The right kidney is so closely connected with the hepatic flexure of the colon that any change of position of this portion of the colon must have more or less effect upon the kidney. When the cecum and the ascending colon become overloaded, the drag upon the kidney may become so great as to loosen it from its moorings, and lead to floating kidney.
Recent observations have shown that when putrefying feces accumulate in the colon great numbers of bacteria pass through the walls of the intestine into the branches of the portal vein, and are carried to the liver. The liver destroys many of these bacteria, but not a few of them pass out in the bile, and thus infect the bile passages of the liver and gallbladder. It is possible, also, that infection may occur directly from the intestine. The bacteria may ascend the gall ducts to the gall-bladder and the liver. Modern research has shown that gall-stones are always due to bacteria, which are found in the interior of the gall-stones. Persons suffering from disorders of the gall-bladder, and from gall-stones, are always chronic sufferers from constipation and alimentary toxemia, to which unquestionably their liver troubles are chiefly due.
One very rarely finds a person suffering from insomnia who is not constipated. Not infrequently, the constipation is present in the latent form, and its existence may not be expected. Examination of the stools and inspection of the tongue give clear evidence of the existence of stasis in the colon. The insomnia is due to the irritation of the brain cells produced by the poisons with which the blood is saturated through absorption from the colon. The use of soporifics only secures temporary relief with a certainty of making the patient worse through disturbing his digestion, destroying his appetite, and thus making his constipation worse. By relief of constipation through proper diet, and the adoption of other rational measures the insomnia may be made to disappear, and usually with very great promptness.
This very common and most distressing effect of chronic constipation is due to putrefaction poisons absorbed from the colon, and constipation quickly disappears when the intestinal flora is changed and the bowels made to move well three times a day. Copious water drinking, especially drinking two or three glasses of hot water two or three times a day ameliorates the symptom by aiding the elimination of poisons. Attacks of migraine are always preceded by an increase of stasis, that is, by an accumulation of fecal matters which throws into the blood a new flood of indican and other toxins. By a thorough emptying of the colon through the use of the enema the attack may always be mitigated and sometimes averted. If the attack has actually begun, however, the result is less satisfactory although even then the duration of the attack if not its intensity may be lessened by emptying the colon by repeated enemas. When vomiting or nausea is present, the enema should be repeated several times a day as a means of introducing much needed fluid. An excellent plan is to introduce into the colon to be retained and absorbed half a pint to a pint of water every hour or two.
The excruciating pain of migraine may be made more endurable by fomentations or alternate hot and cold applications to the painful parts. The use of morphia and other narcotic or pain retrieving drugs is most pernicious. The use of drugs purchases but present relief at the expense of increased future suffering. Such drugs increase the constipation and so aggravate the toxemia and not infrequently a drug habit is formed.
The researches of Combe and Rouget have clearly shown the relation of intestinal intoxication to the arrested growth and other disturbances of nutrition which are frequently observed in infants and young children and that constipation lies at the foundation in most of these cases. One of the most important of all the duties of the nurse is to attend carefully to the condition of the infant's bowels, as neglect in the first weeks of infancy may lay the foundation of troubles which years of painstaking efforts will be required to relieve, and which may be irreparable.
This newly-described disease affects especially the colon, and particularly the pelvic colon. It consists in the formation of small pouches along the border of the colon, which sometimes increase to a considerable size. These pouches become filled with feces, which often set up irritation and give rise to abscesses.
Many of these pouches have very narrow mouths so that fecal matter readily accumulates in them. This condition involves many serious dangers. If the mouth of a diverticulum becomes closed, the infectious contents quickly give rise to inflammation which may result in ulcer of the bowel, abscess, or adhesions with the formation of a tumor mass and obstruction. When diverticuli are known to exist, the patient should take care to keep the bowels freely open by a very laxative diet and the use of Russian paraffin oil.
Diverticulitis is caused by injury to the intestinal wall produced by colitis followed by overdistention of the bowel by accumulation of fecal matters.
Each diverticulum involves exactly the same dangers which are connected with a chronically inflamed appendix.
Diverticulitis may cause obstruction of the bowels, both by giving rise to adhesions and by causing thickening of the walls of the intestine, and so gradually narrowing its lumen until complete obstruction occurs. This condition is sometimes mistaken for cancer.