The Symptoms of Consumption Of The Bowels, or Mesenteric Consumption

Pain in the bowels, more or less constant, sometimes severe, causing the patient to draw up his limbs toward the abdomen to relieve the tension; irregular action of the bowels; alternation of constipation and diarrhea; when the bowels are loose, stools very offensive, abdomen swollen; loss of strength; deep red color of the lips; small ulcers about the mouth; fissures in the lips.

Consumption of the bowels is by no means so common a disease as is generally supposed, being almost wholly confined to children, adults be ing rarely affected, except when suffering with consumption of the lungs also. It is a somewhat obscure disease, and hence has been seized upon by quacks as a means of frightening patients so as to obtain an influence over them. We have had under our care many patients who had previously consulted physicians whose hobby seemed to be consumption of the bowels, and have found in nearly every case that the diagnosis had been "consumption of the bowels" either already present or threatening. In not one case, however, of those referred to, have we found any symptom of this disease. Chronic intestinal catarrh and scrofulous degeneration of the glands of the intestine, are quite likely to be mistaken for mesenteric consumption, and it is undoubtedly the frequency of these diseases which has given rise to the supposed frequency of abdominal consumption.