Tympany consists in a violent distension either of the intestines, or of the cavity of the abdomen by wind. In the former case it has been supposed to arise from the sudden suppression of Diarrhoea or Dysentery, or as a consequence of febrile diseases, or the sudden drying up of long-continued discharges from cutaneous eruptions. or the use of a crude vegetable diet; and in the latter from an erosion of the intestines, the effect also of preceding complaints.

The swelling in this complaint does not yield much to pressure; it feels very elastic, but no fluctuation can be perceived, and in this way it may be distinguished from Dropsy. There is great flatulency, and a frequent expulsion of air both upwards and downwards. In the advanced stage of the disease retention of urine sometimes comes on. The body is usually very costive, the appetite is impaired, there is thirst, and feverish symptoms, and general emaciation ensue.

In time the respiration becomes difficult, with much anxiety, cough, the strength is exhausted, the belly is enormously swelled, and the patient is not unfrequently destroyed in consequence of gangrene supervening.

When the wind is in the cavity of the abdomen the swelling is more equal than when it is in the intestines; the tension is greater; it is more elastic, and, upon percussion, sounds like a drum or bladder filled with air. Moreover there are no discharges of flatus.

Treatment

The patient may take the following Mixture:

Assafoetida Mixture..........................Four Ounces.

Aromatic Spirit of Ammonia............Half an Ounce.

Essence of Peppermint....................Half an Ounce.

Syrup..........................................One Ounce.

Water, sufficient to make.................Half a Pint.

A tablespoonful may be taken every two hours. Another four ounces of the Assafietida Mixture may be given as an injection; and may be repeated in a few hours if found necessary. The belly may be rubbed at the same time with Liniment No, 28, or with the Turpentine Liniment.