Dealing with Colitis
It matters very little so far as the treatment is concerned whether it be an ileocolitis, an ileitis, or simply colitis. The same treatment would obtain in each case, and the same general trend of symptoms would be present. The patient feels a general indisposition, loss of appetite, headache, and sleeplessness, which is followed by pain and griping in the bowels; then comes the diarrhea, which may be profuse and watery or scanty and accompanied by much pain. The evacuations become exceedingly frequent, sometimes as many as fifty or sixty per day.
The patient vomits frequently and is quite ill, his face becomes pinched and dusky, with an anxious look in the eyes. There is some fever and thirst, though the water drunk is generally vomited. In the above has been pictured an extreme case of summer diarrhea. There will be all gradations below this, from a mere soreness of the abdomen and looseness of the bowels up to profound prostration from constant drain on the system induced by the evacuations.
By a sort of strange medical paradox, in order to stop the evacuations it becomes necessary to increase them. We must sweep out the nest of troublesome bacteria that are causing the disturbance. An ordinary cathartic will not accomplish this. It is necessary to administer something that will produce a profuse watery discharge from the bowels. Nothing accomplishes this better than a heaping tablespoonful of Epsom salts in hot water, but as we have not provided for such bulky medicines in our case we will give our patient one tablet of elaterin which will accomplish the same purpose.
Then, too, the patient is not nearly so liable to vomit the elaterin. If he does, however, the vomiting can be controlled by the administration of cocaine by the mouth, though this latter drug must be used very cautiously. A tablet of 1/4 gr. cocaine hydrochlorate given in a swallow of hot water will stop vomiting until the other remedies can produce their effect. Before giving any other medicines await the free action of the cathartic.
The patient should have at least three very copious discharges; then begin to combat the inflammatory condition that exists in the bowels. The chlorodyne tablet will in all ordinary cases, do this best of all your remedies. There will be some few instances where it will be necessary to resort to more powerful remedies; in that case the Sun.
Cholera tablet given according to directions is the best. As an after treatment in these cases the intestinal antiseptic gives the best results. A tablet every four hours for two days will annihilate every vestige of bacterial invasion that may remain.
Moody, Charles Stuart. Backwoods Surgery & Medicine. New York: Outing Pub., 1916. Print.
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