas and of bowel irrigations is said to produce it occasionally.

A nervous irritation of the intestine, however, acts as the chief cause ; and hence the affection is found principally in nervous patients. The secreted mucus may accumulate for days, assuming the form of the intestinal canal, , and is then discharged in large tubular shreds. The admixture of MUCUS with the stools, occurring in affections of the rectum, must not be confused with 'introits colic. In the former affection the mucus covers the excre ments in small shreds, whereas in mucous colic it is discharged as cylindric casts of the intestinal tube, often without any admixture of faxes. These intestinal casts may be up to ten inches long.

The shreds of mucus may often be discharged for weeks and months without being noticed, an accidental inspection of the stools by the patient or by a physician leading to discovery of the condition. In many cases the affection causes no disturbances ; in others, indistinct symptoms, such as slight pain in the abdomen, a feeling of fullness, etc., merely suggest the presence of a disorder of the bowel. Sometimes, however, the mucous masses are discharged with violent colicky contractions of the intestine, which cease soon after the bowels are empty. Mucous colic may persist for years without materially impairing either nutrition or the general health. As a rule the patient does not consult a physician until the violent abdominal spasms compel him to do so. In addition to constipation, mucous colic may be associated with other affections of the bowels, such as descent, relaxation, and flatulence of the intestine.

Treatment is based principally upon removal of the persistent CoNsn PATION (which see). Regulation of the bowel function is the best means of preventing the accumulation of large masses of mucus in the intestinal tract. Injections of warmed sweet-oil have been found very efficacious in mucous colic. Particular caution should be given against the employment of irri tating and astringent remedies for irrigation of the bowel, as they almost invariably increase the secretion of mucus. The diet should consist princi pally of vegetables. Since the affection appears to be a nervous disorder of the intestine, the treatment of the fundamental weakness of the nervous system is generally pre-requisite to a petmanent cure. Hardening the bowel by water-treatment can be greatly recommended. Particulars must be given by a physician.

MUD-BATHS.—Immersion in mud, or covering the body with mud constitutes a therapeutic measure which is of value in gout, rheumatism, diseases of the spinal cord, and in certain female disorders. A mud-bath should always he taken in a wooden tub. For home use Mattoni's mud salt or mud-extract may be recommended. If mud be at one's disposal, it should he stirred with hot w Ater into a thick mass. Mud-baths should have a temperature of 104' F., and should last up to thirty minutes. While taking the bath, it is advisable to apply a cold compress to the head. A mud-bath should be followed by a cleansing bath of a temperature of 95° F., and afterward by rest in bed. These baths should not be taken by old or de bilitated persons, children, or patients suffering from heart-diseases, affections of the lungs, or calcification of veins and arteries. See also FANGO.