This section is from the book "Smith's Family Physician", by William Henry Smith. See also: Natural Physician's Healing Therapies: Proven Remedies that Medical Doctors Don't Know.
The monthly discharge is to be considered as immoderate when it either returns more frequently than is natural, continues longer than usual, or is more abundant than with the same person at other times. With the extraordinary flow of this secretion there are usually pains in the back and belly, somewhat like those of childbirth.
In a state of health the discharge usually makes its appearance once in from twenty-seven to thirty days, and then continues from three to six days; it does not cease suddenly, but in a gradual manner, and the quantity discharged varies from four to six ounces. The quantity varies very much, according to the constitution of the woman, and a late medical author remarks that "the full blooming country girl does not discharge half the quantity that the pale-faced lady of quality does."
The quantity of the menstrual fluid is greater in warm than in cold climates; so, if a woman lives in an atmosphere artificially-warmed, much the same effect is produced.
The causes of an immoderate flow may be stated to be: A plethoric state or general fulness of habit. Accidental circumstances driving the blood more copiously and forcibly into the vessels of the womb, as violent exercise in dancing, strokes or contusions on the belly, strains, and violent passions of the mind.
Irritations acting particularly on the womb: as, great costiveness-obliging the person to much straining at stool; excess in venery, particularly during menstruation; or the application of wet and cold to the feet, which may drive a greater flow of blood than is natural to the womb.
Laxity and debility of the womb, arising from frequent child-bearing, difficult and tedious labours, or repeated miscarriages.
Those circumstances which cause debility of the whole system; as a sedentary and inactive life, indulging much in grief and despondency, living upon a poor, low diet, drinking freely of warm, enervating liquors, (such as tea), and living in very warm rooms.
Organic affections, such as scirrhus, polypus, ulceration, etc. An immoderate flow arising from plethora is often preceded by headache, giddiness, or shortness of breath, and is afterwards attended with pains in the back and loins, some degree of thirst, restlessness, universal heat, and a frequent, strong, hard pulse; but when it arises from general debility, and such attacks are frequently repeated, the symptoms are, pale countenance, chilliness, laxity and flabbiness of the muscular fibres, unusual fatigue from exercise, a hurried breathing on the slightest exertion, pains in the back on remaining any length of time in an erect posture, and coldness of the extremities, together with loss of appetite indigestion, and a long train of nervous complaints. And frequently the feet will swell, particularly towards evening.
Where the disease is produced by too great a fulness of the system, it is easily cured; but where it arises from a debilitated state of the constitution, there is always a risk of its resulting in dropsy.
Where the patient is of a strong and robust habit of body she may take the Fever Mixture, No. 9. But if she is delicate this will not be necessary; she may instead take the following:
Sulphate of Quinine......................Sixteen grains.
Aromatic Sulphuric Acid................OneDram.
Syrup........................................Half an Ounce.
Compound Infusion of Roses sufficient to make half a pint.
A tablespoonful every four hours.
The patient should be confined to bed, or to a sofa, and kept cool; drinking freely of cool, acidulated liquors, as lemonade, acidulated barley water, tamarind water, etc. The room should be kept moderately cool, and she should avoid all stimulating or heating food or beverages.
Linen cloths dipped in cold vinegar and water may be kept constantly applied to the loins and private parts; and if the flooding is profuse, the patient may use an injection of two drams of Tannic or Gallic Acid to a pint of water; one-fourth of which may be injected into the vagina, three times a day. She may at the same time take the following pills:
Sugar of Lead, powdered fine............Six grains.
Powdered Opium.............................Three grains.
Crumb of bread, sufficient to make......Twelve pills.
One to be taken every four hours.
The return of the complaint is to be avoided by strengthening the constitution of the patient by tonics, good living, gentle exercise, early hours, pure air; and the avoidance of all exciting causes: hot rooms, dancing and immoderate exercise of all kinds, late hours and improper food.