Chlorosis. Green Sickness,
Before the age of puberty, the girl is only a child. She has within her only the elements of a woman. The change to which she is destined brings with it a wonderful development both of body and mind.
To effect this development, and bring out the new being in the perfection designed by the Creator, a large amount of hidden nerve power is required. She requires to have been born with a well vitalized constitution, and to have been physically trained in a way to harden and energize it. Without these antecedents, her development at puberty will be feebly and imperfectly made. Her development and evolution of germs will be so defective as to cause her menstruation to be only partially established, or to fail altogether.
Symptoms. Where the inherent powers of the system are just sufficient to bring about a first menstruation, it often happens that they seem to be spent by the effort, and that the evacuation fails to appear again for several months. Indeed, the whole organization may break down at this point, and become blasted, as it were, like a blade of wheat which has grown well for a time, but which fails to develop the kernel.
The blood at this period may become impoverished, and fail to distribute adequate nourishment and development to the various tissues. When this occurs, it loses a part of its red globules, and increases its watery portion. As a result, the skin becomes pale, and sometimes of a yellowish hue; the bowels become torpid and confined; the nervous system sensitive and weak; the digestion is impaired; the appetite is either lost, or perverted, longing for unnatural food; the tongue is white; the heart palpitates; the spirits are depressed; the temples and ears throb; the bead occasionally aches and whirls with dizziness; the sleep is disturbed and abbreviated, and hysterics are now and then superadded to close the catalogue of ills.
This is Chlorosis, briefly depicted in its origin and its symptoms.
The word is from the Greek word which means green and pale.
By nurses it is called the ̉green sickness."
Its Causes are quite numerous, among which may be reckoned impoverished diet, damp atmosphere, sedentary habits, long confinement indoors, overworking the mind in childhood, constipation of the bowels, and an inherited feeble constitution. This disease is very frequently met with in domestics emigrating to this country from Ireland, Sweden, and the Provinces, and depends on the failure of Nature to accustom herself to the new climate. These cases, however, all respond well to treatment, but when left alone, lapse into consumption, Bright's and similar diseases.
Treatment. Chlorosis, as a general thing, is connected either with retention or suppression of the menses; and in treating it, physicians are too much in the habit of resorting indiscriminately to forcing medicines, called emmenagogues. From such practice great injury often results.
It is not always sufficiently considered that a woman fails to menstruate, or ceases to do so. because she is sick; and if we would cause her courses to return, we must restore her health. To do this, should generally be the great object of treatment. Let the health be restored, and the menses will come back. The only philosophical treatment is that which will invigorate the system.
In chlorosis, the vital Powers are in a state of dilapidation. How can they be roused? By exercise on horseback and on foot; by wearing clothing enough to keep warm; by a tepid bath two or three times a week, and brisk rubbing with a coarse towel; and by a generous diet, composed of tender meats, animal broths, etc.
This treatment, however, should be preceded by unloading the bowels with prescription (35) or (40), according to choice. One pill should be taken at night. When the liver is considerably deranged, prescription (40) will be particularly serviceable. Half a pint of tepid water thrown into the bowel, night and morning, will help relieve costiveness.
The bowels having been well opened, give a tablespoonful of prescription (59), two or three times a day; or of prescription (60), a teaspoonful, the same number of times each day.
In the treatment of this disease, iron, in some form, is almost always needed. Prescriptions (61), (71), (73), (74), (75), (80) and (316), are suitable preparations. Among the more recent remedies for building up the blood in chlorosis, perhaps none is more successful than the combined pill of iron and manganese, called Bland's modified pill, or, if preferred in liquid form, the same remedy may be obtained in still milder and more physiological form in the preparation known as Gude's Peptomangan. The peptonate of iron is also one of the best modern remedies.
A girl suffering from this disease should always be taken out of school. The mind should be divided between rest and recreation.
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