Whites. Leucorrhea. Fluor Albus.
LEUCORRHOEA is from two Greek words, IzuXog and Atm, anclfluor albus from two Latin words, albus and fluo, having precisely the same meaning as the Greek, namely, a white discharge. Hence, in popular language, the disease is called the “whites ". it is also called ,,female weakness."
These terms are well enough, perhaps, if we have in mind that they convey to us only the idea of a symptom of disease. They all mean, with the exception of the last, a white discharge from the female genital organs. They are slightly inaccurate, as the discharge is sometimes yellow, or green, or otherwise variant from white. Any discharge from the female genital organs which is not bloody, comes under the term ,whites."
A Symptom Only. As the name of a disease, the term whites has no specific meaning. It does not designate any particular complaint It is a symptom, just as the matter expectorated and raised in lung diseases is a symptom ; and as such only should it be regarded. When persons cough and raise a great deal, they do not, on consulting a physician, say they have got the expectoration; but they say they fear they have some disease of the lungs, because they expectorate. They look upon the expectoration as the sign or symptom of disease.
So females, and physicians too, must learn to look upon the whites,
not as a disease, but as the sign or symptom of disease, which sign they should become skilled in interpreting.
There is no reason why the discharge from the genital organs should not be as well interpreted as the expectoration or discharge from the throat. The parts from which it comes may be about as easily and as well inspected.
No Female Ailments so Common. There are no female troubles to which the attention of the physician is so often called as these annoying and debilitating symptoms called whites; and there is no department of medical practice in which the really able as well as conscientious and painstaking physician is so well tested. If, regarding these discharges as they are, simply as signs, he searches faithfully for their cause, he will be led to a treatment which in a great majority of cases will be successful. And surely no success in life can be more prized by a right minded physician. It procures health, the highest earthly boon, for suffering woman, and gratitude, the most prized of all rewards, for himself.
There are Four Kinds of Discharges from the female genital organs, mucus, pus, mucus and pus combined, and the watery. The first, mucus, does not in itself imply disease; but when pus is discharged, we know that inflammation exists, because such a cause alone can produce it.
Seat of the Disease. The cause which produces the whites may have its seat either in the vagina, or in the neck of the womb; and in practice it is of course quite important to know where its location is. The character of the discharge generally settles this point. If it be thin and watery, or thick and cream like, it is from the vagina or passage which leads to the womb; if ropy, gluey or albuminous, like white of egg, it is from the cavity of the uterine neck.
Treatment. Some physicians always prescribe the same remedy for the whites. They might as well have but one prescription for expectoration. The remedy must have reference to the cause of the discharge; until the cause be searched out, every prescription is a mere trial at guessing, a sort of practice well enough adapted to quacks, but not becoming scientific men.
When a case of whites is brought before a physician who understands his business, he makes no prescription until he has discovered what the disease is. Having determined this point, his remedies have an intelligent bearing upon the case.
If the discharge be of a. ropy, tenacious character, one of the best remedies is a strong solution of tincture of iodine, used as an injection with a female syringe, once a day (254). Of this, not more than two teaspoonfuls should be used at a time; and great care should be observed not to stain the underclothes with it. When the discharge is either yellow and thick, or lighter colored and watery, some one of the following: (200), (202), (203), (207), (209), (220), (230), (232), (243), (244), may be used with advantage as an injection, twice a day.
Some one of the above remedies will generally afford some relief but if whites exist in a somewhat aggravated form, they furnish evidence of some serious disease in the vagina or neck of the womb, and the case ought to be submitted to a competent physician.
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