Few disorders are more common than costiveness. By this term I mean a sluggish state of the bowels, which causes them to retain the feces longer than is warranted by health. In this complaint, the discharges from the bowels are not always less frequent than they should be, but they are less in quantity, are compacted and hard, and are passed by hard straining, and sometimes with considerable pain.
Symptoms. Headache, dizziness, feverishness, bad feelings in the bead not easily described, loss of appetite, sometimes nausea, but, little desire to go to stool, a weight and heaviness about the lower part of the belly, and a sense of confinement over the whole body.
Causes. Sedentary habits, particularly when connected with close application of the mind; astringent articles of medicine; stimulating diet, composed chiefly of animal food; various diseases, particularly those of a nervous character, and especially, a neglect to evacuate the bowels at proper periods. All these causes tend to weaken the bowels, and gradually to arrest that peculiar undulatory movement, or wormlike action, called the peristaltic motion of the bowels. It is this continual contraction of the muscular fibers of the intestines from above downward, which pushes the contents steadily along; and whatever weakens the force of this vermicular play of the intestinal walls, brings on constipation.
Treatment. One of the first things to be done is to establish the habit of attempting to evacuate the bowels at a particular hour every day. The best time for most persons is soon after breakfast in the morning, or just before retiring.
Use Glycones (Lilly). They are much better than taking medicine internally. They produce prompt, painless, and copious stools.
Diet. To this should be added a careful regulation of the diet
The quantity of food taken should be no greater than can be easily digested. Full meals which distend the stomach and cause it to press upon the bowels embarrass their movements. Bread made from fine wheat flour is an abomination in this disorder. Eat only that from unbolted flour. Cracked or rolled wheat, prepared as directed among dietetic preparations, is excellent for the cure of costiveness. Fresh vegetables, as peas, beans, potatoes, squashes, and ripe fruits, in their season, are all wholesome, and help to relieve costiveness. But rich pies, puddings, cakes, doughnuts, and all that sort of trash, increase the disorder.
Water Injections, etc. One of the best remedies is water, cold or tepid, according to the condition of the patient, injected into the bowels with the fountain syringe. Syringes for this purpose may be obtained in any drugstore, and one should be in every family. Water used externally, in the form of the sponge bath, is also useful.
Medicines. All the above measures having failed to give relief, take Mettauer's aperient, or the neutralizing mixture. If these fail podophyllin, etc. (36), may have a trial. A cold decoction of thoroughwort,, drunk daily, sometimes has an excellent effect. It must be remembered that medicines may make matters worse, and they should be used cautiously. Cascara Sagrada taken in small, repeated doses, say, half a grain once, twice or more times daily till the bowels move, for some weeks, then gradually decreased, often yields excellent results. A glass of some aperient like Hunyadi Janos water, one third glass with one half glass of plain water on rising, will then take the place of the cascara; and finally a glass of plain water will accomplish all that previously required the use of the cascara. Daily kneading of the bowels, following the course of the large bowel, will add greatly to break up the sluggishness of the muscular atony of the bowel walls.
Any statements made on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA
and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or condition.
Always consult your professional health care provider.
copyright 2005, J. Crow Company, New Ipswich NH 03071