STOMACHDISEASE - ITS SYMPTOMS AND SIGNIFICANCE
The stomach is subject to both acute and chronic disorders, but this chapter will be devoted to the chronic disorders. It might be mentioned here that in acute conditions almost without exception. Whether in the stomach or any other part of the body, if the fast is initiated at its onset and all of the other factors frequently advised in this volume for purifying the blood-stream, aiding in the re-establishment of normal nerve-tone and adequate elimination through all channels, there need be no prolonged attack and there need be no complications.
There are numerous chronic disorders of the stomach that are quite common. As a rule it may be considered that they are different stages of the same condition. That condition is an irritation resulting from abuse through wrong selection of food and from wrong eating habits, and from such an abnormal condition of chemistry within the body (toxemia and acidosis) that the cells of the stomach cannot be properly nourished.
Gastric hyperacidity is a condition in which, the gastric juice is secreted in excessive amounts. Too much food, highly seasoned, hot and spiced foods, alcoholic drinks, worry grief and other detrimental emotional conditions, mental over activity, diseases of the liver, gallbladder and gall-duct, chronic appendicitis, and inflammation of other abdominal organs, are among the leading causes of this condition. Sometimes it seems to be due solely to some spinal lesion, either bony, muscular or ligaments.
The symptoms are pain below the breastbone an hour or so after eating; gas and sour eructation’s, headache, dizziness, melancholia,aggravation of the pain by the intake of sugars and starches, and relief of the pain by protein foods which utilize the acid.
Dyspepsia is a term once commonly applied to this condition, although dyspepsia may mean a variety of digestive disorders. It usually means abnormal stomach digestion and is in a large measure discarded now in general use.
Chronic gastritis is usually a chronic gastric catarrh. There usually are loss of appetite, pain after meals, eructations, loss of weight to an appreciable extent, constipation, and considerable mental uneasiness until one becomes a neurasthenic. Often no type of food is found to digest satisfactorily, though sometimes the simplest foods will agree reasonable well. Combinations of foods may cause trouble, while a single article of food, even if not of the best type, may agree perfectly. In this condition there often is such failure of stomach-gland activity and circulation in the parts involved, that an ulceration develops.
Ulcer of the stomach is a comparatively common and more or less serious disease of the stomach. It often follows prolonged dyspepsia or hyperacidity. It results from the same causes mentioned as being responsible for hyperacidity. Some people may have hyperacidity for a long time and never develop ulcer, as there seems to be some particular requirement before an ulcer develops, be some particular requirement before an ulcer develops. This requirement frequently is considered to be an emotional state of depressing nature. Worry, anxiety, grief for instance, are not infrequently followed by peptic ulcer.
Hypopepsia- This is a condition in which there is reduction of the digestive secretions of the stomach. This is the usual condition in a simple dyspepsia. Most cases follow a more or less extended period of hyperacidity, the causes of which have been given. Additional causes are a chronic catarrh condition of the stomach or chronic gastritis; such neurons as neurasthenia and hysteria; and aprlonged worry, anxiety and suspense; severe anemias and toxemia’s, such as from certain types of goiter.
Nervous disease of the stomach usually are considered neuroses. They may involve the nerves or the secretions or the motor activity of the stomach. Hypopensia, in fact, usually is a gastric neurosis. The symptoms of these neuroses are slight or extreme, depending considerably upon the nervousness of the patient. Usually the discoverable causes are insignificant, even when the symptoms seemingly are pronounced. Any factors which will produce a neurasthenic or neurotic condition or that will seriously reduce the nerve-tone, combined with special susceptibility of the stomach or certain dietetic and other habits which tend to center trouble at this point, lead to the development.
A peptic ulcer may be either in the stomach or in the duodenum, just beyond the outlet of the stomach. The causes of ulcers in these two locations are the same, the symptoms are much the same, and the treatment will be the same.
Symptoms preceding a peptic ulcer are dyspepsia, sour eructation’s, heartburn and more or less severe gnawing stomach pains before meals. The pain is relieved by eating, but in stomach ulcers it comes on again an hour or so after eating, and in duodenal ulcer two or three hours after eating in either case when the acidity reaches its height. Vomiting immediately after food is taken as the first serious symptom, and when the vomit is tinged with blood an ulcer may be diagnosed--though tentatively. These symptoms may appear and disappear for years.
In some instances it is fund that the enforced rest given to the stomach by the prompt rejection of all food sometimes is sufficient to bring about a temporary healing. Continual eidetic errors will bring the condition on again, and with each recurrence the ulcerated area extends in size. Not infrequently the ulcer eats its way through the stomach wall and we have perforation into the peritoneal cavity resulting in peritonitis, an extremely grave condition demanding immediate operation.
Cancer of the stomach is a result of chronic irritation often developing on the site of an old ulcer. However, it may develop in stomachs never the seat of ulcer. But in every instance there have been years of abuse of the stomach and years of a pronounced systemic toxemia. Often there is an earlier history of excellent digestion. Some of those who develop cancer often pride themselves on being “able to eat nails”. All at once dyspepsia develops, a severe pain appears in the stomach region, and from then on digestion is painful and gradually more and more difficult. The signs by which a cancer can be recognized early are indefinite. One early symptom is a catarrhal condition that is more or less intractable. Emaciation develops, anemia also, and a peculiar yellowish tint takes the place of normal color in the skin. Vomiting upon the intake of food is common late symptom, giving the appearance of coffee-grounds. The stools are tarry, from the presence of decomposed blood. In some instances a definite tumor mass can be felt upon palpation over the stomach area.
Dilatation of the stomach is a serious illness resulting from prolonged dyspepsia, gastritis or other conditions in which the stomach is overloaded by food and distended by gas. For its development it is also necessary for general tone to be reduced, and in many cases there is a spinal lesion. The chief characteristic of the disease is the expansion of the walls of the stomach, with such increase in capacity that the appetite becomes voracious and yet digestion takes place slowly. Vomiting, often of a severe nature, is a frequent symptom in severe dilatations, and there may be vomiting of food taken a day or two before.
Prolapsed of the stomach is a very common condition, said to exist in at fleets seven out of ten women and a considerable number of men. It is due much to the same causes as result in dilatation, but other causes are rapid loss of weight, weight-lifting or other straining activities, and , in women, to the frequent bearing of children. There may be no symptoms of this condition or there may be uneasiness or any degree of dyspepsia dympyomd. All of these are relieved upon reclining.
Treatment - The stomach is the one organ which can be given a thorough rest, and diseases of this organ are among the most certain of correctionby natural means with emphasis upon the fast and later diet. Even the intestines are used by the body to receive waste material brought from all parts of the body during a fast. The stomach usually is not called upon in this manner, hence can receive a complete rest and recover much of its original healthful functioning.
In all diseases of the stomach, without exception, the fast is of some value, and in most of them it is the greatest single factor of treatment. Many patients with gastric disorders have already become greatly emitted and are unable to take a protracted fast. In most of these cases the fruit juice diet will be of benefit, though there are some cases of hyperacidity and some of cancer of the stomach in which fruit juice is not well tolerated. In these case a clear vegetable broth is much to be preferred. The duration of the fast or fruit or vegetable broth diet should depend upon the patient’s general condition and upon the severity of the gastric disorder. Benefit will be derived from even two or three days of the fast or limited diet, but s a rule it is better to have from five to thirty days, depending upon effects and needs. Ten to fifteen days probably is a good average for these cases.
If the fast is tasdken it should be terminated by a fruit juice or vegetable broth diet. After this diet or after the same diet when the fast is not taken, the milk diet should be adopted it possible. With the possible exception of some cases of cancer, there is no disorder of the stomach in which the milk diet can not be used satisfactorily and with benefit--except in some individual cases in which the intolerance of milk cannot be explained.
The quantity of milk used will vary considerably in the different diseases. In the majority of cases the usual plan may be followed with benefit. Form one-half to one glass of milk every two hours the first day (depending upon the length of the fast or preliminary diet); if one-half glass is required the first day, a full glass may be used every two hours the second day. Continue using one glass at each feeding, shortening the interval between the feedings on successive days to one and a half hours, one hour, three quarters of an hour and one-half hour, then continue taking one glass of milk every half hour for eleven or twelve hours of each day of the diet.
Most cases will benefit by the addition of lemon juice to the milk itself or as desired during the day. From then to twenty drops of lemon juice may be added to each glass of milk or to as many as desired. The total quantity of lemons may be from one to a dozen daily. If there is a hypopepsia then more lemon juice will be required than in some other conditions. In hyperpepsia or hyperacidity lemon juice is not required. In this condition it often is better to take a pint of milk every hour, or a quart every hour, or a quart of milk every two hours during the day. In a case of hyperacidity, the patient usually can assimilate full cream. In a hyperacid case part of the cream should be removed.
After the milk diet has been continued until the results from it and the fast have been considerable, a very excellent plan is to discontinue taking the milk every day at two o’clock and then wait until between six and seven o’clock, when a balanced meal may be taken. This meal should be a simple combination and formed around a protein or a starch. That is, any desired protein that experience knows to be agreeable may be selected; or a desired starch, such as potatoes, macaroni, baked rice, etc. The rest of the meal may be cooked and raw greed vegetable.
It there is any pronounced irritation in the stomach it usually is better to eliminate the raw vegetable, or at least to be certain to masticate them thoroughly and then discard from the mouth the fibrous materials that can not be reduced to a liquid or fine pulp. Many time it is better to run the vegetables through a sieve. In this manner, it will be practicable to make a puree of almost any sort of vegetable. This is particularly important in cases of peptic ulcer and cancer of the stomach. In these cases animal proteins usually should be omitted as they increase the amount of acid, which is undesirable. Al other proteins increase acid, but not to the extent that animal proteins do.
Other factors of treatment are of much benefit in these cases and usually will be required in some measure. When strength and energy permit, one should secure gradually increasing amounts of exercise, being always careful to avoid any special strain or fatigue. The tepid or somewhat cool general bath, by any preferred means, is of value, but extremely cold or hot baths should be avoided. In some instances a cold compress over the stomach region will improve circulation and digestion in the stomach. There must be plenty of rest and sleep, fresh air, and a serene mental attitude.
As for individual diseases, some additional points of interest will be given below.
In hyperacidity it is better to drink warm or hot water quite abundantly during the fast, rather than cold water, since the latter increases the amount of acid secreted in the stomach.
While cancer usually is a progressively destructive disease numerous cases diagnosed as cancer of the stomach have been completely cured by natural treatment. However, prevention of this condition is decidedly preferable, and depends upon a reasonably strict physical culture program of living. In cancer particularly, the juice of freest grapes of unsweetened bottled grape juice may be used fairly liberally and usually with as good results or better than can be secured on other fruit juices.
In dilatation and prolapsed of the stomach the milk diet is particularly helpful. If the abnormality is very pronounced it would be better for the patients remain in bed for two or three weeks while taking the diet, to permit the tissue tone to the recovered to a considerable extent before subjecting the stomach walls and supports to additional stress.
In these cases the fast is of especial value, the stomach often returning to normal size and position of a fast of several days. In both conditions also, the position and exercise on the inclined table or support are practically essential to definite correction. The patient should lie head down and perform those movements that are enumerated in the chapter or Rupture. Concussion of the fifth dorsal vertebrae for half a minute and repeating twice after half-minute rests may be given twice daily with benefit. In these two conditions also it is of value to have the foot of the bed elevated on blocks, or the spring of the bed elevated at the foot five to eight inches in height by means of a board.
In many of these disorders it is necessary to repeat the fast or other preliminary diet and the milk diet. There is no treatment that will produce results of a lasting nature more fully than the treatment outlined, but if there is considerable abnormally will take time.
In some cases of gastric ulcer the mild diet or the milk and cream diet as recommended by Sippy is preferable to a fast. Small quantities (two ounces) of one-third cream and two-thirds milk, or in some cases one-half cream and one-half cream and one-half milk given every two hours for a few days. This will usually greatly ameliorate pain and frequently will check vomiting. After a few days the diet is modified by adding white of egg, gelatin and some form of cereal with cream. Later, during the third week, custards, milk toast, soft boiled egg, and purees of green vegetables may be given.
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